May 24, 2019

Thoughts on cultural appropriation for graduation, beyond

The Utah student rocking the qipao or cheongsam dress for a prom a couple of years ago still sticks in my mind, and other things have added to it since then, namely claims that certain foodstuffs are also cultural appropriation.

The claim is usually, though not always, raised by social justice warrior types. And it's usually an ahistorical claim that:
  • First, believes that cultural appropriation is evil, rather than simply borrowing; that
  • Second, from this, cultural appropriation (like racism) can only be done by a colonial / conquest culture; and
  • Third, within this, that it's usually done by Euro-white culture, like racism — thereby ignoring a long history of East Asian racism, Indian caste-connected racism (the Aryan conquest was 3,500 years ago, and they themselves weren't "white" by skin color anyway), and more.
Let's start with the dress.

First, the fact it has two different names should tell the SJW types they are a bit off base. (But it won't.)

Second, the fact that it was originally Manchu, not Han Chinese, should say more.

Third, the fact that it further evolved in southern China in the first half of the 20th century after the fall of the Manchus — and said further evolution happened under Western fashion influence — should say yet more.

Fourth, per all of the above, the fact that modern Chinese (other than some Chinese American SJWs) were OK with it as a prom dress, or even saluted it, should say yet more.

That said, I haven't seen European Americans of the SJW persuasion giving up ice cream et al because Marco Polo expropriated them from the Chinese. Or spaghetti because tomatoes were expropriated.

Speaking of, let's go to food.

The so-called "Columbian Exchange" went both ways. Europe got tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and maize, above all, from the Americas, and eventually, yams from sub-Saharan Africa.

BUT! The Americas got back meat livestock, wheat, dairy livestock and other things. And yams from Africa. And both Europe and the Americas got soybeans, sesame and more from East Asia.

This is cultural appropriation, SJW-ers.
So, are you going to give up that chimichanga or burrito because of the beef, or chicken, and the flour tortilla? Or if you're vegetarian, is tofu now verboten?

Do you admire Navajo rugs? Well, again, you're in trouble. While South American Indians had alpaca wool, and the Hohokam of the Gila River did have the forerunner of today's Pima cotton, the Navajos had nothing for weaving until Spanish sheep.

Or if you're Indian-American, are you going to give up any of your India-Indian foods with appropriated chiles in them? Ditto if you were a Chinese-American complaining about the qipao — have you given up your Szechuan food because of American Indian chiles?

What is mislabeled "cultural appropriation" is actually "cultural interaction."

As for the parallels with racism? As I said on a Patheos page of a secular humanist who may be a bit SJW — not all racism is "institutional," and non-institutional racism can be and has been practiced by member of any race against members of any other race. She admitted tribalism exists, but still seemed to want to hang on to the idea of almost all racism being institutional in nature. And, even if we allow for China, or Japan, being colonizers themselves, she was focused on white racism in Latin America.

Anybody who knows a lot about East Asia knows there's a shitload of racism there that originated almost entirely independently of white folks, too. (Well, other than, especially with China, some of it being directed AGAINST white folks.)

The SJWs will then say, "But Columbus passed on European diseases." That he did. Though not as a genocide. (However, wingnuts, Sir Jeffrey Amherst DID try germ warfare against Indians in 1763.) And the New World gave syphilis back.

1 comment:

paintedjaguar said...

Pretty good summmary of why "cultural appropriation", aka borrowing or cross-pollination, is one of the silliest and stupidest conceits that anyone has come up with. Go study some anthropology and history, you goons.

And about "racism": sorry guys, but you don't get to win your ideological arguments by redefining words to give you an automatic victory condition. One could hardly find a more blatant and intentional example of Orwellian NewSpeak.