Wednesday, September 30, 2015


There's a nasty notion, popular now, so popular there is a NYTimes editorial about it, on "appropriation."

The author, Parul Sehgal doesn't come out strongly against appropriation, but it's pretty clear by how she frames the issue that she thinks that appropriation is only something white people do - white people stealing from people of color:
We sometimes describe this mingling as ‘‘cross-pollination’’ or ‘‘cross-fertilization’’ — benign, bucolic metaphors that obscure the force of these encounters. When we wish to speak more plainly, we talk of ‘‘appropriation’’ — a word now associated with the white Western world’s co-opting of minority cultures. And this year — these past several months alone — there has been plenty of talk. In film, there was the outcry over the casting of the blonde Emma Stone as the part-Chinese Hawaiian heroine of Cameron Crowe’s ‘‘Aloha.’’ In music, Miley Cyrus wore dreadlock extensions while hosting the V.M.A.s and drew accusations of essentially performing in blackface — and not for the first time. In literature, there was the discovery that Michael Derrick Hudson, a white poet, had been published in this year’s Best American Poetry anthology under a Chinese pseudonym. In fashion, there was the odd attempt to rebrand cornrows as a Caucasian style — a ‘‘favorite resort hair look,’’ according to Elle. And floating above it all has been Rachel Dolezal, the presiding spirit of the phenomenon, the white former N.A.A.C.P. chapter president who remains serenely and implacably convinced of her blackness.
Culture is fluid and ethnicity is fluid and anybody who is anti-appropriation must explain why it's a horror for some white girl to wear cornrows but jazz is OK. Jazz was created when African Americans "appropriated" European marching band instruments.

The anti-appropriation view is anti-art and anti-cosmopolitan for the sake of cultural and ethnic purity. 

Apparently some people have forgotten what happens when a nation becomes obsessed with ethnic purity.