There seems to be a new group of people out there, and I like to call them Cultural Appropriation Warriors. These are the folks who are against cultural appropriation, or the adoption of particular cultural practices by outside groups. They feel that anything involving their own culture should never escape their own inner circle. These are some of the most close-minded people I have ever heard of.
Recently, there were particular dances and genres of music which have been inherent to people of African American culture, that created a firestorm among some of the individuals who felt that it should never leave their own cultural practices. Meaning, people of different races should not use these particular art forms in their own work. Instead of being proud, they were filled with disgust.While I can understand being upset if something of your own culture is being disrespected and made a mockery of, the notion that no one outside of one’s own race has the right to it, is simply ignorant and short-sited. How far will we take this? Should I be upset that yoga, which is inherent to my own home country of India, has been adopted by non Indian people and become a worldwide phenomenon? As I travel the world, can I not enjoy the multitude of culinary flavors? Can I not learn to cook the foods of other countries? If I am watching a traditional dance of a distinct culture, may I not choose to take interest and learn it myself? Should I never travel? Should I never teach anyone about my own culture?
These questions may seem ridiculous, but to some, it seems to be the natural course of their thought processes. One day we will wake up and just be in our own little boxes, surrounding ourselves with people who only think like us, act like us and look like us. The beauty of this world is that we are a multitude of cultures coming together, creating an amalgamation of beautiful societies. Yes, I understand there is much conflict in this world related to this as well. For now, I choose to look at the positive.
When we think of particular cultural practices, while they are often associated with a particular race or ethnicity, there is no hard line definition that it cannot be taken out of some imaginary box we put it in. In doing so, we limit the amalgamation of ours and other peoples’ cultures and don’t allow them to create a beautiful melting pot. We don’t allow diversity to flourish.
Why must we also paint ourselves and others into some preconceived portrait depicting a set stereotype. While I understand that stereotypes exist and are often true, automatically placing them on people we don’t even know is just ludicrous. We hear statements like: This person does not act black enough, not hispanic enough or not Asian enough, etc. I, myself, have been told that I do not act like an Indian guy and should do so. Sorry that I don’t clasp my hands together, bow my head and speak in an Indian accent while wearing traditional Indian garb and some sort of head dress. Surprise! Not actually sorry. If this is what you are expecting of me, then you will be sadly disappointed.
What does it even mean when telling someone that they don’t act like their race? A person is supposed to act a certain way based on their race? How about we simply act like the people we are on the inside and not base it on the color of our skin or where we come from. That sounds pretty good to me.
The people who place all of us into our own bubbles like this are the true dividers in this world. They create strife, hatred and problems where they don’t need to exist. If you feel this way; if you are against cultural appropriation, then just go back into your own solitude and isolate yourself from the rest of us as we continue to love, embrace and spread all of our cultures around the world. If you believe this is a problem, then YOU are the problem. Excuse me now, while I enjoy my Mediterranean dinner, with Italian dessert, a Mexican beer, and end my night watching a great American comedy.