For a long time, I thought that the concept of Cultural Appropriation was on the decline. It was inarguably one of the weakest social justice battles on the front line. Although when yesterday a Tweet shaming a white girl for wearing a kimono to prom went viral — I realized that this insanity is still in full swing.
— Keziah (@daumkeziah) April 22, 2018
My culture is NOT your goddamn prom dress. https://t.co/vhkNOPevKD
— Jeremy Lam (@jere_bare) April 27, 2018
So, as learned from my Dictionary.com Word-Of-The-Day, I am going to try my best to be a ‘mythoclast’ and destroy this absurdity.
Cultural Appropriation is just nonsense, and typing ‘appropriation’ is kind of a pain in the ass. So for the sake of convenience, from here on out I am going to use the acronym CA. Hope you can keep up. A superficial google search can’t provide any clear answers on who invented CA. The best answer I could find was on Quora.com, and apparently, according to the Washington Post, the term CA emerged in the 1970s and 80s as a critique of colonialism. But when did the modern liberal discover it as a phrase to label everything that merely suggests that the wearer is fashioning themselves not of their skin color as offensive? Only the depths of the internet will provide that answer.
Culture doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It transforms over time. Anyone who has dared crack open a history book (or has done a quick skim of Wikipedia) will understand that throughout human history, throughout all the conquering and pillaging, migrations and invasions; cultures, customs, traditions, religions, were all picked up, adopted, shared, and reinterpreted. For example, the great boot of Europe, Italy, was invaded more times than Nona can dig up a sin at confession. And it was because of those blood baths and the customs the foreign armies brought in, that we get the idea of modern Italian culture. Although it wasn’t through invasion, coffee first arrived in Italy during the Renaissance by North African Muslim merchants. Some 200 years later, some caffeine addict was trying to discover a way to brew his coffee faster and invented the espresso. An indelible trademark of Italian culture — brought to you by CA.
Another classic example of CA throughout history was during Japan’s Edo period (basically when Samurai Japan became Sony Japan), and to compete with the rest of the rapidly developing world, many Japanese people adopted Western clothing. Those bastards. Shoulda stayed in their own lane.
When adopting parcels of another culture, as long as the presentation isn’t outright racially offensive (black face, for example), then what’s the issue? Really think long and hard about that one. What really is the problem, other than your transparent prejudice towards white-skinned folks. If you take pride in your heritage and culture, shouldn’t one be happy that someone of a different background is appreciating the beauty developed by your ancestors? Perhaps while celebrating the fashion, they’ll begin to appreciate the heritage and its historical significance. And if the wearer does not take a particular interest in your culture’s heritage…? Well, you all don’t seem to mind discarding grandma’s religion in favour of atheism, so what are you really defending?
And I suppose when dealing with Halloween costumes, they are nothing more than harmless caricatures that have already been popularized in Western canon. This doesn’t go without saying that the parody can get out of hand, and that the plight of Indigenous people, for example, isn’t to be taken seriously, and I’m certainly not defending every ignorant college douche-bro who takes it too far. But if we’re going to dive into grown people playing dress up, that’s another argument.
Most of all, crying CA whenever a 20-year-old stoner gets dreadlocks only lends merit to racism and strengthens segregation. The hyper-sensitive politically correct Left needs to be a tad more diligent when choosing its battles. If something such as gender, which was traditionally thought of as unmistakably black and white, can be fluid, why isn’t culture? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau religiously subscribes to the ideology that “diversity is our strength.” But when dealing with a massive importation of cultures …. a mixing of those cultural identities is bound to take place. We are being told to accept everyone of any race, religion, gender, sexual-orientation, (ad-infinitum), yet… there’s a war-cry when said cultures blend together. Either keep people divided; inventions, language, dress, hairstyles of any individuals sectionalized category must only be used by others of that category, or face the wrath of the cultural puritans. Or, allow each other to borrow from one another’s cultures and watch the borders that keep people divided demolish.
Crying cultural ownership only ends up trapping everybody in an endless downward spiral. With no distinct facility of CA, with this messed-up culture left to sort it out on their own, who will decide what’s appropriate, when? When not? Why not? Will Western cultures be broken down, if made by the British, Canadians are not allowed? What about African? Asian? Are Japanese allowed to celebrate Chinese traditions? Can basketball (a Canadian invention) be played by Americans? That’s not exaggeration, it’s applying the same mentality the advocates of CA apply when arguing their side. Another commonly occurring rhetoric used in the defence of CA is that when the culture of a historically oppressed group of people is ‘appropriated’ that it’s problematic. Every culture has faced oppression and tragedy.
The problem that all this CA whining produces is a sudden race toward ownership of one’s cultural heritage. For now, it’s only trolls on Twitter provoking hysterical leftists when jokes are made about only white people allowed to use white-invented products. But the more this race-baiting carries on, the public’s eyes will be pealed to ‘micro-aggressions.’ People don’t like being called names. People don’t enjoy naively going about their day only to be interrupted and pulled over by the culture police. When people are continuously putting themselves in privileged boxes (I’m allowed to say this. I’m allowed to dress this way, but you’re not), the marginalized will want there own box. And that box looks like the Charlottesville protest. Obviously, that’s an extreme consequence. But it was a consequence the whole world had to suffer.