Rejecting Progress in the Name of ‘Cultural Appropriation’

Another week, another set of manufactured outrages. New absurdities have been discovered recently in the UK as the Labour politician, Dawn Butler, has criticised the TV chef, and self-appointed guardian of the nation’s sugar levels, Jamie Oliver, for ‘cultural appropriation.’ His crime? Launching a product called ‘Punchy Jerk Rice,’ which, according to Butler, is ‘appropriation from Jamaica’ and ‘needs to stop.’

Until fairly recently the availability of global cuisines was seen as one of the few marked triumphs of multiculturalism. The idea of curry being a ‘National Dish’ for the UK was, as late as 2015, widely celebrated by left-leaning publications such as The Guardian and The Independent. This week, these publications signalled the illiberal transformation of their thinking by joining Butler in condemning Oliver. One eagerly awaits manufactured outrage from the British Italian community when they discover that Mr Oliver has a chain of restaurants called ‘Jamie’s Italian’ while, shock and horror, not actually being Italian.

Jamie Oliver

The very prospect of sudden outrage from once-respectable newspapers at an idea that has been perfectly normal for decades is an indicator that the modern left is fast becoming intellectually bankrupt. Having thoroughly deconstructed our postmodern world to ensure that things fall apart (and that the centre can no longer hold), now leading voices on the left seem to search for false and virtually impossible notions of ‘authenticity.’

The idea of ‘cultural appropriation’ is not only illiberal, it is spectacularly anti-progress (in the technological sense), anti-trade, and anti-global. With the exchange of goods and services across borders over centuries has come also the flow and exchange of words and ideas. The meticulous work of the great French Annales historian, Fernand Braudel, has traced the movement of crops, spices, meats, and other products across history and geography. When a good idea comes along – let us say, the knife and the fork – networks of trade ensure that not only goods and services, but also customs and habits (let us say, table manners) take root relatively quickly to change ‘the structures of everyday life,’ even if change in the longue durée takes time. Ergo, the popular rise of the knife and fork across Europe in the sixteenth century gave rise to table manners in the seventeenth century.

Lamb vindaloo

It is scarcely possible to find some aspect of British culture that is not in some way ‘cultural appropriation.’ Take, for example, that most British of dishes, the Chicken Vindaloo. Of course, many would reflexively point to the subcontinent of India as the origin of this dish. But scholars of food would know that the red dried chilli peppers integral to the vindaloo are not native to Asia at all, but to South America. Indeed, neither is another vital ingredient, vinegar, authentically Indian. Both chilis and vinegar were brought to the Goan region by Portuguese traders in the 16th century. Imagine a Goan Dawn Butler in 1605 lamenting the ‘cultural appropriation’ of South American and Portuguese products by the local Goan equivalent of Jamie Oliver. She would deny us the Vindaloo.

Let us take a very different example: the tradition of English poetry. What could be more British than the Shakespearean Sonnet? ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? / Thou art more lovely and more temperate.’ Yet, any student of literature knows that the sonnet was an Italian form invented in 1235 by an Italian lawyer called Giacomo da Lentini and then popularised in the fourteenth century by Francis Petrarch. During the reign of Henry VIII, Sir Thomas Wyatt travelled Europe widely meeting courtiers from every country. He learned of the Italian sonnet while at court, as well as verse forms from France and Spain, and started imitating them in his own writing. If there had been a Tudor Dawn Butler ready to press the king to chop off Wyatt’s head for his ‘cultural appropriation,’ then British culture would subsequently have lost out on, among other things, Shakespeare’s sonnets, Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind”  (Wyatt also popularised terza rima, the form of Dante’s Divine Comedy) and  Lord Byron’s Don Juan (which is written in ottava rima, another form imported by Wyatt).  Indeed, the very English language is a magpie language which has taken freely from French, Germanic languages, Italian, Latin, Greek and so on for centuries. The total number of the words in the English language currently stands at 171,476 according to the Oxford English Dictionary, a symbol of its willingness to accommodate foreign concepts, and a total triumph of ‘cultural appropriation.’

Historically, it has been the European openness not only to foreign goods, but also foreign ideas – those which work, those which enhance our physical and mental wellbeing – that has signalled the forward march of modernity. The rejection of foreign goods and ideas, commonly known as xenophobia, results in cultural isolationism. It has a poor historical record. As Ian Morris has shown, by every conceivable measure, the Chinese civilization stood neck-and-neck with their Western counterparts until about 1500. However, after this point, came the Great Divergence – a clear gap opened between Chinese and Western technological and economic development. As David Landes has argued, this divergence was primarily the result of Chinese isolationism – the refusal, from 1500 onwards, of foreign goods, and foreign ideas. This also helps to explain why in over four centuries of usage in Europe, the knife and fork failed to take root in China – whatever the relative merits of the chopstick.

The Great Divergence showing GDP per capita over time

Similar effects can be seen whenever a nation decides to turn its back on other cultures. A tragic example from recent history has been Zimbabwe. For three decades, its Marxist dictator, Robert Mugabe, preached the total rejection of the ‘white man’ for whom he blamed all the ills of his country. His post-colonial rhetoric, so devastating for his people, was widely cheered at the time by the Western intellectual left who showered him with honorary doctorates and disingenuous assessments of his land reforms (funded by the London School of Economics, no less!). The result was cultural and economic isolation, and predictable disaster including hyperinflation and famine. Neighbouring Botswana during the same period adopted a policy of openness to business, a notion of inclusive and civic – as opposed to racial – nationhood based on the rule of law. Its GDP per capita growth has multiplied by over six times since 1980, while the Zimbabwean economy flatlined. Zimbabwe ranks 175th out of 180 countries on the Economic Freedom Index and relies on the fragile trade of agricultural crops. Meanwhile, Botswana ranks 34th out of 180 on the same Economic Freedom Index, and can boast of a booming diamond export market as well as impressive growth in foreigner visitor spending, which now accounts for 70.7% of Travel and Tourism’s contribution to Botswana’s Gross Domestic Product.

This is a tale of two nations: one closed to the world, and one open to it. The notion of “cultural appropriation” taken to extremes does not only cost economic and technological development, it can cost lives.

For all these reasons and more, no matter how fringe or absurd the voices of the far left sound in our intellectually bereft newspapers, and no matter how much Dawn Butler’s accusations of ‘cultural appropriation’ against Jamie Oliver make one roll one’s eyes – we are witnessing the birth of an incredibly dangerous, anti-modern, anti-progress, anti-trade, and above all anti-human way of thinking. I encourage everyone to be extremely vocal in condemning Dawn Butler, and in fighting fiercely to protect the principle of openness – to both goods and ideas – the very principle which has helped create prosperity, lifting millions upon millions of children out of abject poverty.


Neema Parvini is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Surrey. He is the author of five books, the most recent being Shakespeare and New Historicism Theory (2017) and Shakespeare’s Moral Compass (forthcoming 2018). He also presents a popular podcast series called Shakespeare and Contemporary Theory.

Filed under: Top


  1. Mark says

    Curry the national dish of the UK? Please. We know it’s anything from Nando’s.

