Daryl Hall has a message for critics crying cultural appropriation: “Shut the f*ck up” – Salon.com

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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60 Responses

  1. Avatar Zac Black says:

    Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go listen to “Rich Girl”.Report

  2. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Much of it is academic.

    Well, then they should go back to school. Academia? Now, there’s a hotbed of idiocy.

    Uhhh, Daryl? More schoolin aint gonna help those folks. It’ll only make things worse.Report

  3. Avatar greginak says:

    Dude is angry….a real Maneater.Report

  4. Avatar Damon says:

    Best line ever used to tell someone to stay out of something that isn’t their business.

    “Shut the F*uck up”. Sadly I don’t use it enough.Report

  5. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I’m not sure he really understands what concerns about cultural appropriation are rooted in, though it is possible the criticisms he is receiving support his (mis)understanding.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:

      Im not sure most of the people leveling charge of cultural appropriation really understand it themselves, or they level the charge based upon thin evidence.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        A fair point.

        I actually think it is rare that an individual is “guilty” of cultural appropriation.

        To use what might feel like an “obvious” example, let’s discuss white rappers. Rap is undoubtedly a musical genre that emanated from Black folks, whether you trace its roots through the Caribbean or the streets of NYC; there is no doubt where it came from. Does that mean it must remain exclusively Black? I don’t know that I’ve ever seen someone seriously advance that position (which doesn’t mean certain folks don’t hold it… only that it is an extreme and minority position that has yet to receive much traction). And yet there are concerns about whether an artist like Macklemore is engaging in cultural appropriation. And while Macklemore isn’t without his faults (musically OR his place in the culture), much of the issues that arise from white rappers (or other potential perpetrators of cultural appropriation) are not due to the rappers themselves but the broader cultural response. When Macklemore wins a Grammy despite critical consensus noting multiple albums vastly superior to his and race seems to have played a part, we have issues. When people think Elvis invented rock-and-roll, we have issues. That isn’t necessarily Macklemore or Elvis’s fault… they very well might just be indulging in the music they were surrounded by and enjoyed… but collectively we have a tendency to not notice things until certain folks do them and then attribute them to those folks, ignoring the contributions of others and further perpetuating all the underlying crap that got us there.

        But most people seem to land on, “That white guy is doing something Black people usually do… CULTURAL APPROPRIATION!” which does indeed seem to miss the point.Report

        • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy says:

          So what makes someone “guilty” of cultural appropriation? And if so, what is the penalty?Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme says:

            As I said, I don’t think individuals can really engage in cultural appropriation. I think it is a phenomenon that does exist and with real potential for harm, but it is really hard to assign individual culpability.Report

            • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Kazzy says:

              Individuals can absolutely engage in cultural appropriation, but the sorts of cases where that charge can really stick make it feel pretty silly to worry about Macklemore. Take, for a particularly egregious example, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. They were the first Jazz group to ever release a commercial recording. They were also a group of white musicians from New Orleans who shamelessly copied more talented Black musicians from NO while loudly insisting that the negroes had nothing to do with their music and that they came up with the style on their own. Per @notme I don’t think there’s any particular punishment available, but good lord does this make them assholes.Report

            • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Kazzy says:

              Cultural appropriation in the music industry isn’t Daryl Hall singing soul or ZZ Top playing blues. It’s record labels pushing to the street the black artists who were pushing the boundaries of their craft – then bringing in white artists to give rote performances of the exact same music, without the same creative impulse.

              I think that by Daryl Hall’s time, it had become less of an issue – the real abuses were pre-1970.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to El Muneco says:

                I think that by Daryl Hall’s time, it had become less of an issue – the real abuses were pre-1970.

                Yeah, like I said below, the music industry utterly failed to rewrite the history of rap in the 80s and 90s. They tried desperately to make that non-black, and completely failed.

                The industry is still a bunch of racist(1) idiots, don’t get me wrong, poised and ready to shower praise on white artists that recreate what black artists did a decade earlier.

                They just can’t seem to get the *public* to go along with it.

                1) And misogynist, but that’s a whole different thing.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC says:

                I learned that the term “cover band” dates back to when rock and roll was segregated.

                An awesome song gets released by some black artists and radio won’t play it because, tah-dah, the artists are black. But people keep calling in and requesting the song.

