Cultural Appropriation is Bullshit?

McWhorter, John. “You can’t ‘Steal’ a Cultural: In a Defense of Cultural Appropriation” theDailyBeast., 15 July 2015. web. 11 August 2015.

There is a difference between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation, but is cultural appropriation a big deal? In the article “You can’t ‘Steal’ a Cultural: In Defense of Cultural Appropriation” by John McWhorter, he explains how it is not possible to “steal” a culture. I find that argument weak and ignorant.

McWhorter gives an example on why cultural appropriation is not actually “stealing” by describing the situation between white gay men and black women. He is stating that white gay men are not stealing their identities or making them any less of a black women by imitating their gestures and expressions arguing with gay white men and black women, for example, it’s not as if the black women are being left without their culture after the “theft,” or as if gay white men are somehow out there “out-blacking” the women they “stole” from”. Although, the example is true about not really stealing the identity of the women, it is disrespectful. A culture is not something to use because someone thinks it’s fun to “imitate”. A culture is something sacred to a group of people and by “stealing” it, they are taking advantage and mocking a culture for their own entertainment purposes.

McWhorter describes how America has the reputation for being influenced by minority culture, and it is normal for white men and women to use it for themselves. He argues that culture has always been shared by using Elvis Presley as an example. Elvis Presley was influenced by African american music and became an american icon. McWhorter writes “But beware any idea that stories like that mean that whites imitating brown people is, fundamentally, wrong and that whites’ job is to somehow pass by minority cultures with some form of what is sometimes termed “respect,” whatever that would mean in practice” which is stating that white people should not have to give respect to minorities if they want to imitate their culture, because he does not think it is a big deal. His argument is ignorant in the fact that minorities are already oppressed and by not respecting their culture the oppression is deepened. Credit needs to be given where credit is due and if it has influenced, whether it be in the media or an art form culture is a way of life to a group of people not for more minority oppression.

The article helped me realize that people can be very ignorant when it comes to culture appropriation. The person who wrote this is clearly taking this lightly, because he thinks culture appropriation is not stealing a person’s identity or who they are. McWorter is not seeing the issue on minority oppression that still comes with culture appropriation.

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One Response to Cultural Appropriation is Bullshit?

  1. Robert

    I understand what you’re trying to saying but reading the actual post was weird. I would probably have to read the article first to understand your post better. McWorter needs to educate himself though. He needs to understand what culture appropriation is, like I did myself. In fact, I think a lot of people probably don’t really understand culture appropriation and would benefit from learning what it really is.

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