If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s the idea that one culture cannot participate or experiment with another. The social justice-obsessed call doing such a thing “cultural appropriation,” which revolves around the idea that a person — especially those dastardly white people — uses an aspect of a certain culture for personal gain or fun without the express permission or guidance of someone from that culture.
Those who do engage in this “cultural appropriation” are labeled racist, publicly shamed, and figuratively tarred and feathered.
A recent example is Gordon Ramsey who dared announce his plans to open up an authentic Asian restaurant called “Lucky Cat.”
“A revolutionary new venture and concept for the group, the restaurant is set to be an authentic Asian Eating House and a vibrant late-night lounge, inspired by the drinking dens of 1930s Tokyo and the Far East,” said Ramsay’s restaurant group according to London Eater. “Just as these nocturnal clubs were once the playground of urban dwellers seeking all things spirited and rebellious, Lucky Cat has woven these notions into the fabric of Lucky Cat, as showcased in everything from the menu concept to the innovative interior design.”
The opening up of a Ramsey restaurant should usually be cause for parades down Main Street, but of course, the SJWs went into full outrage mode.
No!!! Another celeb making profits off Asian culture & food without Asians at the table! How authentic can that be?! Gordon Ramsay’s cooking up another restaurant, and some people are not quite sure how he’s going to pull this one off. https://t.co/DMi1tRCnvw # via @HPAsianVoices
— Chung Seto (@setochungster) February 7, 2019
Another one of these “cultural appropriation” outrage moments is brought to you by BuzzFeed writer Kassy Cho, who is under the impression that celebrating the lunar new year is out of the question if you’re not of that country.
(Side note: Please feel free to join my colleague Brad Slager and I in expressing our opinions about Cho’s stance.
Friendly reminder that you don't have the power to tell anybody what they can and can't do. https://t.co/4un6T9t8sh
— Brandon Morse (@TheBrandonMorse) February 7, 2019
We eagerly await Kassy's next tweet, when she declares how culturally offensive it is that more businesses and instittutions do not recognize the significance of the lunar new year. https://t.co/efU6kF1suj
— Brad Slager: aka Wuhan Solo (@MartiniShark) February 7, 2019
The fun part about culture is that it’s an idea, and ideas are meant to be shared, altered, and changed. Every culture we see today is an amalgamation of cultures that came together to form something great. To introduce that culture to another culture is where some of the greatest ideas have come from.
Texas is one such cultural stew containing Mexican, German, Native-American, and more, and now we have margarita machines and Tex-Mex.
Trying to make sure cultures are never experimented with or by others is essentially making sure that culture stays isolated. While other cultures spread and thrive, this culture will stagnate and watch as the times pass it by. Every culture evolves due to interactions with the changing world around it, and no good can come of cutting that culture off from the rest of the world in order to keep it “pure.” At best, it will become a novelty, not a driving force of thought and opinion.
All that aside, it’s important to remember that culture is a shared idea, and at the end of the day you can’t really control the ebb and flow of ideas. If people wish to study up on an aspect of a culture and use it in something they’re doing, then there is no authority that can tell a person whether or not they can have said idea. If such an idea is insulting then so be it, voice that opinion, but to attempt to control someone from utilizing the idea is absurd, and insulting toward that culture.
If tomorrow, a community of people in Japan decided to put on a Texas-style rodeo then it wouldn’t be up to me to stop them, nor would I want to. It would please me that they were so inspired by my culture that they’d wish to try it out themselves. I’m only too happy to see them doing it, even if they got some of the aspects of it wrong.
If I reacted like a self-important authority figure who demanded they shut down any attempt to participate in a part of my culture…well, I’d just look like a whiney brat.
If you’d like more of my thoughts on cultural appropriation explained to you, feel free to watch my video below.