    • yandoodan says

      Jamie Oliver must confine himself to his native British cuisine, such as gravy over gray meat. My personal favorite is ground meat and canned peas in gravy, covered by a mashed potato crust. Mmmm!

      Given his first name, however, I fear he might be Scottish. Sheep lungs steamed in a goat stomach — “Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!”

  2. Peter from Oz says

    Dawn Butler deserves to be hounded from public life for this scandalous behaviour, as do all such lefties.

    • Ernesto Raymond says

      All of us randy Americans using English…the ultimate cultural appropriation.

      • ga gamba says

        Anyone who isn’t Jewish using the Old Testament and using Judaism as the foundation of both Christianity and Islam. I reckon some may even find making their God an adulterer and a deadbeat dad objectionable.

  3. Bubblecar says

    Looking up the actual criticism of Jamie Oliver’s rice, it seems it has little to do with “cultural appropriation”, despite Dawn Butler’s use of that term.

    His “jerk rice” is being criticised because it’s a misuse of the term “jerk”, which in Jamaican cuisine refers to a barbecue marinade, not a rice dish. His rice is also being criticised for being not very nice.

    So no, I don’t think that widespread criticism of a Jamie Oliver product actually counts as evidence that “the modern left is fast becoming intellectually bankrupt.”

    Having said that, I agree that accusations of “cultural appropriation” are often (but not always) dubious, and sometimes absurd.

        • There Nazis were entitled to use whatever symbol they wanted. It didn’t belong to anyone and was common to many cultures and groups. Obviously it’s rather unfortunate that they tarnished its perception in the West which personally affects me as a Western Jain. Nevertheless it had nothing to to with ‘cultural appropriation’ which is always a ridiculous, racist concept promoting segregation on cultural lines.

          • @ Wicked One

            “Nevertheless it had nothing to to with ‘cultural appropriation’”

            On the contrary. It had EVERYTHING to do with cultural appropriation. And in this sense negatively, immorally and wrongly. This is among the worst case scenarios one can think of. As usually is any example set by the Nazis.

            “which is always a ridiculous, racist concept promoting segregation on cultural lines.”

            Nope. You are over-egging it a bit.

    • No, my friend, the use of “cultural appropriation” is always absurd. Modern left is intellectually bankrupt. We don’t need an article on cultural appropriation, one of the many insane claims issued by contemporary leftists, to prove that particular point.

      • Bubblecar says

        While I’m aware that there’s a concerted effort by many posters to turn this site into just another righty ghetto (like the thousands of other right-wing bubbles on the net), it would be nice if you people made an effort to actually respond with arguments sometimes, instead of just “Wrong, ‘cos leftie”.

        Certainly the concept of cultural appropriation is taken too far and applied too widely, and many examples (particularly those of celebrity dress and hairstyles etc) are laughably trivial.

        But there are some examples where such criticisms are legitimate. For example, when non-indigenous artists seek to exploit the popularity and high value of indigenous art by painting in the same style, without having any clue as to the meaning and cultural context of the various elements of such work (and in some cases, committing fraud by pretending to be indigenous themselves).

        • ga gamba says

          Yet, in a more long winded way you just committed what you criticise.

          But there are some examples where such criticisms are legitimate. For example, when non-indigenous artists seek to exploit the popularity and high value of indigenous art by painting in the same style, without having any clue as to the meaning and cultural context of the various elements of such work.

          Firstly, you attached a requirement that a person have a clue to the meaning and cultural context without backing that up. You simply assert. Why is this a requirement? May I use the indigenous style to criticise, satirise, or even ridicule? Who are you to demand this of others? If I mix together a variety of styles from around the world must I know the meaning and cultural context of all of them? To whom do I prove this knowledge? The Committee of Knowing Art Stuff? Secondly, you’re well aware that the accusations of appropriation come first and are based on seeing the art and the artist’s name and face. Almost never is there effort by the accusers to determine whether or not the artists know the meaning and cultural context. Thirdly, you don’t establish the same requirement for indigenous artists to know the meaning and cultural context of art that’s not from their culture. If Daniel Danceswitwolves decides to incorporate Japanese anime need he prove what you require of others? Lastly, you make significant “popularity and high value” which is not determined by the artist but rather by others, i.e. the market. Are the consumers required to have any clue as to the meaning and cultural context also? If the indigenous art is not popular and valuable, do your requirements fall by the wayside?

          Basically, you’ve decided to privilege a group of people simply by the accident of their conception and birth and condemn another group of people based on the same accident. If you’re going to advocate double standards I think you owe everyone a better justification than the requirement that’s recently been concocted to dress up bigotry.

          • Bubblecar says

            “Why is this a requirement?”

            It’s required in order to appreciate the nature of the art, since many examples of indigenous art do embody various regional meanings, which often determine the actual appearance of the work, in a very detailed manner.

            “Who are you to demand this of others?”

            You’re quite mistaken, I’m not “demanding” anything.

            “Are the consumers required to have any clue as to the meaning and cultural context also?”

            The people who collect (or curate) indigenous art normally require themselves to have an understanding of what they’re buying.

            Art that superficially copies indigenous styles without incorporating the relevant cultural meanings will thus be judged inferior by those who want the authentic work, reflecting the culture that gave rise to it.

            “If the indigenous art is not popular and valuable, do your requirements fall by the wayside?”

            The point about value and popularity is two-fold: firstly, this may be the only motivation (profit without original creative input) involved in copycat work, thus providing more criticism for lack of artistic integrity.

            Secondly, for various indigenous communities, the sale of original artwork is of real economic importance, so it’s not surprising that those who value this work will take a dim view of shallow attempts to exploit it.

          • ga gamba says

            It’s required in order to appreciate the nature of the art,

            I may appreciate, or not, one, some, or all of the many aspects that make the nature of anything. There is no requirement for the artist, the buyer, or anyone else to comply with this. This requirement was fabricated to restrict certain types of art to those people who happen to be born on the the ethnicity. They may have been reared outside the community their entire lives and have no understanding, yet there is no requirement because they are deemed authentic by their blood.

            You’re quite mistaken, I’m not “demanding” anything.

            You required, or support others who require, which is a demand. You don’t even understand what you’ve written. Stop tying yourself in knots.

            … will thus be judged inferior by those who want the authentic work,

            So, the intangible aspects of cultural legitimacy or authenticity is able to be divined from the artwork in some manner? How so? Not knowing the name of either artist, one being indigenous and the other not, you can look both artworks and determine the cultural authenticity? You know there are TV programmes that routinely debunk this, even tricking knowledgeable curators who highly appraise mass-market art purchased at a mall and then hung in a gallery. That’s fine the curators or others may judge it so, however, this is merely a subjective appraisal that preferences the artist based on the accident of their conception, and this ought not exclude others, whether it be deemed authentic or not. Ultimately the buyers will decide what they like for a variety of reasons be it the colours used, the composition, or the tale the regale their friends that their art is from and authentic Indian.

            … copycat…

            Usually is applied to those the copy the work of an individual in its entirety or significantly. If I duplicate Munch’s The Scream that’s copycat. If I use the Impressionists’ style that’s not copycat.

