July 20, 2015

Jim Goad

Jim Goad

OK, I’ll play along. Let’s pretend that “cultural appropriation” is morally wrong. But let’s also play fair and declare that from hereon out, all humans”€”not only the white ones”€”must rid themselves of everything they’ve appropriated from other cultures and henceforth appropriate only things created by their own culture.

I would miss Richard Pryor and Little Richard and soul food and, well, lots of other things, I swear on my mammy’s grave.

But what about a random dreadlocked black keyboard warrior living in a one-room apartment somewhere in a Wichita slum who’s pecking out anti-white vitriol and posting it to Facebook? Exactly how many items generated by white culture is that sad, lonely, confused person appropriating merely to say that they hate white people? Once you factor in the keyboard and the motherboard and the wireless connection and the electrical company and the software engineers and the municipal infrastructure, there’s undeniably a heapin’ helpin’ of cultural appropriation going on. There’s also a truckload of technological appropriation, too, but technology and white culture often tend to be intertwined, as uncomfortable as that fact is for many people to hear.

So to answer the question this article’s headline poses, cultural appropriation is never inappropriate. It’s merely what naturally happens when cultures collide. It’s not always pretty“€”I’m not particularly fond of lesbian rappers, Mexican basketball players, black midgets who play cricket while feigning English accents, or, if you must, white guys who do yoga”€”but such unpleasantries are unavoidable when you squash different cultures together into the same cramped spaces.

If you find it morally imperative to rid the world of this phantom bugaboo that you call “cultural appropriation,” you’ll have to get rid of multiculturalism. If you agree to that, I’ll have my lawyer draw up the papers. But since you obviously don’t want to do that, I suggest you leave me alone and go back to sucking your thumb. I have some stretching to do, and I prefer to do it in silence.


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