                When the people keep yelling for “Sh-boom”, you just *KNOW* you’re leaving money on the table by not playing it. But you can’t play it, because The Chords are black.

                So you get some white guys to sing the song and be white on the cover of the album… thus allowing the song to be played on white radio.

                A “cover” band.

                Life could be a dream.Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to Kazzy says:

          When Macklemore wins a Grammy despite critical consensus noting multiple albums vastly superior to his and race seems to have played a part, we have issues.

          Yes. The issue is that the Grammy’s are stupid and they’ve pretty much always been so. The list of Best New Artist winners is a notorious list of has beens and never weres. And start thinking of classic albums and then go see what won the Best Album Grammy that year in the relevant category. Chances are it’s embarrassing. If these guys can barely get pop right, what makes us think that they are going to get genres like rap right. Y’all re!ember the Jethro Tull Grammy, right?

          Recognition is nice and I’m sure plenty of artists like and appreciate accolades, but unless you are a certain kind if recording artist, one who goes by the label recording artist, Im not sure the prospect of a Grammy is what gets you into the studio.

          As a lifelong fan of rap music, I would expect Grammy voters to pick Macklemore over HK,MC. But to me it’s Kendrick Lamar that lends credibility to the Grammys and not the other way around.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to j r says:

            @j-r

            I should have elaborated a bit because the Grammys indeed are terrible at making the “right” choice. That is why I included the conditional “and race was a factor”.

            I know people who think Eminem brought rap to the mainstream. This is factually incorrect. Eminem MIGHT have brought rap into view for a certain segment of society who was otherwise ignorant of rap… but that isn’t making it mainstream. But the problem there isn’t Eminem… it is those people. That is what I was trying to get at.Report

        • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Kazzy says:

          This is how I often hear the problem described, and it leads me to ask the question, Is the person engaged in the “appropriation” ever actually the problem? Because every example I’ve seen where there was actually arguable harm done to the appropriatee has been something done by people other than the appropriator. It makes me question the usefulness of the terminology.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

            I think we tend to want to blame/shame someone and the person engaged in the behavior tends to be an easy target. And in at least some instances, these people are often front and center saying, “Why are y’all paying attention to me? This thing has existed for a long time.” Folks who can and should be part of the “solution” are often labeled the problem.

            So, yea, the dreadlocks conversation? I really don’t know the answer to that and generally reserve judgement.

            There are elements of my personal identity that could easily be identified as “borrowed” from ‘Black culture’. But I came of age in the 90’s and went to a middle and high school that were predominantly Black and Hispanic. “Borrowed” or “appropriated” implies a certain degree of intent and consciousness. The reality is I absorbed these things as they were omnipresent in the waters I swam in. But if you looked at me — especially me at certain periods in my life! — you could easily dismiss me as some sort of appropriating fool.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:

              This. For a charge of cultural appropriation against an individual to have merit, you need to have a real solid understanding of that person’s background. Perhaps the kid with dreadlocks grew up in a place where dreadlocks were just part of the local culture.

              If you don’t know, you need to shut the fuck up.

              (that’s a general admonishment, not aimed at you Kazzy).Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Hey. HEY! POWERS THAT BE! Oscar told me to shut the fuck up. Which was not only offensive, but PROBABLY appropriated someone else.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Ideally, we’d have space for cultures to blend and intermingle and for cultural exchange to flourish in a way that is respectful and reciprocal. So when people are admonished for exploring a foreign (to them) culture, I think we are often being counter productive. It is a two way street… “cultural tourism” can be noxious in all sorts of ways but so can some sort of exclusivity wherein everyone has to stay in their box. The real problems arise when cultural roots are ignored or written out of history.Report

            • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Kazzy says:

              This is another thing that strikes me about the cultural appropriation discussion, though: there’s a lot of emphasis put on what it isn’t or whether or not some particular infraction is forgivable, but very little discussion of what cultural appropriation actually is and why some of those infractions actually require forgiveness.

              I guess my question is, if those cultural bits you refer to weren’t something that you grew up with but rather something you came into later in life, would your apparent transgression have become a real one, and what would it have been exactly? It’s one thing to say somebody gets a pass because of X, Y or Z, but what I’m trying to get at is why the people who don’t get a pass don’t get a pass.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                @troublesome-frog

                I think it depends. If I came to rap music in my 30s, my relationship with it would be almost necessarily different than it did having grown up immersed in it.