            Secondly, for various indigenous communities, the sale of original artwork is of real economic importance, so it’s not surprising that those who value this work will take a dim view of shallow attempts to exploit it.

            So they want to avail themselves to the mechanisms and rewards of capitalism, and also restrict it to themselves? You realise you have just outed your earlier requirement the non-indigenous artist have a understanding of the meaning and the cultural context as a ruse, right?

        • M.D. says

          @ Bubblecar

          I vehemently disagree with you. You have to be indigenous to make a certain style of art? You need knowledge to appreciate the art? You must approach the art in certain ways?

          You have already lost me. Whatever authenticity or possession of suffering you are seeking on behalf of “indigenous” people, I don’t believe it exists. I think the term indigenous is dubious, and with art as with food, I think people can do as they please. How many artists out there pretend to be what they aren’t, ethnically or culturally? Should we go by DNA, should we go by where you were born, should we go by your “heritage”, should we go by the color of your skin?

          I don’t think any of this is right wing, I think it’s common sense.

          • ga gamba says

            S/he is playing the noble savage gambit. It was bigotry when it was created, and it’s bigotry now.

            You find these types hoodwinked by the mysticism they believe innate to indigenous people. Often they themselves are not from these communities but use their advocacy as way to appropriate the natives’ uncorrupted purity and goodness for themselves.

          • Bubblecar says

            Your theory that there is no such thing as indigenous art is interesting but seems to conflict fairly obviously with reality.

            “I think people can do as they please.”

            Me too, cheers.

        • TarsTarkas says

          Bullshit. No one and no group ‘owns’ or can ‘own’ culture, any culture, period. I’m fully in favor of encouraging and helping the indigenous to patent or trademark artifacts, artwork, and performing art, which would certainly increase their income and morale and reduce exploitation. But to claim the indigenous ‘own’ their culture is wrong; culture is like air and water and life, it simply exists. Cultural appropriation has nothing to do with ‘protecting’ ‘indigenous’ culture, it is simply another tool used by SJW’s to bully and seize power. I find it highly interesting how it’s perfectly fine for ‘indigenous’ cultures to appropriate from Western Culture (clothing, language, technology, Marxist philosophy, to name a few), but not the reverse (although the rulers of San Francisco and other ‘sanctuary cities’ seem quite eager to impose Third World living standards on their native populace).

        • dirk says

          As is common among tourists in Malindi, East coast Kenya, with henna painting on foot or hand. Has a long Swahili tradition and meaning, but for the tourist just only fun. But they pay for it, thus the discussion whether CA or not is completely lost on the cosmetic (now) painters.

        • Just two examples, one regarding cultural appropriation and the other about a trend taken too far to be termed “absurd”.

          Consider the Delft pottery of the Netherlands – with its characteristic subtle blue details against a white background. After 1620, when Chinese imports to Europe were affected by political turmoil following the emperor’s death, Dutch potters emulated the Chinese patterns and style to churn out affordable versions for local consumers. In time, Delft developed its own unique and sophisticated style and authenticity. Was it a bad thing?

          “Reductio ad absurdum” is not an ineffective strategy to refute an unsound assertion, by taking it to its extreme context. Clearly, cultural appropriation is an absurd concept. Should people in Ireland stop eating potatoes because it was brought in from South America? How about the much beloved fish sauce of Macao and Hong Kong? That was introduced by the Portuguese. Even better. How about all Canadians and Americans stop farming because, as you know, agriculture was invented in the Old World.

          There are way too many Harrison Bergerons lurking out there.

        • But there are some examples where such criticisms are legitimate. For example, when non-indigenous artists seek to exploit the popularity and high value of indigenous art by painting in the same style, without having any clue as to the meaning and cultural context of the various elements of such work

          You mean like Picasso did? For the sake of somebody’s hurt feelies we are going to censor the West’s own canon?

        • Peter Kriens says

          We have plagiarism to handle the case that someone directly steals ideas from others and sells them unchanged under their own name. However, an indigenous art style is not owned by any individual and seems to be in the public domain as far as I can see. Being inspired by such a style seems to me flattery and and provides a broader exposure of the style to the world, opening up more avenues to exploit this kind of art in the bigger world.

          Even pretending to be indigenous seems an extremely innocent crime. (if it would be a crime?) Who would be harmed?

          To be harmed we need to assign ownership but if that was possible non-western societies would come out far worse than the societies they could then no longer appropriate all the important technologies from?

          It is not a stupid idea because it is left, it is a stupid idea because it seems to ignore that the fair rule of reciprocity would make the indigenous people much, much, worse off.

        • Mark Beal says

          The problem here is that ‘cultural appropriation’ is a concept invented by the identitarian left and used as a cudgel with which to beat their enemies. It is thus thoroughly useless, as there is no neutral definition of the term.

          Instances such as the one you give can easily be condemned using good old-fashioned words, such as charlatanism.

          In the Jamie Oliver case, his use of ‘jerk’ may be misleading, and if so that’s a far better description than ‘cultural appropriation’. He still went up a few percentage points in my estimation by not apologising.

          • Oliver says

            I completely agree with you, Mark. The irony is that members of the identitarian Left almost always use these weapons to beat their allies into submission, because absurd and laughable charges of racism and cultural appropriation have little effect on their perceived enemies. I have seen someone here use the term “leukophobia” ironically (as in, fear and hatred of white people, not color white), and I do believe there needs to be a coordinated effort to make this term widespread and use it as a cudgel with which to beat the members of the Left attempting to demonize and dehumanize white people.

      • jimhaz says

        No. Art can be situation where cultural appropriation may be morally bankrupt. I would not want to have Aboriginal Art produced in Indonesia and shipped back to Australia.

        But note I said ‘can be’, music of any kind for instance is a different kettle of fish.

        • Dan Vesty says

          Why not jimhaz ? If Aboriginal people wanted to have Aboriginal Art on the walls of their homes, but didn’t want to make it themselves or pay a local artist to do it, and the Indonesian factory could turn it out much cheaper, where is the moral bankruptcy ?

    • hemocyanin says

      BBQ Beans aren’t actually barbecued, they just have a barbecuey sauce. Sounds the same as jerk rice, rice with a jerk marinade (or sauce). Doesn’t seem like a big deal even at its root.

      • Bubblecar says

        It’s not a big deal. But if you’re going to be marketing a product as an example of a regional cuisine, or inspired thereby, it’s not helpful to muddle up the terms normally used in that cuisine, especially as Jamie’s dish contains none of the ingredients normally used in jerk marinades.

        • ga gamba says

          Then the complaint ought to be of mislabeling or misrepresentation and not appropriation.

          Good thing we’re identifying the real issue.

          In related news: The other day I went to Kentucky Fried Chicken in Manila and was disgusted to find that the chicken wasn’t fried in Kentucky at all. They were doing it right there behind the counter in full view of everyone!

          • Rogan Motter says

            ga gamba, that is a truly brilliant remark, which made me cackle out loud. Thank you for bringing levity to this silliness.

