Thursday, May 3, 2018

Cultural Appropriation: What Is It, Does It Matter

The other day, we had another public outcry of cultural appropriation. This one was aimed at a teenager who wore a Chinese-style dress to prom. The allegation was crap as is the idea of cultural appropriation generally. So why is this even a thing? You might find this interesting.

Cultural appropriation is the idea pimped by racist minorities (mainly blacks) and progressive whites that somehow the things minorities do a lot are unique to them and cannot be done by others of another race. Things that have been considered cultural appropriation include whites wearing dreadlocks, whites wearing scarves on their heads, whites singing "like blacks," whites selling tacos, whites wearing African colored clothes, the "word" nigga, tribal tattoos, white actors in minority roles, and other dipshitery.

Is cultural appropriation legitimate? Ha. Hardly. First of all, anything that grants rights to people based on race is racist and immoral. Secondly, almost none of this stuff actually comes exclusively from minority culture. Indeed, black thugs may wear bandanas on their heads, but so have European and Chinese peasants way back to the Dark Ages. Not to mention, if we're going to play this game then whites have a lot of things they can claim minorities should not be allowed to do. Even worse, if we took this seriously, it would destroy minorities in this country when whites stopped buying Chinese food, sushi, books about foreign cultures, black music or black films.

So why do people make this idiotic claim? Well, some portion are just ardent racists. They want the world broken into competing racist camps because they hate Western culture and this is the only way they can fight that which everyone else loves. It won't surprise you to know that a sizeable number of these racists are "progressive" whites. Others accept this idea because they are retarded follower-sheep who spout whatever politically correct crap is in fashion. These are the people who typically don't even understand what is appropriation and they just scream whenever they see white person + something identifiably minority. This is where the dress crowd came from. They had no clue what was supposed to be wrong with her wearing the dress, they just knew it had elements that might somehow allow them to whine, so they screamed bloody murder... just in case.

But neither of those groups really drives this. So what really drives it?


Cultural appropriation is basically about black economic power. It is an attempt to keep whites out of the black economy. This is why it really has taken hold most strongly in the music world. As whites have learned to rap and sing in similar tones and timbers and phonics as blacks, black artists have come to realize that they are in danger of losing their white audiences to these white artists. The result is that rappers like Iggy Azalea have been savagely attacked for "sounding black," as have pop stars like Mehgan Trainor and Bebe Rexa and others. Each has been attacked as racist and not legitimate because they are whites who "sound black." Why? As I said, they represent the destruction of a black music monopoly, and if they succeed, history suggests that blacks will be pushed out. So they scream cultural appropriation and hope to make it toxic for whites to compete on similar terms.

Even things like the hair issues have economic roots. If whites adopt things like dreadlocks, white hair dressers will begin to treat these things. That again means competition from whites for something that is basically a black monopoly. I can tell you that, right now, blacks get ripped off when it comes to hair care. If blacks can start to go anywhere, the monopoly will crack. What about "black" clothing? It probably won't surprise you that there are black companies that cater to black-culture clothing. FUBU comes to mind. If African-style clothing gets the melting pot makeover (i.e. gets Americanized and genericized like sushi or pizza), then the ability to sell "authentic" cultural clothing gets washed away by the mass market. In each case, something that is a niche that provides blacks with economic power would be destroyed if whites could move into the market. Screaming cultural appropriation, i.e. racism, is the tactic being used to keep whites out.

In fact, let me toss this in there. There are black groups in big cities who are fighting (to the point of using terrorist tactics) to stop whites from moving into black neighborhoods. Indeed, there was a fascinating article about this in the LA Times last month. Some liberal whites were trying to open coffee shops and things like that on the edges of black neighborhoods and these "activists" were destroying their shops and threatening their employees to keep them out because if they got a foothold in the neighborhood, then the neighborhood would be gentrified by other whites and the activists didn't want the whites competing with the black economy already there. They too called this a version of cultural appropriation... and (stupidly) genocide.