                I’m not the cultural appropriation expert, but I think an inherent part of it is some level of dishonesty or misrepresentation. So if I got hooked on hip hop now but somehow carried myself as if I grew up with it, there’d be something amiss. Maybe it’d be cultural appropriation and maybe not… other factors also matter.

                As to who gets a pass and who doesn’t, that is probably as likely a result of misguided critics as it is misguided targets of that criticism.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Cultural appropriation seems to be tied intimately with the whole “my identity is tied into the products I consume” thing.

                “Can you believe that jerkface? Wearing a Coca-Cola shirt?”

                A few years back, there was the Old Navy Kids commercial that was based on a cheer.

                https://youtu.be/mS_fc5XVjkc

                It played on Cartoon Network all the time that year. (shudder)

                One day it hit me and I asked my friend who is a librarian in an elementary school if she ever heard her kids yell something like “HOW CUTE ARE THESE BOOTS?” and she immediately yelled back at me “I LOVE MY COMFY SWEATER”.

                Apparently, the girls started each morning by doing this cheer together. There was an incident where the popular girls tried to keep the unpopular girls from doing the cheer. The administration had to say something like “everybody who wants to do the cheer can get to do the cheer or nobody gets to do the cheer”.

                “Cultural appropriation” strikes me a lot like the popular girls saying “YOU CAN’T DO THIS CHEER” to the unpopular girls.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kazzy says:

          White rappers are an interesting group. There have been comparatively few break out white hip hop artists from when rap grew big. Many were regarded as jokes even when popular like Vanilla Ice or Marky Mark and others were one hit wonders like House of Pain. The lasting ones either came across as more authentic and underprivileged like Eminem or did their own think like Beastie Boys.Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to Kazzy says:

          Don Zeko:
          Individuals can absolutely engage in cultural appropriation, but the sorts of cases where that charge can really stick make it feel pretty silly to worry about Macklemore. Take, for a particularly egregious example, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. They were the first Jazz group to ever release a commercial recording. They were also a group of white musicians from New Orleans who shamelessly copied more talented Black musicians from NO while loudly insisting that the negroes had nothing to do with their music and that they came up with the style on their own. Per @notme I don’t think there’s any particular punishment available, but good lord does this make them assholes.

          That’s not cultural appropriation. That’s being fishing assholes.

          Music is a terrible example to bring to the table, as anyone that’s ever learned how to play certain styles of music influenced by blues and jazz can tell you.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        My favorite example comes from “Your Fave Is Problematic“.

        It involved the cultural appropriation involved in white people visiting India wearing vermilion in their hair. It turned out that the people had gone to a wedding and part of the cultural practice in this part of India was that all guests get to take the vermilion. (That is to say, it’d be like someone in India complaining that Indian visitors to a wedding in the US were culturally appropriating by doing the chicken dance at the reception.)

        More recently, there was the “dreadlocks are appropriation” incident where… well, you can watch it here.

        Don’t get me wrong! I hate white people with dreadlocks as much as anybody! More so! I just think that having a multicultural society comes with costs and those costs include different people trying on different types of clothing and, yes, hairstyles and fighting against people trying on different types of clothing and, yes, hairstyles is… well, there are a lot of things that it doesn’t take into consideration and, as it usually plays out, comes across as fairly incoherent.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

          But if I hate on white dudes with dreadlocks then I might be seen as hating the entire concept of dreadlocks and since black people sometimes have dreadlocks it’s like I’m hating on black people stuff and that’s raaaaaaaaaaaaacist

          So there has to be an objective reason why I think white dudes with dreadlocks look dumb, because that lets me safely have my comforting hateful feelings without having to worry that they’re transitive to things it’s Wrong To Hate.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

          In those rare moments when I consider that Trump being a democratic plant is plausible I sometimes think that appropriation theory is something conservatives invented and planted to make liberals look like idiots, impede multiculturalism and try and drive the next generation back to conservatism.Report

  6. I used to hang out at a place where cultural appropriation was roundly despised.

    It was rec.arts.sf.written, and the issue was mainstream books and films that would grab SF tropes, make a complete hash of them, and turn that into huge commercial success. (And yes, George Lucas, I’m looking at you.)Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      It isn’t cultural appropriation unless the author was an oppressed minority,and the work was populated with oppressed minority characters. And Hollywood whitewashed it all (e.g. All You Need Is Kill, and that hash of a Tom Cruise vehicle).Report

      • Does spending much of your life at a typewriter, barely making a living at a cent a word, while some talentless hack makes millions ripping your stuff off without even a credit count as oppression?Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          Well I think it means you are oppressed by the publishing industry, but that’s just me.