        • Alys Williams says

          There are any number of dishes that bear no resemblance to the original or are complete reinventions and it’s nothing new. Elizabeth David was complaining about the mis labelling of dishes and the abuse of ingredients seventy years ago and if we Brits had to survive on what we could grow and produce ourselves we would have a very monotonous diet. We are, and always have been, a trading nation, bringing in goods, foodstuffs (and ideas ) from all over the world and thank god for that. Stop whining. And Quillette is a forum for everyone not just a ‘righty ghetto’ as you put it. There was a piece on here just last week by Tim Lott. a self proclaimed lefty who wrote for the Guardian (UK) for many years, so you’re talking nonsense on that front as well. If you don’t like it here then there are plenty of other places on the internet you might feel more comfortable.

        • It becomes confusing but that’s just how things are. All people need to do is talk of traditional or non-traditional whatever it is and the problem is largely solved. Trying to police how people use words is always a mistake.

      • peanut gallery says

        “Is there anything this man can’t jerk!?”

      • HKeagle says

        BBQ actually refers to the sauce not the act of grilling. The term has been wrongly appropriated!

    • Bubblecar says

      @ga gamba

      “I may appreciate, or not, one, some, or all of the many aspects that make the nature of anything.”

      Fine, you’re not interested in indigenous art. But not surprisingly, indigenous artists, along with art critics, historians, custodians, curators, collectors – i.e., the people who are interested in (and knowledgeable about) indigenous art, are generally the ones regarded as authorities on the subject. You may resent their interpretation of the nature of the art in which they specialise, but they’re quite entitled to regard you as an irrelevant ignoramus.

      • ga gamba says

        Your authorities have been cowed to bend the knee to unfounded assertions that are, frankly, about mysticism. I understand why the game players use this tactic; it’s to reserve the marketplace for themselves.

        Time and time again authorities have been bamboozled to think mass-market art is something special not based on the quality itself, but of favoured narratives that envelop it. To push back at an Indian artist’s assertions would be viewed as unseemly, as “punching down”, and no curator, historian, or museum wants to be accused of that.

        Gerd Elise Mørland and Heidi Bale Amundsen write: Prior to the institutionalizing of the curator’s role and the shaping of it as we see it today, the political was often expressed through the exhibitions’ content. But as the role of the curator changed, the curatorial methods changed with it. This implicated what we consider a radically new way of working politically as a curator. While politics had normally been expressed through the exhibitions‘ content and thematic, curators could now activate art‘s political potential through curatorial form and structure as well. And this was what they did, as many of today‘s curators aim to “change the world” not only through artworks with political motifs or through political exhibition themes, but also through the curatorial strategies themselves. These curators turn the curatorial strategies into meaningful form with intrinsic value, expressing political concerns by the use of processual and often participatory means such as education, organized discussions, interventions, collaborative working methods and text production. This tendency is seen not only in the smaller, radical and independent projects normally associated with political exhibitions, but also as a trait of large-scale exhibitions and
        biennials which tend to merge art and life in a new way.

        That you favour a particular stripe of propaganda is your choice. Recognise the game for what it is.

        • peanut gallery says

          I might curate my museum with well painted Warhammer models. I can paint ok, then I look online and feel like total garbage by comparison. Thanks internet!

    • Bubblecar says

      @ga gamba

      No, no “noble savage gambit” here. It seems you’ve been consumed with racial hatred for so long than you reject any recognition of non-Western regional traditions of creativity.

      In your rather sad mind, it’s all some kind of political ploy for undeserved respect.

      • ga gamba says

        Obviously you dislike be called out for what you are, but make no mistake you are the noble savage game player.

        I don’t reject non-Western traditions. I reject the unfounded assertion that artists are required to adhere to some ever fluid demand by others for authenticity, one that’s usually centred on race or ethnicity, i.e. blood. This ruins creative freedom. I favour the artist’s creativity to engage in whatever medium and style that strikes his/her fancy without this being attached to a dubious requirement imposed by bigoted authoritarians such as yourself.

        The racial hatred you accuse others of is held by you; you impose racialised restrictions on people. I don’t.

        • Bubblecar says

          You can’t take a moment out from your all-consuming “blood” obsessions to consider the art of peoples who don’t share them, and don’t share your sheltered lifetime of simmering American inferiority complex.

          Indigenous artists and those who appreciate their work are “bigots” in your tiny scheme of things. Their art reflects their world and the way it was transformed by the imaginations of their people, unmolested by bigoted authoritarians such as yourself.

          This is beyond your capacity for toleration – you DEMAND racial restrictions from people – stop being black! Stop being aboriginal! Stop being better than me!

          I don’t demand anything of anyone, I’m simply interested in what they may have discovered.

    • Gayle says

      I hope dopey Dawn never travels in a car, aeroplane, train or horse drawn carriage as all would be cultural appropriation by people of non-European background. In fact they were all invented by white blokes. Until then horses or shank’s pony were the alternative. As dopey Dawn also dislikes white males she will surely apologize immediately for using any of their inventions and return immediately to an idyllic hunter gatherer existence. Alternatively she could recognize the great benefits that humans have reaped from sharing our growing knowledge.

      • Susan says

        -also, many images of Dawn in a blazer and little black dress

    • @ Bubblecar

      When I took Sociology I learned that Cultural Appropriation was the act of taking something sacred of one culture and making it a commodity in another.

      Simply cpying the style would not be considered CA. Unless of course something about that style was sacred (Like painting a portrait of Elvis in the style of an Orthodox icon).

      Funny enough, it seems those who want to complain about CA seem to care more about rice dishes and food trucks than Madonna or African American rappers usng catholic symbols like the rosery as a fashion statement.

      Im sure thats not by accident.

      • ga gamba says

        the act of taking something sacred of one culture and making it a commodity in another.

        There are plenty of items that are deemed sacred by one that are not sacred to others; the crucifix, for example. That someone chooses to use it as a fashion accessory or as art exhibit, for example Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ, does not interfere in Christians’ use and thoughts of the item. It is not taken away from them; they may still perform their sacred rituals with their sacred item. The artist, and even the consumer, has not forced them to change their views or beliefs. Perhaps their belief and devotion becomes even more resolute; many religions have the adherent persevering through challenges and suffering. Those who do so with the entirety of their being are proclaimed martyrs. Most likely many Christians find it offensive, and they are allowed to express their displeasure. Nonetheless, Christians don’t control how others interact with the items nor is it reasonable that they expect others attach the same significance to it. When we demand others find sacred what we find sacred we are entering into the realm of blasphemy laws.

        This holds true for every sacred item of any faith, whether it be a massive organisation such as the Catholic Church or one that’s much smaller with a handful of adherents. In a genuinely secular society people may commit sacrilege. I may draw of picture of Mohammed. I may use a kippah as handkerchief. I may transform a didgeridoo into an umbrella stand or a bong. Nevertheless, my interaction, my disrespect, my sacrilege has not prevented you from performing your scared rituals. Where I’m limited, and rightly so, is I may not prevent you from using your sacred items in your rituals.

        It is interesting that those who have actually prevented others from practicing their beliefs have often been from the left. This has happened in places where one least expects it too, such as the open persecution of Catholics by the Mexican government of 1917 that lead to the Cristero War. It wasn’t until 1992 that the Mexican government repealed the last laws, specifically the anticlerical provisions of the constitution, that suppressed Catholicism. The same thing happened during Spain’s “Red Terror”, though for a much shorter period.

