Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Time to ditch the concept of "Cultural appropriation"

The Economist has an excellent article here, subtitled

"When respect for diversity is taken to crazy extremes"

which argues that attempting to show respect for what are labelled "minority cultures" by preventing anyone else from paying them, the sincerest form of flattery is self-defeating and should be binned.

After pointing out the hypocrisy and capacity for inspiring ridicule which results from the inconsistent application of this idea, the magazine's article concludes:

"The remedy for the selective application of the cultural appropriation label is not its expansion—as this would sweep in all manner of innocuous social interactions—but its retirement.

The phrase stigmatises the beneficial cultural exchanges that happen in art, music, dance, cooking and language. The very idea is self-defeating. To declare black culture off-limits to non-blacks, for example, is to segregate it.

The term also fundamentally misunderstands the process by which all cultures form and progress: through creolisation and intermixing. To appropriate the words of John Donne, no culture is an island entirely of itself."

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