          And besides, Amazon has made it possible to be moderately successful without the help of the publishing industry.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          Who would you credit for a trope? It seems to me that the essence of the complaint here is that Lucas and other directors of mass-market science fiction films did the same thing niche science fiction writers had been doing for decades (recycling tropes), but did so in a way they found esthetically inferior but had greater mass appeal. If you want to take the esthetic high ground instead of pandering to the masses, more power to you, but it doesn’t put you in a good position to complain about the fact that the guy who gave the masses what they wanted had greater commercial success.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      Even after high school, the jocks always win.Report

    • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      And then deny that they’d made a hash out of it, because their work didn’t have rocket ships in it, so it wasn’t science fiction. (Yay, I dragged Atwood into two threads within a week!)Report

  7. Avatar Will H. says:

    To the victor goes the spoils.
    Same as it ever was.Report

  8. Avatar DavidTC says:

    As I’ve said before on this top, most claims of cultural appropriation are gibberish. And it’s mixing quite a few different ideas together so there’s always something to be offended about.

    There are a few legitimate *bad things* that ‘cultural appropriation’ can be talking about, although the term is so damaged it’d probably be best to start over:

    1) The constant outright conversion of black music into music that is ‘safe’ for whites, rewriting history about who invented it. It is, indeed, a historic crime…but here’s the thing: I’m not sure it works anymore. I mean, it actually *didn’t* work for rap, and that was back in the 80s.

    Here, the problem is, essentially, theft. It’s taking without credit. And I’m not sure we really need some special term for this…there’s a whole class of ‘denying black people any of their accomplishments in the history books’, and music and a few other cultural things are just one aspect of it.

    2) Just out and racism of various cultural institutions, where white people are still getting awarded for things over black people for no obvious reason. WTF this has to do with the term ‘cultural appropriation’ is anyone’s guess, and we’d probably be better off if we just said ‘The Grammys and Emmys and most awards are given out by a bunch of blatant racists’ instead of yammering about ‘cultural appropriation’.

    3) Disrespecting another culture by *misusing* things that have specific rules attached to them in that culture. The thing is, Western culture has very few things that are ‘sacred’, and I don’t mean that in just the religious sense. ‘sacred’ can just mean ‘set aside’.

    In other cultures, there are things that are *specifically* for certain circumstances, and it’s pretty offensive when Westerners just wander over and start doing them.

    It would be the same as random culture deciding (To pick a few random things that we *sorta* think are sacred-ish.) to wear US military uniforms because they think they look cool, or dress as a priest and run around baptizing people at a water park.

    Here, the problem isn’t theft, it’s misuse. It’s probably *is* credited….it’s just *you’re doing it wrong*.

    No one would have a problem if they *made a movie* with actors wearing US military uniforms because they are pretending to be in the military. Well…almost no one…there are idiots who think any representation is disrespectful. Except:

    4) Constantly being so bad at representing a group that it *does* become disrespectful. I.e., there’s a difference between a movie in some other country that screws up US military ranks, and almost every depiction of the US military in that country’s media showing them engaged in cannibalism.

    And this, while sometimes *called* ‘cultural appropriation’, but is actually just stereotyping.

    These are the *reasonable* complaints that people have that appear under ‘cultural appropriation’, despite that term being kinda dumb and rendering us completely unable to figure out *which* specific complaint they have. You will notice that these definitions do not cover 99% of food, or 99% of dress, or 99% of…anything.

    Additionally, a lot of complete bullshit is also called ‘cultural appropriation’.

