Tuesday, July 12, 2016

In praise of cultural appropriation

Evidently some actress named Lena Dunham has come out strongly against "cultural appropriation", one example being her alma mater's (Oberlin College) serving sushi in dining halls. 

Now while I have any number of reasons to get pretty scared of the idea of dining hall sushi, starting with food safety, I've got to say that you can count me 100% in favor of cultural appropriation.  Where would our food be without "cultural appropriations" like coffee, soul food, noodles, rice, maize, potatoes, chocolate, cured meats, pasta, European breads, tea, various types of liquors, and the like?  For that matter, what would our music be without appropriated music like jazz, blues, opera, bluegrass, and more, or our literature without appropriations of various poetic and stylistic forms like the sonnet, regular meter, and such?  Where would our technology be without the contributions of other societies?

We would be, of course, back in the stone age right after the scattering at the Tower of Babel.  And having learned a bit about life in the stone age--where the C-section that delivered me and the intussusception surgery that saved my life were not yet culturally appropriated--count me out.  I'm all in favor of cultural appropriation, even if people make some mistakes in doing so.

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