Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Cultural appropriation

It's a funny term, cultural appropriation.

To start with, the word "appropriation" implies that something has been taken from its original owner, thus depriving them of its use.   The use of force or other coercion is implied and it's therefore generally considered to be an undesirable thing to do.

The term "cultural appropriation", however, is used in the context of observing a different culture, and incorporating those aspects that you like into your own.  No force, or theft is involved, and the act is voluntary.  The donor culture loses nothing except whatever exclusivity it might have had to the idea.  The word "appropriation" is inaccurate.

There are countless examples of course, but the one that springs to mind is the near-universal adoption of the Arabic numerals 1,2,3... that replaced the Roman ones.  The Arabic system is more concise and lends itself much better to arithmetic and maths; where would we be without it?

Yet there are some people who argue, for example, that one is obliged to immerse oneself in the history of the Chinese nation before having the right to pop out for a Chinese take-away.  Or that white people shouldn't wear dreadlocks.  Lunacy.  Sorry, kids, you have to learn the history of the Middle East before you can learn to write numbers and do maths.

Anyway, here's a bit of cultural appropriation that tickled my fancy.  Rillettes are a traditional food associated with Le Mans, and made, I believe, by prolonged boiling of meat.  Thai style?  Actually I enjoyed them, but they're not what I would describe as Thai.


James Higham said...

French will do for me.

Helen Devries said...

Marine Le Pen won't like it...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...