    Discussing the ethics of ‘cultural appropriation’ are about the same as discussing the legal aspects of ‘intellectual property’…you’re talking about a whole bunch of almost-completely unrelated things, including probably a bunch of things that actually *don’t* belong under the banner but people insist they do.Report

    • Avatar El Muneco in reply to DavidTC says:

      I think that #3 can be extended a bit. There are the things that are contextual within the culture, and used by outsiders outside that context. And then there’s something that’s kind of the reverse – something that’s fairly ordinary within the culture but is kind of fetishized by outsiders. The difference between wearing a kilt because it’s hot outside and the kilt is better-looking than walking shorts – and wearing it as a kind of cosplay. In the former, you’re integrating it, the latter is more appropriating it – it’s not really a part of who you are.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to El Muneco says:

        And then there’s something that’s kind of the reverse – something that’s fairly ordinary within the culture but is kind of fetishized by outsiders.

        Well, yes, that thing exists, but I’m not sure if it’s anything to worry about.

        The difference between wearing a kilt because it’s hot outside and the kilt is better-looking than walking shorts – and wearing it as a kind of cosplay. In the former, you’re integrating it, the latter is more appropriating it – it’s not really a part of who you are.

        The word ‘appropriating’ is entirely meaningless. Meaning #1 is the only thing that could actually be truly defined as ‘appropriation’, as in, something was used without credit the source.

        In fact, the word ‘appropriation’ there is backwards…taking something that another culture wears as normal dress, and wearing it as normal dress in a different culture, is basically ‘appropriating’ it, as in, using it without credit.

        Whereas wearing it *to dress up as someone in that culture*, which you and I agree is a bit more problematic, isn’t ‘appropriation’ at all…you’re giving *full credit* to the correct culture. If someone’s dressing up as someone’s culture, and everyone knows it, they literally haven’t *appropriated* anything, no matter how much people want to use that word. ‘Appropriation’ requires some sort of *theft*, and, as there are no *legal* restrictions on someone’s culture, the only sort of theft we can be taking about here is the moral theft of ‘not giving credit’. (Which was the *original* idea behind that phrase.)

        This is part of the reason why the term ‘cultural appropriation’ is so completely idiotic, in that it can literally be used to mean the opposite thing of what ‘appropriation’ actually is.

        The problem with cosplaying as some other culture is that it almost always involves *stereotyping*, to almost the level of parody, that culture, not that you’re taking credit for their stuff. All bad things!=cultural appropriation

        That said, ‘fetishizing’ does not have to involve that, and all ‘styles’ basically involve ‘fetishizing’ in some sense. People dress how they think other people dress, and this idea of how they dress can be right or wrong, that there doesn’t appear to be any intended *or* actual harm from this.

        However, there *does* appear to be a lot of actual harm from trying to *police* that sort of thing, like that article we had a while back when we talking about this, by that Japanese-American woman who was running around a) judging everyone who wasn’t Japanese-American but worn a kimono, and b) judging everyone who was judging *her* for not looking Japanese-American enough to ‘legitimately’ wear a kimono. (And completely ignoring the obvious hypocrisy.)Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to DavidTC says:

      What do you think that other cultures have that is sacred in the sense of being set aside that Western cultures lack?Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I don’t think we *lack* it per se, it’s just pretty rare. And I’m not entirely sure if it’s the western world that generally doesn’t have much of it, or just America.

        But here’s an example of things we don’t do: Wear fake military or civilian medals. Perfectly *legal*, but we’d get pretty annoyed if we went to Japan and they were wearing fake American Medal of Honors because the wearer thought Americans were cool.

        Granted, the Japanese wouldn’t do that, because that’s basically a *universal* ‘sacred’ thing. The entire *point* of issuing ‘Thing indicating respect for you by society that you wear’ is obviously that only people who have been issued it are supposed to wear it, duh. It’s kinda stupid if anyone can do it. (Although a lot of people seem to want to argue the point WRT Native American headdresses. Which are, in fact, fricking military/civilian honors, and no, you can’t wear one!)

        N-word privileges, in a weird way, are sacred…only certain people have them. This is something that actually *does* trip other cultures up.

        Actual *religious rites* tend to be treated as such, even by non-believers. Even atheists would be dubious about participating in a secular event that had a baptism or a menorah lighting or whatever clearly modeled off a religious ceremony. (Not as some sort of Satanic parody, but by some random person who didn’t know anything about the religion but thought the ceremony looked neat.)

