Cultural Appropriation is Good!
The more appropriation, the better.
It’s hard for intelligent, well-read people with a knowledge of history to take the idea of “cultural appropriation” seriously because it’s such a perfectly ridiculous concept.
There are cave paintings that go back 35,000 years and written language records of other cultures that go back to 3,500 BC. With that in mind, do you realize how much of every culture has been borrowed from somewhere else? Well, you’re reading Culturcidal, so you probably do. Do you think the average person yammering on about “cultural appropriation” does? For example, here’s a big cultural appropriation issue from a few years ago that made me laugh so much that it stuck with me:
On March 4th, 2017, three Latina students painted the phrase “White Girls, take OFF your hoops,” on their college’s free speech wall, in opposition to the latest “trend” that felt more like cultural appropriation. A week later, a piece written by the women behind the mural appeared on my Facebook news feed. It was an in-depth assessment of the invisibility and professional “socialization” that women of color undergo at predominantly white institutions, which strip them of their “hoops and [their] brownness” in order to be taken seriously as students.
Why did that make me laugh? Because hoop earrings have been around for THOUSANDS of years. The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans wore them. There’s a 400+-year-old picture of William Shakespeare wearing a hoop earring, but sorry, that belongs to Latinx (ha, ha, no, just kidding), Latina women now? Based on what, exactly? I don’t wear hoop earrings, but don’t I have just as good of a claim on them based on William Shakespeare wearing them as any Latina woman? Of course, the Greeks and Egyptians might have something to say about that, too.
Speaking of who owns what, somebody is probably reading this sitting on the toilet. Well, that could be a cultural appropriation problem because although I thought the Romans came up with the idea, after doing a bit of research, there are claims that everyone from the Greeks to the Scotts to India came up with it first. I guess that means toilets are out for us Americans, so maybe we can dig a hole in the yard and crap there? Oh, except someone, lost to time, must have come up with that idea, too. So, how do we know which culture we’re appropriating from if we do that? Guess, we’ll just have to hold it. FOREVER.
These kinds of examples are quite literally endless because the history of humankind is woven together from different cultures improving by borrowing concepts, ideas, inventions, styles, and skills from each other. We didn’t even borrow all of those ideas from humankind, and I can tell you that definitively because when I was in college, I spent a couple of years taking Southern Longfist Kung-Fu. My very white teacher, who was extremely good, was taught by a guy from China whose knowledge, I assume, eventually stretched all the way back to practitioners who were inspired to create animal fighting forms based on Eagles, Monkeys, Tigers, Cranes, Leopards, and the Preying-Mantis among others. Currently, I’m taking Muay Thai from a white/Lebanese teacher who’s also extremely good (he’s actually helped train a guy who’s currently in the UFC). However, Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand, so is it cultural appropriation for us to train in an art that’s definitely not from our culture?
How do you think someone from Thailand, who’s not steeped in weird, liberal ideology would feel about that? Do you think they would be more like, “OMG! How DARE YOU copy our culture! This is a martial art for Thais only and we’re greatly offended that you would do such a thing!” or would it be more like, “You think Muay Thai is one of the greatest fighting arts in the world and that’s why you want to learn it? That shows you’re smart! You’re wise to copy us!” If you’re wondering about that, how do you feel about the Constitution? The Constitution was written by white men. Should no one but white men have constitutional privileges? If people from another nation look at our Constitution and say, “That is a brilliant document, and it leads to a well-governed country if you stick to it. We want to learn from that and copy it,” does it make you upset or is it more like, “Smart move. The Constitution will take you far if you actually stick to it.”
The liberal minorities complaining about cultural appropriation are trying to do the same thing that white and black supremacists do. They’re trying to get credit for the accomplishments of other people based on their skin color. You don’t get credit any more for the taco because a few hundred years ago “your people” came up with it than I get for inventing the lightbulb just because Thomas Edison was the guy who made one that lasts.
Of course, for every pathetic person that thinks like that, there are probably a dozen white liberals getting offended on their behalf in order to virtue signal to the world. This is probably more how it normally goes:
One of the favorite tactics the Left has when they sound like idiots (which is a surprising amount of time if they’re talking about politics) is to try to change the definition of what they’re talking about. “That’s not a recession! That’s not a baby! You’re not attacking groomers; you’re attacking gay people!” With this topic, they will try to pretend that it’s “actually” about being deliberately offensive and MOCKING a culture. Except, those cases are few and far between. For example, blackface was originally used to mock black Americans long ago. However, does that kind of thing describe 99% of the things that are labeled as “cultural appropriation” these days? Not at all.
Cultural appropriation is complaints about little girls dressing up as Moana for Halloween, white guys wearing dreadlocks, or demands that white people aren’t allowed to run Chinese restaurants.
The reality is that you are SUPPOSED to adopt traits, concepts, and practices you run across if they’re an improvement on what you’re doing. There’s a reason they say, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” To treat that as some kind of insult is not only ignorant, it’s a demand that we all stay frozen in place without growing or getting better. If it’s a good idea that will make your life or the world better, use it and don’t worry about what culture it came from.