is cultural appropriation a thing?


There is this post that has got me thinking on why we have people all over the place complaining about cultural appropriation.

I think we have real problems than worrying damage that would come about if some white fellow started adorning a Luo head gear or playing nyatiti for that matter. What does it matter really? Are these real world problems? Have we solved all the problems that what is now left is arguments on who should wear dreadlocks and who shouldn’t?

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

60 thoughts on “is cultural appropriation a thing?

  1. Ron says:

    It’s only a problem for the terminally bored and the current prime minister of Canada. Or as the second respondent (Coel) in the linked article opined:

    The phrase that comes to mind is “First World problems”. Anyone who has so little wrong with their life, that they have to make an issue “cultural appropriation” to complain about is an over-privileged spoilt brat. People who were actually “oppressed” would have genuine greivances [sic] to complain about.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. mugo says:

    I’ve always found that idea of culture being a kind of real estate to which groups of people are entitled to be troubling. It’s a vital part of what it means to be a cultural and traditional society and yet it seems to me the false premise on which most race theory is based. And how should we distinguish between appropriation and homage? Mind-reading?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. kiabooks says:

    Cultural Appropriation is just another made up term to imply racism where none exists or is being expressed. Another way the “Victims” can claim to be victimized. Total bs

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Eric Alagan says:

    Deflect the attention of the gullible, while we rape earth’s resources.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Whenever someone tells me I’m fat, I simply say, “Hey, I’m just appropriating Santa culture, so bugger off!” Too many people have too much time on their hands and sit around making shit up to get outraged over. Everything and everybody has to have some sort of specific label nowadays, too. Someone asked me the other day if I was a “cis” white male, and I almost punched his lights out. “No, I’m not a sissy, brother,” I said. “Oh, no, that’s not what “cis” white male means,” he said. “It means your a straight white male who was born that way.” How absolutely friggin’ ridiculous is that! “Cis” white male my fat, Santa-appropriated, white ass. Really, too many people with too much time = utterly ridiculous, useless, time-wasting nonsense like this crap being made up. STOP!! Please! STOP!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • basenjibrian says:

      You just need to become an activist in the Fat Acceptance Movement. After all, 350 pound people are HEALTHY, dammit. Even if they can barely walk down the fashion show runway because they are so obese and their (healthy!) joints can’t work properly.

      There are also now addict pride movements, schizophrenic acceptance groups, alcoholic support groups on line. Everyone is PROUD, I tell you, or their participation in a group! Group identity is ALL!

      Heck, I am an antisocial solitary plump guy! There has to be a PRIDE group for us misanthropes!

      Like

    • makagutu says:

      You really should have punched the daylight out of that fellow.
      There is already too many causes to be angry about that we don’t need new ones at the moment

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s mind-boggling, really. The other day I mentioned to someone I really liked the Marvel movie, Captain Marvel and was attacked! “You’re an SJW, a woke, liberal. femanazi idiot! That movie HATES white men!” What in fuck’s name does any of that shit mean, and what the fuck does it have to do with me enjoying a god damned super hero movie? We live truly in ridiculous times. And I, for one, am truly sick of fucking idiotic labels being tossed around by both people on the left and the right. STOP!!! Please!!! JUST STOP!!! (Rant over.)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Swarn Gill says:

    I wrote about this topic…damn almost 2 years ago to the day…lol

    https://cloakunfurled.com/2017/10/11/thoughts-on-cultural-appropriation/

    I’m not sure if you read it, but it sums up my thoughts. I think there are true examples of cultural appropriation, and I also think that the whole idea has a lot more nuance than the black and white way it is approached today. Overall the whole dreadlocks thing is ridiculous and I can’t see that as cultural appropriation in anyway. If we pit this against let’s say white musicians co-opting the music of African-Americans without giving them credit and reaping in the benefits of the popularity while the actual originator of the song or musical piece remains in anonymity I think there are some clear differences.

    Liked by 2 people

    • basenjibrian says:

      But what about black musicians “appropriating” classical Western pieces? The news articles on these musicians always burble about how positive this is (and I certainly agree, but isn’t this “cultural appropriation”?)

      It’s yet again more purity policing. What liberal or leftist candidate can even pass the every more finely grained purity standards of the modern Social Justice Warrior left? Very few. And meanwhile, the right has no problem supporting pedophiles and rapists.

      Liked by 1 person

    • basenjibrian says:

      There are many, many examples of musicians appropriating songs or pieces. It is not always about “race”. It’s resources, connections, superficial attractiveness of the singer, and yes, sometimes race. Very complicated.

      Like

    • makagutu says:

      I don’t think I saw it back then.
      I wouldn’t call even that cultural appropriation but something about intellectual property rights or something. If I copy beats- they belong to no one in particular. I could mention if I want to. If I borrow a song and don’t credit the source, that, I think is theft.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Swarn Gill says:

        There is no question it is theft as well, but the music African-Americans created here in the U.S. was also part of their culture. Even if white people had credited the black people who made the music the white musicians were the ones who benefited. Popular white musicians made it appear as if they were the originators of a particular musical style.