        Or are you asking what these sacred things are in other cultures?

        Sometimes that’s hard to tell, actually. The Bindi (The red forehead dot) has actually been claimed to that, because it *is* for certain cultures, with specific religious meaning…but it’s *not* for other cultures, so it tends to turn into this whole thing when non-Asian people wear it, where some people are outraged because ‘The Bindi means X’, and other people, who have been wearing it all their life and immigrated from a place where everyone wore it say, ‘Uh, no it doesn’t. It’s just makeup.’

        Likewise, there are a lot of quasi-religious things that supposedly have religious meaning (And thus would be wrong for someone to do who didn’t beleive that.), but in reality end up being mostly secular even in the culture they’re from. The Mexican Day of the Dead, for example, or the Chinese New Year.

        Of course, in America, we’ve decided to have these fights *internally*. We don’t care that Japan celebrates some of the secular aspects of Christmas without following or sometimes even understanding the religious aspects of it…we’re too busy complaining *we’re* doing that!

        And sometimes this ‘sacredness’ claim is just completely wrongheaded complaint by people who don’t actually understand the culture they’re ‘defending’. As I pointed out in the kimono article, kimonos literally have *no* special cultural or religious meaning, and thus objecting to a random American wearing one is akin to objecting to a random South African wearing a Mets t-shirt.

        Actually, maybe it’s not that we have *less* ‘sacred’ things…it’s just I know and understand what sort of things *we* aren’t allowed to do without being jerkasses, whereas when I hear the rules of other cultures, I remember them as something specific.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Dia De Los Muertos is pretty much the only actual example of cultural appropriation I can imagine. Despite what Americans do, it is in no way “Mexican Halloween”. In the context of the culture, Americans wearing skull face-paint and getting drunk on that day is like if, say, Mexicans dressed up like Rambo and got drunk on Memorial Day.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck says:

          Despite what Americans do, it is in no way “Mexican Halloween”.

          It seems very odd that Americans turn that into an identical holiday taking place at an identical time. Why? What the hell is the point of that? Why are you wearing skull face-paint and celebrating ‘Mexican Halloween’ instead of wearing skull face-paint and celebrating *actual* Halloween, which is also happening right now?

          It’s just completely baffling.

          See, but that actually ties into the fact that the *real* issue with a lot of supposed ‘cultural appropriation’…it’s not that people are doing it, it’s that they are doing it blatantly wrong and often stereotypical ways.

          Would people actually complain if, every November 1, a bunch of non-Hispanic Americans sat down and celebrated the life of any recently deceased? If people set up little altars to remember them? Would Hispanic people say ‘No! We have the copyright on a day scheduled to remember the dead each year, you must only remember the dead at their funerals! And Memorial Day, but only if they died in a war! And also New Years, but that’s different enough to not infringe on our copyright.’

          Of course no. No one would complain if people in American started *actually following cultural practices* of somewhere else in a generally correct and respectful way.(1)

          The problem is…that usually *isn’t* how Americans do it. Often, there’s just the thinnest trapping of original thing, outside a nice meaty core of cultural stereotypes and almost parody: Mexican Halloween! They dress mostly as skeletons! Herp Derp!

          1) Barring some sort of *religious* objection, or something that I, for lack of better word, call ‘sacred’, as in, something set apart that not everyone (Even in their own culture) is allowed to participate in. But as I said, the Day of the Dead isn’t really religious per-se, and there’s no religious rules about who can *participate* in it.

          Mexicans dressed up like Rambo and got drunk on Memorial Day.

          To be fair to hypothetical Mexicans, getting drunk on Memorial Day is probably correctly observing the holiday.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to DavidTC says:

            Isn’t Day of the Dead a syncretic observance of All Saint’s Day and Meso-American indigenous customs?

            Isn’t Halloween a syncretic observance of All Saint’s Day and Northern European indigenous customs?

            Heck, aren’t the Big Two Christian holidays syncretic observances of Christian theological milestones and Roman/Germanic pre-Christian customs centered around the Vernal Equinox and Winter Solstice?Report

  9. Avatar Dave says:

    LeeEsq:
    Even after high school, the jocks always win.

    If only because no one wants to culturally appropriate bro-dude-ism.Report