        The 14th Dalai Lama writes: I personally have great admiration for secular democracy. When Tibet was still free, we cultivated our natural isolation, mistakenly thinking that we could prolong our peace and security that way. Consequently, we paid little attention to the changes taking place in the world outside. . . . Later, we learned the hard way that in the international arena, as well as at home, freedom is something to be shared and enjoyed in the company of others, not kept to yourself. . . . Communism failed utterly because it relied on force to promote its beliefs. Ultimately, human nature was unable to sustain the suffering it produced. Brute force, no matter how strongly applied, can never subdue the basic human desire for freedom.

        Authoritarians such as social justice leftists use intimidation and force to impose compliance on others. These demands about cultural appropriation have very little to do with aiding or advocating on the behalf of others and a lot to do with coercing people to submit to unreasonable demands. It’s an endless struggle session designed to break people’s wills.

        • Bernard Hill says

          …a tour de force GG. Congratulations on your persistence.

    • yandoodan says

      In a novel I wrote all the characters are white Southerners. The reason is cultural appropriation; I am a white Southerner, and I don’t want to appropriate, say, black Southern culture. Of course I couldn’t care a rat’s furry little behind about political correctness. I just don’t want to look like a total idiot in writing about something I know very little about.

      This, by the way, puts me in a bind. I can write about black Southerners and appropriate the culture of an oppressed people while looking like a total idiot, or I can write a lily white book the features only oppressors. I could write about the extreme guilt of the white Southern oppressors (c. 1960), but as they didn’t feel any that would be inauthentic. Oh well. Can’t win for losing.

      • As a white southerner you think you know very little about black southerners? Given the amount of cultural overlap that seems hard to believe.

        Unless you lived in a gated community you have spent plenty of time with black southerners.

        • yandoodan says

          Sorry about the late reply.

          In the 1960s South segregation was complete, even in Florida. While it was meant to strip blacks of any access to power, it had the side effect of denying whites access to blacks, except as servants. As a child I knew only three blacks: our church janitor, and our two ‘women who came in to do the laundry’.

    • John Murphy says

      They are always absurd. However, let’s assume they aren’t.

      On Ms Whatshername’s logic, no person who is not wholly of north-western cultural origins should be allowed to, for example:
      1, Use anything powered by electricity or fossil fuels.
      2. Use any means of transport other than foot or animal.
      3. Use any means of locomotion which is not human or animal powered.
      4. Take a benefit from any medical or surgical procedure, vaccine, anti-biotic or anesthetic.
      5. Engage in any but the lowest level of mathematical research or calculation.
      6. Line in or use any structure built of reinforced concrete.
      7. Use anything made of plastics or other synthetic materials.
      8. Use any wheeled transport however powered if the wheels are made of metal or shod with rubber.
      9. Take any benefit from anything that depends on quantum mechanics (computers, phones etc) or relativity (GPS).
      10. Don’t eat any food that is not fertiliser with human or animal shit.
      11. Certainly don’t cook with gas.
      12. Etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc

      In other words, Ms Whatshername, grow up, get half a brain, and then you will be bright enough to go back to pulling the teats on your father’s house-cow.

  4. TonyCr says

    Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more idiotic, here comes Dawn Butler.

    • Alys Williams says

      Yeah. I think she’s trying to outdo Diane Abbott for the title of Daftest Woman in Britain award.

  5. Daniel says

    Is there any possible situation in which cultural appropriation is actually bad? I can’t even imagine a hypothetical scenario…
    Perhaps Dawn Butler should be made to explain why it is bad. I bet she can’t.

    • Francis Barton says

      When white performers such as Elvis, cashed in on the work of black artists, I think that a decent example of cultural appropriation in the sense that someone got ripped off. Most of these other cases don’t really have a victim.

      • Daniel says

        I’m not familiar with the reference you made to Elvis, so you could very well be right; I don’t know. If he stole music from someone, it would be a separate sort of problem though, wouldn’t it? I mean, we’d be calling it intellectual property theft or something.
        If he just took a style of music and made it popular, I fail to see how there is any ethical/moral component to that at all. Again, I speak in hypotheticals, since I’m not familiar with the case. It’s entirely possible that the way in which it was done was improper.
        Either way, thanks for the response. Interesting thoughts.

        • Francis Barton says

          @Daniel I’m just playing devil’s advocate here because I think cultural appropriation is bs. But, perhaps this is just a question of semantics and a different term should be applied. I think what makes a case like Elvis different from typical IP theft is that because of racism in the fifties in the U.S. black artists were more vulnerable to this sort of theft.

          • Julia says

            Elvis grew up in the Deep South and was surrounded by blues and gospel music. That kind of music is woven into the fabric of that place in that time. It is part of the culture one experienced regardless of skin color.

      • TarsTarkas says

        Without Elvis, there might have been no Motown. He made ‘black’ popular music appealing and ‘safe’ for white audiences to listen to. The sudden appearance of black singers and groups in the 1950’s and 1960’s didn’t occur by accident. Black entertainers owe him that.

      • That wasn’t cultural appropriation which presupposes that cultures belong to particular groups, usually racial, which is a racist idea in itself.

        No-one got ripped off by Elvis playing traditionally black music and ‘Hound Dog’, first sung by a black women and seen as an example of something ‘authentically’ black was actually written by a couple of Jewish songwriters.

        The problem arose with the racist society which favoured white performers over black. However, that could never be solved by fighting against ‘cultural appropriation’ which is just fighting racism with more racism.

        • Francis Barton says

          @Forrest Grump “No no no no no no. And no again.” This isn’t a very compelling counterargument and the the fact that you think it is says a lot.

    • @ Daniel

      The misappropriation of the Swastika by the Nazis.

      And perhaps the word “Nigger” variants of Niger – which only really means Black.

      • Daniel says

        Reading Nomad,
        Those are indeed two bad things. But it’s still confusing; I don’t see that what makes them objectionable is the fact that they were culturally appropriated. Nobody would care that the Nazis used that symbol if they hadn’t done all that killing. I mean, when people mention the Holocaust, or the bloodshed of WWII, nobody is jumping up and down at the back of the room saying “and and and! How DARE they appropriate the swastika!”
        And the reason the N word is objectionable is because of the pejorative way in which it was used. Or rather, that’s why it was initially objectionable. Now the outrage has taken on a life of its own… But I don’t see why that would be appropriation. I mean, of all the objectionable things about the use of the N word, I’ve never heard anybody say “really, that word belongs to people of African descent; specifically, the citizens of the country of Niger.”

        It seems an altogether different sort of situation than eating a burrito.

        • “I don’t see that what makes them objectionable is the fact that they were culturally appropriated.”

          True – but this is a case of clear misappropriation. A symbol of another religion was taken and given really sinister connotation.

          In wider perspective, this was least of Nazi crime.

          “Nobody would care that the Nazis used that symbol if they hadn’t done all that killing.”

          Hence the misappropriation.

          • M.D. says

            @ Daniel and Reading Nomad

            “…this is a case of clear misappropriation. A symbol of another religion was taken and given really sinister connotation.”