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          those are just thieves. maybe they can argue they popularized the music but this could be because they had a larger and ready audience

          Like

          • Swarn Gill says:

            In many cases it’s what made them popular.

            And to me that’s what legitimate cultural appropriation is. Theft from another a culture.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Here, I think we both agree

            Liked by 1 person

          • Swarn Gill says:

            And just to be clear, I think that for most contexts in which cultural appropriation is used today, I think that it actually worsens racial and cultural divides. While we might find some genuine cases of cultural appropriation, those instances are conflated with so many non-instances that it becomes difficult to take the notion seriously. I think it’s a notion that should be taken seriously when it actually happens. In most instances, it’s not happening, and we are discouraging people from admiring other cultures.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Again, I agree with you here Swarn.
            Last I heard were people taking issue over Halloween costume. I think this is trying to offend offense where none really exist

            Liked by 1 person

          • Swarn Gill says:

            The Halloween thing is interesting though. I while back somebody suggested I grow a beard (which I can do quickly lol) and wear a turban and go as a traditional Sikh for Halloween. Even though I am not religious in any way, I felt it disrespectful to dress like that as a costume. And I guess I would feel it was disrespectful for someone to do the same. At the same time if they were dressing up as a specific Sikh from a movie (not that there are many famous ones in movies lol) I would feel like they were trying to dress as a specific character so that wouldn’t be as bad to me. Either way, I feel like we can navigate this space more civilly and have conversation over getting outraged and shaming people.

            Interestingly I would feel less offended if a bearded guy just decided to wear a turban one day to try it out then if he wore at as a costume for Halloween.

            It’s a muddy space to be sure. lol

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Would you dress as a Jesuit priest for Halloween?

            Like

          • Swarn Gill says:

            No I would not. But if I was trying to dress as a specific Jesuit priest from some movie, I would think that’s okay. I may have only watched one movie with Jesuit priests though. lol

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            A Elvis Presley?

            Like

          • Swarn Gill says:

            Yes. Although I’ve never been an Elvis, or rhinestone fan. lol

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            I find this interesting.
            I think I would dress up as a priest- for the fun of it- but then, I don’t remember doing any of it except when I was in drama many years back

            Like

          • Swarn Gill says:

            I’m certainly not saying my sensibility is correct here, just reporting how I feel and how that guides my sensibilities. I’m certainly not going to lose my shit over somebody who doesn’t share my sensibilities and wants to dress as a jesuit priest. lol

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            I understand that Swarn. It is so evident you don’t like creating offense

            Liked by 1 person

          • Swarn Gill says:

            I’m definitely not a provocateur!

            I also don’t offend easily. And while I think that sometimes you have to offend people, doing it through costume seems unproductive. lol

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Generally, don’t take offence easily but I can easily be a provocateur.

            Like

  7. Excellent editorial. It’s understandable, I suppose, that people feel threatened when their cultural identity is overshadowed by the majority. It’s a natural reaction. For me – as a first generation Italian-American – it’s quite repulsive to see so many people enjoy commercial “pizza” which is nothing more than a big nasty cracker with tons of ketchup, cheap processed “cheese,” and overloaded with fatty disgusting “meat” thrown on top. My ancestors are turning over in their graves…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Barry says:

    As Swarn Gill says above, the whole idea has a lot more nuance than the black and white. I will take the promptings of the affected culture as to whether or not cultural appropriation has taken place. Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, it’s a topic that comes up not infrequently.

    For example there are situations where the wearing or displaying of Tā moko is cultural appropriation and other situations where it is not. This should be determined by Māori. It’s not my place as a Pākehā to decide.

    The haka is performed by all sections of NZ society, and in a way, one could say that it has been gifted to the nation by Māori. However, one must be mindful of its mana (spiritual value) when it is performed. I have seen examples where it most definitely has been appropriated instead of being appreciated, and is quite offensive.

    If a culture is offended by the inappropriate use of something that is seen as culturally important to them, then it’s a clear case of cultural appropriation in my mind. Of course, what is appropriate and what is inappropriate needs to be clarified in open and sensitive dialogue. Ultimately there are no hard and fast rules.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. jilldennison says:

    I don’t know the answer, but … remember that old saying that, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”? As you say, I think we have far bigger problems to worry about than this. But, my take is that … what does it matter? Can’t we all just live in peace and harmony, putting aside prejudices and such? Sigh. My next life is going to be as a wolf. I’m done with people.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      You would be a beautiful she-wolf 🙂
      I think we should not try to create offense where there is none. There are far too greater problems facing us that complaining about hairstyles does look to me as a joke.
      Where I draw the line is someone patenting say a dress of the eskimo as their invention. That is just theft. Intellectual theft.

      Like

We sure would love to hear your comments, compliments and thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s