This is what really seems to be going on. Whites are encroaching upon the black economy and the cry of cultural appropriation seems to be the tactic used to keep whites out. This just happens to dovetail beautifully with the desires of the racists to separate everyone and the politically correct who wet themselves whenever race comes up even if they don't know why. That's why I don't think this charge will go away any time soon, i.e. because it's too useful to too many.

That said, I don't think it works ultimately. Where there is money, people will follow. And as each month seems to see more whites moving into rap or adopting tiny parts of things they like from black culture, it is inevitable that all of this will get the melting pot treatment.


Anthony said...

Cultural appropriation is a BS concept and its ridiculous that a bunch of idiots online have gone after that girl but I disagree with much of your analysis.

I remember three decades ago when Vanilla Ice was a big source of derision/controversy (way before the term cultural appropriation was coined IIRC). Pretty soon everybody successful enough started doing stuff he was ridiculed for (acting, the soundtracks to kids' movies and what have you) and of a course a good sized chunk of white rappers successfully followed him, none of whom attracted anywhere near as much controversy.

I don't know about the terrorism you reference in California (missed that article), but broadly speaking, whining about cultural appropriation tends to be from losers with too much time on their hands rather than artists/businesspeople trying to preserve their markets.

Along those lines I remember when rappers collaborating with non-blacks or non-rappers was a big deal, but now its something everyone does. The only color that matters in the industry is green.

AndrewPrice said...

Hi Anthony. Just a couple points.

1. People are capable of more than one motivation. But the driving force here is fear that whites will encroach upon the black economy.

2. Your argument completely ignores the massive amount of time spent on this issue, particularly in the music industry. This isn't some off the cuff thing, it's a massive push that has gone on for several years now and is quite brutal to any artist who gets tagged as an appropriator.

3. Working with non-blacks is not at all the same thing as those groups are not competitors. They are a temporary cross-over who then retreat back to wherever they came from. They don't stay and they don't try to provide black sounding music.

4. Vanilla Ice is not a competitor and was never accused of cultural appropriation because he didn't sound at all black. He was a white douche bag rapper. The new crop, the one that raises the ire, sounds black.

5. The terrorism is things like breaking windows, setting fires, beating up employees and threatening employees and owners. It was in the LA Times. The particular article was about attempts to drive out a progressive coffee shop for fear that it would attract whites.

Anthony said...


1. It's true that people can have more than one motivation but I think cultural pride isn't driven by economics. I'm not saying no one in the pop culture industry suffers from that fear but it's usually whining from failures and academics. Most rappers especially the successful ones are happy to work with whoever. For example Iggy Azalea released her first record through TI's record company.

2. I am sure the whining is ongoing but it's meaningless. Non-black rappers are more numerous than ever, more popular than ever and having more success than ever.

3. I agree. My point is just that rappers working with outsiders was a big deal a few decades ago whereas nowadays it's par for the course.

4. Vanilla Ice was accused of going where he didn't belong and amassing success only because of his race. Not very different from what the new crop faces. Nowadays rap is much more mainstream and established (concerns about 'keeping it real' have largely been set aside) and is a global phenomena.

5. Yup, that's terrorism.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, On the LA stuff, I think it's amazing that these people are so opposed to "gentrification." These are generally destroyed neighborhoods that get rebuilt and the people doing it bring with them jobs and better services.

If someone was going to tell me that they wanted to clean up my mom's neighborhood, make it safer, give her a lot more services and stores to choose from, and give her a better chance of finding a job, I would be thrilled... not incensed.

I think it really shows how messed up they are that this is how their minds work.

As an aside, on point 3, I think the fact that it is becoming par for the course is why the cultural appropriation scream has come up. If it was still just one or two random white singers and they were viewed as novelty acts (Vanilla Ice), there wouldn't be anything to worry about. But with it becoming normal, that raises the economic issue I'm talking about.

Critch said...

So every time I see some urban youth wearing bib overalls I can tell that he is appropriating our culture here in the Ozark...well, now I have a mission.

Rustbelt said...