            From Wiki:

            “…ancient religious icon from the cultures of Eurasia, where it has been and remains a symbol of divinity and spirituality in Indian religions and East Asian religions.”

            Which religion and which culture owns that symbol? If a symbol has been used before, must everyone come up with a new one? Who owns the cross? Are all of those religions saintly and peaceful? Because I’m not convinced that’s possible.

            The point of the Nazis isn’t their use of sympbols or black clothes or Wagner, it’s what they did. I can still wear black, and listen to Wagner, and go to East Asia and see a swastika in that context and know the difference. And if some boob in East Asia goes on a genocidal spree I could care less if they use the cross as their symbol, it’s the genocide that’s a problem.

            We can lump cultural appropriation in with punching up, racism, patriarchy and the rest of it, where it will only go one way and be used as a weapon.

          • M.D.

            “Which religion and which culture owns that symbol?”

            Largely Indian religions – namely Hinduism. Ownership is stretching it – given the normal meaning of the word. But “association” is the right word.

            “Who owns the cross?”

            Everyone knows that! Surely…

            “it’s the genocide that’s a problem”

            Clearly and appropriating a symbol that getting well known in Europe as a symbol of goodness. Nazis took that and destroyed it.

    • TarsTarkas says

      Yeah, I can think of a few. Female genital mutilation, sacrifice of albinos for purposes of witchcraft, honor killings, just to start.

    • AndrewK says


      The easiest example would be the way Disney’s cultural cache can effectively change the conventional wisdom of classic folk tales. Maybe Jamie Oliver has that sort of cultural cache too. But, that’s really more of a concern over how mainstream culture tends to dominate with louder less nuanced versions of everything.

      Overall, I think the solution is to preach open mindedness, a willingness to learn, and the art of breaking bread. Not exactly what the today’s cult-of-anti-appropriation is preaching.

    • AC Harper says

      It’s not quite appropriation but rabbits were introduced to (what is now) England by the Romans, and rabbits were introduced to Australia by the English. Each introduction had a big ecological impact.

      On a lighter note I visited a reconstructed medieval village (Battle of Bosworth Centre) and noticed a bowl of vegetables in a kitchen – the bowl included broccoli which was introduced to England rather later and I found it jarringly ahistorical.

  6. D.B. Cooper says

    It is scarcely possible to find some aspect of British culture that is not in some way ‘cultural appropriation.’

    How about masochism?

  7. RadixLecti says

    Someone needs to inform the nation of Italy that it is no longer permitted to use tomatoes in its cuisine.


    Persons who are NOT of European descent must stop engaging in, using, or availing themselves of items or processes that are related to the scientific, medical, and technological advances or creations of persons of European descent. These would include, among other things, automobiles, photography (both still and film), digital computation (e.g., electronic computers) and the Internet, aircraft, audio recording, anything powered by the mass generation and distribution of electricity, approximately 95 percent of all drugs and procedures used in the practice of modern medicine, television and radio broadcasting, electronic musical instruments, most telecommunications devices, and indeed most products produced by techniques of modern mass industrialization.

    These are all essential and exclusive elements of the cultural and scientific heritage of persons of European descent. Persons who are not of European descent who would use, modify, or engage in any of the above are unacceptably appropriating the culture and technologies of people of European descent.

    The above description of items, processes, and technologies is not intended to be complete. A more detailed listing is available for review at

    Please note that exceptions to some of the above are made in certain limited cases for persons of northeastern Asian descent (e.g., with respect to certain consumer electronic and medical technologies).

    Failure to comply with these demands will result in online bullying and harassment, possible loss of employment, an expectation of a public apology, and/or enrollment in sensitivity training.

  9. C Young says

    Despite Japan’s attempts to isolate itself from the rest of the world for 200 years during the Edo period, it still ended up with a foreign dish (tempura) as a central part of the national cuisine.

    Dawn Butler’s tomfoolery is yet another manifestation of left-segregationism. An emerging feature of the postmodern, illiberal left is its progressive adoption of attitudes traditionally held by the far right.

  10. Pierre-Yves St-Onge says

    This new cultural appropriation movement is very interesting, and it’s hard to tell where it is going.

    On one hand, we can see that people might need to prove their worthiness in using a hairstyle, dress, food or even vocabulary. But how do you prove it? Genetic testing? Most of us, if not all have mixed genetic origins.So we should be allowed a certain range of usage that is not culturally appropriated. Should these results be made public on the same name tag that will show our chosen pronouns? That will make for a mighty long name tag.

    At the same time, culture flows… and it’s often area-based and not on genetics. Except maybe in areas that are matched genetically and culturally like Japan. So that’s probably not going to work. So how to treat migrators who have cultural rights that move to a different cultural region? Would a white Jamaican moving to New York be allowed to wear dreadlocks?

    And then, if we go fully in the dreamworld, what about transracial individuals like Rachel Dolezal or Shaun King?

    On the whole, it seems so much simpler and common sense to continue to share our cultures and see “appropriation” as “appreciation”. And those are wonderful opportunities to find new ways and combinations that improve and enrich our lives.

    • RadixLecti says

      It will cycle back to accusations of racism. People will bring up children to never try anything outside their own specific “in-group” culture because cultural appropriation. Those kids will then meet other kids and each group will find the others’ food and customs “weird” (because all kids are dicks), and then be shamed by their cognitively dissonant parents for being budding racists.

      I dived down the rabbit hole of cultural appropriation a little, and one of the common complaints is that the same people who are eating with chopsticks and flinging garam masala onto their quinoa (which they then eat with chopsticks while wearing a sarong) used to make fun of the minority kids and their food and dress (again, and I stress this, kids are dicks).

      Speaking as a misanthrope of colour, I think it’s goddamn PROGRESS if people embrace something they used to mock.

    • M.D. says

      @ Pierre-Yves St-Onge

      It might also help to recognize we don’t own our culture. An African does not own his culture, nor does an Italian. If someone wants to dress and look and act like them, they can.

      I don’t get it, on the one hand we don’t want people disliking another culture, but on the other, don’t like it so much you want to adopt aspects of it.

      Just sit there, shut up, “appreciate” the good parts of the culture, and appreciate just the right amount, but don’t ever mention anything bad about the culture – differences are all positive.

      Who the hell is going to micromanage this, the culture police? Can we throw white rappers in prison immediately?

      • Paul Ellis says

        Or white jazz musicians? Or black classical musicians? Or black people singing hymns – sacred to Christian culture – written by dead white guys? Or yellow jazz or classical musicians? Or any Japanese who doesn’t stick to playing a bamboo flute or koto? Can we jail Paul McCartney (Lennon’s dead) for appropriating the blues? Can we jail all black bebop artists for appropriating harmony developed by Debussy, Ravel and Wagner? Or stop listening to Ravel and Stravinsky for their use of jazz motifs? How about Bossa Nova and Jobim?

        How about black people wearing dreadlocks? According to Wikipedia, 3,600 years ago they were sacred to just about everyone *except* black people.

    • Oliver says

      It is fascinating to behold, isn’t it? One might assume that the American society has no real issues left to grapple with when the hot topics of the national conversation on the Left are “cultural appropriation” and “intersectionality”. One would be very wrong to assume that.

