May 5, 2017

MICHAEL BARONE: Cultural appropriation: A modest proposal.

“Cultural appropriation” has become the latest evil denounced by soi-disant Social Justice Warriors, on campus and off. Examples:

“I was taught that white people shouldn’t listen to rap music because it’s cultural appropriation and could be offensive to my classmates,” writes Pomona College student Steven Glick in the Washington Post.

Young women wearing bindis (Hindu forehead adornments) and feathered headdresses at the Coachella Festival should be ashamed: that’s cultural appropriation, declares Teen Vogue.

Yoga, as you may be relieved to learn from the Huffington Post, is not necessarily cultural appropriation. “But it’s complicated,” the writer adds. “It is really important to honor and appreciate where a practice comes from, or we risk appropriating it.” Got that? Really important.

Sometimes individuals take it into their own hands to punish cultural appropriation, like the Hampshire College student who interrupted a women’s basketball game to insist that a Central Maine College player remove the braids from her hair.

Another transgressive bit of cultural appropriation, according to a Pitzer College assistant professor of Chicano-Latino Studies: white students (presumably female) wearing hooped earrings.

A reasonably sane, decent adult may be puzzled by all this. But consult Google and you find 482,000 hits for “cultural appropriation.” That’s not (to risk committing an offense) chopped liver. It’s defined as “the adoption or use of one culture by members of another culture.”

Attentive readers will notice that “culture” is a euphemism. The objection is not to participating in a culture but to doing so when you’re not of the right genetic ancestry.

People who talk about cultural appropriation un-ironically are self-identifying as idiots. They should be mocked and ridiculed mercilessly.

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