People have been taking “cultural appropriation” way too far. By people, I mean the American left which has lead the mission to yell at, bully, and belittle anyone who participates in anything that wasn’t created by their ethnic group. White people aren’t allowed to make burritos, only black people should rap and in a recent example of cultural appropriation idiocy, a high school girl was shamed on Twitter for wearing a Chinese dress (and wearing it well I might add) to her prom. Thank goodness I am half-white and half-black and therefore allowed to dip into two different cultures.
So what exactly is cultural appropriation? It’s often described as someone adopting from a culture that is not his or her own – a hairstyle, a piece of clothing, a manner of speaking, even a type of exercise (yoga, for example). Everyday feminism takes this a step further explaining that cultural appropriation takes place when a dominant group borrows from a culture they have oppressed. It doesn’t matter if you specifically have never oppressed said group, just that someone of your same ethnicity has. Neither of these definitions seem inherently evil to me but whichever definition you use, cultural appropriation is confusing from the start.
First, let’s look at the broader definition of cultural appropriation. Take something from someone else’s culture and you’re appropriating. This means if your culture didn’t invent a style of dance, you should not participate. Well, white people invented tap dancing. If you’re familiar with the history of tap dance you might say nuh-uh, tap dancing was invented by blacks in the south. I’d say you’re right but tap was actually an appropriation of Irish clogging. Poor Irish and poor blacks lived amongst each other in the south. Both groups were discriminated against and faced socio-economic struggles. (Thomas Sowell’s Black Rednecks and White Liberals explains this in more detail.) The two groups ended up borrowing quite a bit from each other. It’s just fact that blacks appropriated the Irish clog to create tap and I’m glad they did…But that’s appropriation so I guess only the Irish should be allowed to tap. If blacks can’t participate in tap dance, we never would have had Savion Glover, quite possibly the best tap dancer who ever lived. Please take a minute to watch him here; he truly is astounding. Ballet certainly isn’t a part of African culture, so say goodbye to Misty Copeland too. If Hip-Hop is a black-American invention then someone better call Channing Tatum and tell him to stop dancing. Classical music isn’t rooted in Asian culture so forget about Yo-Yo Ma. Opera began in Italy so if you ain’t Italian don’t even bother. Flutes originated in China so literally every kid in my high school band’s flute section was way out of line.
The arts are an easy one to pick on but you can apply this to nearly any piece of the human experience. There would be great losses in our cultural advancement if people weren’t allowed to cross cultural lines. Weren’t we all told as kids that copying is the greatest form of flattery? If someone uses something from your culture to create something new, they most certainly respect your culture. If they didn’t, why would they use it? Now if a white person makes a dream catcher and says “hey, I invented this” I could see the issue but that is rarely, if ever the case in these instances of “cultural appropriation.”
But SJWs think they got ya on the second definition of cultural appropriation, the one that says only oppressors can appropriate meaning white people can’t participate in any culture that isn’t their own, but black people, who are the most oppressed, can borrow from any culture they want. (Actually Jews are the most oppressed, but that’s a topic for another day.) The problem with this idea is that it really only hurts minorities. Ok, so now white people can only wear jeans and eat italian food..not really a big deal. But that authentic taco stand? You just lost all your white customers. Black rappers? You just lost 70-75% of your audience. The UFC would not only see a huge drop in ratings; (can’t have white people viewing mixed martial arts) they would lose quite a few athletes as well, with Dana White following them out the door. His name is literally White! How much more offensive can you be??!!!
I realized that cultural appropriation had gone way too far when some of my friends admired a dress I have. It is a beautiful, colorful, handmade dress. I bought it from an online shop that sells dresses made by African artisans. My friends ranted and raved about the dress so much that I asked one of them why she didn’t just buy one for herself. She told me she was afraid if she did people would get mad because she is white. And you know what, she’s probably not wrong; someone might get mad. But the person who gets mad that a white woman supported a black designer is an absolute fool.
Why would you want to prevent 77% of the American population from purchasing goods made by minorities? Do you want minority culture in the U.S. to disappear, because without the white man’s dollar most culture-based businesses will fail. Do you not want white people helping uplift merchants in third world countries out of poverty by supporting their craft? It breaks my heart thinking about the dollars those African dress makers are missing out on because white women have been bullied into fear of celebrating the beauty of something not their own.
So appropriate, I say! Without it, we wouldn’t have tap dance or blues or MMA or ice cream cones or me! If you’re worried about it still, just follow these rules:
- Give credit where credit is due.
Don’t claim you created something you didn’t.
- Don’t wildly misrepresent a culture.
Don’t claim you’re giving props to Native-Americans when you’re in a skimpy outfit with feathers and just want to dress provocatively.
That’s pretty much it. Be respectful but be a sponge. If Drake isn’t proof we need more cross-cultural appropriation, I don’t know what is.