  11. dirk says

    Quite easy to ridicule cultural appropriation here, as in tomato paste using Italians, and potato eating Irish, but that’s not fair, of course. The pain is the disrespectful use of cultural attributes (sometimes with a higher, spiritul meaning), mostly by a dominating group, of something from a minority. And I can feel this pain, at least, have empathy for it.
    Another aspect: in fact, the whole thing has to do with the limits of patent right A nice example plays now in the NL. Two Dutchmen thought to legitimate a patent on the products made from Teff, a small local very old Ethiopean grain. It is yet unsure what the outcome will be, because, agricultural produce is not an invention like technical ones. But nevertheless, cultural appropriation, yes, sure. Why is it that the whole world is formed and structured under the weight of individual enterprise and commercialisation? That;s not how it all began, and probably also not how it will end!

    • The commodification of spiritual items in the only sympathy of the cultural appropriation argument I can muster. Even then, the selective nature of how it is applied makes that sympathy taste like ash.

      No one gave a single shit when rappers were sporting rosaries.

    • M.D. says

      @ dirk

      How is it easy to ridicule Italians and Irish but not Ethiopians?

      Tomatoes are associated with Southern Italian cooking (nevermind that the tomato came from North America), an area that was historically poor and oppressed, and from where most of the immigrants came. The Irish of course were poor as well.

      I never heard family members complain about Italian restaurants here appropriating their spiritual cuisine and how much pain it caused them. Nobody cared, they were busy making a life.

      So why do people only moan and empathize when it’s the brown people being “appropriated’? Are we only grieving recent appropriations? When is the cutoff date? I still hurt so deeply when I see Dominoes commercials.

      Does anyone making these claims drink coffee? Eat sugar? Stop already, this is not a war that can be won.

      • dirk says

        Sorry M.D. but I was not ridiculing Italians and Irish, but the people/commenters (see above) who wonder why C.A. does not apply to them (because of their habits of eating once exotic foodstuff like tomatoes and potatoes). BTW, cultural appropriation, like sectionalism, white supremacy, identity politics and so on, is not something from Italians, Irish, Dutch or Swahili people (see my earlier comment above), but from academic circles from the US (though, the roots might have to be looked for in imported ideas of certain European philosophers). I think I can understand the roots, but more important is, how should we react in a humanistic way on these feelings and uneasiness, other than with: we are not the guilty ones, noho, no blame with us, it’s them (brown people, like you suggest). I agree with you, not a war that can be won. No way!

        • C Young says

          If you once offer ‘feelings and uneasiness’ dominion over reason, you offer up a tool of control.

          I can claim to ‘feel uneasy’ strategically.

          I can redefine ‘feeling’ in such a way that I don’t actually need to have the feeling, instead I feel on behalf of others ‘as a woman’, ‘as a POC’ etc. Once these ‘feelings’ are accepted as a medium of exchange, you can be sure that they will grow out of all proportion.

          • dirk says

            But, C.Young, did I say anything about dominion? And do you think that feelings don’t count?I wonder what your wife says about that. What I hoped for with my comment, was to arise some sympathy for this CA, and that’s maybe because I lived and worked for 20 yrs in the so called shithole countries (though, I never felt it like that there, I felt very well, relaxing after work in the shade of a mango tree, ducks and chickens strolling around my feet, that’s behind me now, I live in the civilised West, and feel well here too, but I can’t say much better, in fact, it doesn’t matter.

    • Bernard Hill says

      …but it’s how we got civilisation, and it will all end when we abandon it.

  12. Taliesyn says

    If you believe in “cultural appropriation”, please stop using the English language. It is an appropriation of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old Norse, French and Welsh, plus bits of everything from Arabic to Japanese

  13. I have serious problems with claims of cultural appropriation like this one.

    First, there are definitely double standards – predominantly white people are accused as perpetrators, the other way round is non-existent. Why are some artists allowed to appropriate on the basis of the colour of their skin/place of birth/nationality, while others are denied this on very superficial and flimsy grounds? This is definitely not OK for me.

    Why limit creative expression and freedom at all? Someone disliked a piece of art for any reason – perfectly OK, everyone is entitled to this. But trying to force your views on other people by shaming them for following their taste? Who decides the “right” appropriation criteria? Who can claim to understand in depth and precisely the meaning of certain kind of art? Why a certain set of criteria is more suitable to an alternative one? A government body, an association sets criteria??

    The possible answers to these questions are deeply worrying, because a repressive structure of vested interests tries to present their narrow and harmful interests as supportive of and paramount to public good.

    I don’t allow appropriation blamers – generally people with dubious moral, aesthetic and intellectual principles and rather ignorant individuals as well – to dictate me what art to appreciate/interpret, in what manner exactly, how to cook, etc. These attempts are simply ridiculous and completely unacceptable in communication between adults.

  14. Enough is enough says

    To all the insane leftists out there – “cultural appropriation” is not a valid concept. It’s made-up bullshit, just like the ridiculous re-engineering of the term “racism’, to include power. You are only making tits of yourselves by going on about it.

      • Oliver says

        I have seen this sentence before and assumed that it was supposed to be an absurd sentence designed to caricature the identitarian Left’s beliefs. However, since then I learned that in postmodernist thought underlying these beliefs science, reason and logic are indeed seen as products of power used to oppress marginalized groups. So, the sentence above does not seem absurd or even exaggerated to postmodernists and the identitarian Left. They would actually agree with it.

    • peanut gallery says

      Jews were appropriating the culture of the Volk and had to be dealt with.

  15. I could understand the outrage if Oliver was ripping off the black equivalent of Shakespeare or the Sistine Chapel but why are these hissy fits always about dreck like fast food, impractical hairstyles or fucking twerking?

    It’s like the West throwing a collective strop over the Chinese knocking off baseball cards.

  16. Mark Beal says

    “Having thoroughly deconstructed our postmodern world to ensure that things fall apart (and that the centre can no longer hold), now leading voices on the left seem to search for false and virtually impossible notions of ‘authenticity.’”

    This seems to me to be an idea worthy of developing at greater length, since one of postmodernism’s key ideas was to deny notions of authenticity. What you repress will re-emerge, only in a seriously warped way.

  17. Adam says

    Has she ever been to Jamaica? I saw so many native Jamaicans selling “jerk” this and that which was NOT authentic. In fact, most Jamaicans I talked to loved that rich countries were marketing Jamaican food, authentic or not. Normal people take pride when other cultures value their culture.

  18. Joe C says

    “Cultural Appropriation” is a power play straight out of the Marxist playbook. Since it only exists in ‘white’ countries, I have to assume it’s meant to sow the seeds of division and hate. There’s no logical reason why this is being done.

  19. flyfishingnow says

    I agree with everything in the article. But the SJW will respond that it’s the “power dynamics” of the cultures involved- not the literal or objective content of the “appropriation”- that determines the validity of the “appropriation” charge. Just as “marginalized” and “silenced” POC’s “can’t really be racist,” historically “victimized” and “oppressed” communities can’t really be appropriators if they adopt cultural elements from the West. “Cultural Appropriation” (like “racism”) is a one way street- it only points a finger at white, First World people(s).
    The root problem may be the (post-modern?) idea that truth is relative, and depends on the identitarian “victim points” of the speaker. The recent critique of “Intersectionality” is thus must reading.

