Cultural Appropriation

Cultural appropriation is a phrase invented by people who are so  obsessed with political correctness that they have become incorrect; people who can’t see the forest for  the trees, like, ever.

We appropriate other styles of cooking because they taste good and we like variety.  There is no rule that says only a Greek can make  a Greek salad, that only Italians can  make pizza, that a Vietnamese person can’t open a Chinese  restaurant.  When we sit down to a meal, at home or out, we are mostly concerned about the quality, the quantity, and the price of  the food.  Some people will be mentally rating the wait staff, and some people will wonder if  it’s all made without gluten, or peanuts, and a very few will raise questions of labor practices and wonder how much different people in the restaurant  make, but these people, as a rule, make awkward dinner companions and it’s probably better to just not invite them.

In music, cultural appropriation is all over the place.  Without it, we’d have no blues, no rock and roll (hell yes, Elvis borrowed from black artists.  Whether this is ‘taking inspiration from’ or ‘cultural appropriation’ is a silly argument.  Elvis was pretty great, however he got that way) or opera.  (see pizza, above.  We’ve appropriated a lot of culture from that source).
But, you can’t actually appropriate a culture; not wholesale anyway, complete with language, dress, folklore, traditions, holidays.  If you do that, it’s not appropriation, it’s conversion, which is rare and generally not seen as a threat, but as the homage it is.

So, stop worrying about it.  If you see something from another culture you like, feel free to try it, to embrace it, to emulate it if it enriches your life in any way.  Life is short and it’s a small world.  It’s a hell of a shame not to take advantage of the whole range of experiences available to  is within this finite time.


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