Anthony and Andrew, I agree and disagree with both of you.
First, Vanilla Ice was too much of a douche *** for anyone of any skin tone to want to have anything to do with him. (Rumor has it much money has been spent on uncovering DNA evidence that he is related to anything that isn't human.)
And second, Mr. Ice HAS been legitimately accused of appropriation- and by that I mean stealing from other white guys. The Truth: "Ice, Ice, Baby" is a total ripoff of "Under Pressure" by Bowie and Queen.

[***- NSFW due to language)

In Sports...
-It's raining in Kentucky as I write this before the Derby.
-The NHL has me more greatly appreciating CFB's zero tolerance targeting rule following the Tom Wilson Affair. It only took three incidents of severely injuring opposing players in just 9 playoff games (CBJ's Alexander Wennberg- concussion; PGH's Brian Dumoulin- concussion; PGH's Zach Aston-Reese- concussion/broken jaw/out for season), before the goon FINALLY got a 3-game suspension.
I don't know what was worse: Wilson's a**h***ry, (which includes his laughing on the bench as Aston-Reese lied face down in a pool of his own blood), or the NHL doing everything it could to justify his play as 'clean hits' until the coverage threatened to become a PR nightmare.
-Some nutball member of the Canadian Senate now says American announcers are ruining pro hockey with their (I guess) more straightforward commentary. What exactly is in a can of Molson's that causes such thinking, anyway?

And in the world of Geekdom...
-A new 'Masters of the Universe' movie may be underway. Okay, decent. It's also reported that Prince Adam and Skeletor may be somehow related.!
-BTW, I also found this great documentary on the story of Tetris! (or, as I call it, when communists became capitalists)

Rustbelt said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention...
The latest statue removal meant to cleanse our society form the evils of the past and please our snowflake social justice warriors occurred last week on Pittsburgh's Forbes Avenue a block from the Carnegie Museum.
Finally, a city crew removed the statue of that worse-than-Hitler cultural appropriator Stephen Foster. You see, Foster's statue came with a secondary figure of a black guy with a banjo ('cause, you know, that song that's not taught anymore in schools anymore because it's so vile and evil and American), symbolizing his inspirations. BUT THAT'S EVIL! APPROPRIATOR! GOODBYE!

You know, I remember reading about when Elvis was accused of stealing music from blacks. The accusation prompted a retaliation from James Brown, who called the accusation nonsense. He declared Elvis to be an integrator because of his style, not a thief. How things change...

tryanmax said...

You beat me to it, but the concepts of "cultural appropriation" and "gentrification" are basically the same thing.

One thing you didn't touch on is the counterargument to the claim that minorities "appropriate" white things all the time. The ready-made retort is that this is assimilation with the term having negative connotation. In this view, assimilation is imposed upon the minority, forcing them to give up their own culture. So, ultimately appropriation and assimilation team up to become an unfalsifiable theory.

Anthony said...


I agree arguments about cultural appropriation are old wine in a new bottle. Versions of that argument have been circulating since back when jazz was the most popular form of music.

I'd say such arguments are on weaker grounds than ever because the market is both huge and remarkably broad. All sorts of people are into all sorts of things (there isn't one type of reader or tv watcher or gamer or music fan) and most fans just enjoy what they enjoy without worrying too much about what everyone else is doing and most artists just try to figure out how to get more fans.

There are a sizable minority of people that love to argue about the meaning and importance of various trends, and the internet facilitates such debates, but such people should not be confused with the majority.

AndrewPrice said...

Good luck on your mission, Critch! LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, It kills me that he used that song.

On the Elvis thing, the narrative liberals accept is that Elvis stole his music from blacks and then made it acceptable for white kids to listen to black music through whites. That's not at all accurate, but it's what they want to believe.

BTW, do you know who originally sang "Blue Berry Hill"? It wasn't Fats Domino. It was Gene Autry. So a lot of the idea that these songs were black is BS. And music has always been fluid between races and cultures.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Exactly. It's the perfect untouchable argument. Heads I win, tails you lose.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, It's definitely not a majority position or it would matter more. Right now, it's simply a very loud argument because the ability to scream racism is fading fast and the encroachment of whites on these areas is an economic danger.

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