  20. Decent enough piece until it went Jordan Peterson bonkers talking about Zimbabwe, finishing off with this ridiculous call to arms.

    “I encourage everyone to be extremely vocal in condemning Dawn Butler, and in fighting fiercely to protect the principle of openness – to both goods and ideas – the very principle which has helped create prosperity, lifting millions upon millions of children out of abject poverty.”

    Consult a mental health professional and/or dial down the rhetoric.

      • Martin28 says

        It’s not. The author made good points about Zimbabwe. And Butler should be condemned, not generally, but specifically. This idea is dangerous and illiberal.

        • Garrett A. Danielson says

          Butler’s ideas should be condemned. People need to be able to make mistakes and allowed to change their mind. They will not do that when they are attacked. They will defend themselves and the ideas you determine to be theirs.

    • Garrett A. Danielson says

      The piece is not void of value because of an error.

  21. dirk says

    In furtherance of my remark on the CA of the Ethiopean teff grain by 2 dutchmen, history abounds with such cases of legal or illegal import of seeds or other plant material, now often called bio-pirates, but only now, with recent laws and agreements. Maybe the most famous one is the smuggling of rubber seeds from Santarém, Brazil by Sir Henry Wickham, to the British colonies in the East. Wickham got a legal export licence, but lied on the purpose of the seeds (for herbarium, not for reproduction). With great succes, production and trade in the East soon completely overshadowed the wild tapping and trade in rubber by the Brazilian collectors and exporters. In how far is this also a case of CA? Not for the 100% maybe, seeds are not a cultural attribute, but what about domesticated produce or animals? Or useful domesticated potato plants from original cultivators in Peru for breeding purposes?(more resistance against certain diseases). Another Dutchman has been encarceled in Brazil for bio-piratery (a monkey), also here, not a case of a CA of an (oppressed?) minority(the local indian tribes don’t mind, the government does) but something similar certainly.

  22. Just Me says

    I’m waiting for the Left to start denouncing the trend for tattoos as cultural appropriation.

    Often the explanation is given that “but plenty of cultures have used tattoos, they are normal there.”

    Yes, and in all of those, they had specific traditional functions and sacred meaning, they weren’t just ways to “express my individuality”.

    Now mostly white people are making a living as tattoo artists.

    Tattoos in people from cultures with no tradition of tattoing is cultural appropriation if there is such a thing…

    • dirk says

      But, Just me, in the meantime you must know, white people are by far the most crazy people on this planet. And are very happy to be so (me included).

  23. ccscientist says

    I recently went to an Indian (as in India) Bhangra dance festival at a college in New England. While most of the dancers from various colleges were Indian, many were not. Isn’t this a good thing?

    When the printing press got to Turkey the owner of the press got in some trouble with the Sultan who then banned the printing press from the entire Ottoman Empire for over 200 years. It held them back. This is what closed societies look like.

    The desire to protect aboriginal arts is simply that: protectionism. Such art is often sold as genuine, meaning the artist is in fact a member of the tribe or ethnicity in question. But for many American Indians, they are only 1/4 Indian–so how are they authentic? For others there is no paperwork to prove anything about their heritage. Once you have seen some form of art or heard music you cannot unsee it or unhear it and it may influence you.

  24. David Urquhart says

    My mom always gave me trouble for not learning a foreign language. I wish I would have known about this cultural appropriation thing back then I could have just told her learning a foreign language is cultural appropriation and not acceptable. I still don’t think that would have gotten her off my back.

  25. dirk says

    In short: openness, multiculturalism, diversity and globalism has enormous advantages, technologically, culturally and, especially, in culinary affairs, but…, but……, we should not close our eyes for the many disadvantages that certainly also play a part. That’s why , e.g.,the emperors of as well China as Japan closed their borders effectively for strange and exotic influences, but were both, in the 19th century, forced to open these borders and had to dance to the tunes of the new overseas powers.

  26. 'Cultural appropriation' forbids everything but ancestral cannibalism says

    The politician claim regarding cooking is so absurd it sounds as if it was mirroring some of her deep-seated insecurities.

    I wonder if she is not disturbed and ashamed at her own realization that she craves for white flesh…

  27. Atesx says

    How do commies do combine their ‘fight against stereotypes’ and their ‘fight against cultural appropriation’, which is basically sterotyping to the max ?

    • Oliver says

      You should ask yourself why you feel the need to mislabel your opponents as communists.

  28. Oliver says

    I am in the midst of an effort to make sense of the ethos and ideas of postmodernism as it seems to be the dominant, if not the sole, school of thought informing and guiding American academia, identitarian Left, as well as Alt-Right.

    However, I haven’t been able to find any connection whatsoever between this idea of “cultural appropriation” and postmodernist thought. I would appreciate any helpful insight.

  29. The sooner we bury that vicious notion, “cultural appropriation”, the better. It’s nothing more than yet another tool of the progressive Left to try to hamstring us into inactivity and submission.

    Following that vacuous logic, no-one should be allowed to learn French unless they could prove French ancestry.

  30. Walter says

    I had a Chinese girl friend when I was younger. She taught me how to use chopsticks. So, is it ok for me to use chopsticks? I like Chinese food, can I still go to my favorite Chinese restaurant? Or does that make me evil? Someone please tell me, before I offend some snowflake.

    • dirk says

      I never had a Chinese girlfriend Walter, but always eat my take-away chop chuey with chopsticks. Also, in Chinese restaurants I ask for kuai-ze to eat my dish (fork and knife obsolete then). They always bring them, without even a nodding or smile of recognition. What they probably think is: whatever these funny Europeans ask or want, we comply, as long as they pay and behave.

  31. Pingback: Virtuality Bites – Enlaces interesantes de la semana – antroposcopio

  32. Pingback: Virtuality Bytes – Intersting links of the week 25 August, 2018 – QUEROLUS.ORG – A DIGITAL LIFE EXPOSED

  33. Atesx says

    Both are stupid. Both are mud cesspool commies love to take bathes into.

  34. Great article, thanks. An example of Lefty bankruptcy is that same people who raise the cry of “cultural expropriation” are likely to have been “remainers” in the Brexit vote, thus illustrating the fundamental illogicality of the Left today… and why it is imploding (hopefully).

  35. Richard Wark says

    Absolutely on the money. Concerns about cultural appropriation shows a complete lack of understanding of the obvious facts that culture is a product of human communication and consequently is always in a process of change.

  36. Garrett A. Danielson says

    This is a very good article and important point to be made. Please see below a friendly critique.

    You say, “I encourage everyone to be extremely vocal in condemning Dawn Butler…”, I suggest that we should not condemn people for having bad ideas. Instead we condemn the bad ideas. Give them an opportunity to change their mind. As proponents of free thought, free speech, free trade, etc., we should promote a public conversation where participants can be wrong without being thrown from the game. If we continue maligning people for poor thinking we will see a continued entrenchment of ideas and ideologies. Just a suggestion.

Comments are closed.