Streetwise Professor

April 23, 2017

Cultural Appropriation: The Left’s Latest Power Through Balkanization Play

Filed under: Politics — The Professor @ 6:47 pm

The left’s newest (or one of the newest–it’s hard to keep up) Trojan Horse of tribalism is “cultural appropriation,” e.g., a white person wearing dreadlocks. To illustrate how absurd it has become, consider this article in Teen Vogue–the fact that it is in Teen Vogue also illustrates the thoroughness with which the left attempts to penetrate impressionable minds.

Silly me, but I thought that imitation was the sincerest form of flattery. That one did not want to dress like or eat like or act like or listen to the music of those one despised or detested–quite the opposite.

But no. Apparently “cultural appropriation” is an existential threat. Literally existential. It is increasingly common for college students in particular to say that witnessing an act of cultural appropriation (or hearing a contrary opinion) threatens to annihilate their existence. Annihilate.

Like all things left, this is another mechanism of social control, and a very intrusive one. About as intrusive as possible. Other people are literally telling you what you can wear, how you can style your hair, what entertainment you can enjoy. Based on their claims about the entirely subjective impact of your behavior on them.

The control mechanism works in a variety of ways. One is by creating a cultural Tower of Babel that facilitates divide and conquer.

It is also part of the weakness-is-power strategy, the left’s current preferred MO. A group claims victim status, and alleges its powerlessness at the hands of a group that it hates. Emphasizing their weakness, the aggrieved appeal to the authorities for help. The authorities, who often detest the same group, swoop in to protect the self-proclaimed defenseless victims.

This is a symbiotic relationship between the self-proclaimed marginalized and authorities in certain organizations (academia, surely, and often in government and corporations) that allows them to exercise control over a common enemy.

This helps explain the hyperbolic and hysterical nature of the complaints. “I don’t like that,” or “that hurts my feelings” are hardly grounds for exercising control over what others do or say, right down to their hairstyles. But metaphorical murder–“annihilation of existence”–warrants strenuous action by the authorities.

This trend–and sadly, it is a trend–is profoundly un-American and anti-American. For America has always been a syncretic society. Music is perhaps the best example: American popular music is a veritable Gordian Knot of intricately woven cultural strands. No, the process of amalgamation has never been smooth or easy, but the ideal that there was an American identity that integrated multiple national and cultural identities, and transcended them, made the process work better here than it has worked anywhere else ever.

If it gains traction, the idea that “cultural appropriation” is tantamount to genocide will make not only integration and amalgamation impossible, but it will even make impossible mere peaceful coexistence between disparate groups: live and let live is the antithesis of this movement. It is a recipe for conflict along national, ethnic, cultural, and racial lines. So many borders to be defended. So many existential threats. A war of all against all is the inevitable result.

But that plays right into the hands of progressives who occupy the commanding heights of our institutions, doesn’t it? After all, they must intervene in order to keep the peace. Funny how that works out, isn’t it?

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  1. Was it cultural approbation for non-Western countries to adopt Western dress?

    Comment by John Hall — April 23, 2017 @ 8:09 pm

  2. Sorry, appropriation…not approbation.

    Comment by John Hall — April 23, 2017 @ 8:09 pm

  3. I still can’t believe this “cultural appropriation” meme is a real thing, not just some joke on a satirical website.

    Comment by tegla — April 24, 2017 @ 1:21 am

  4. Anyone who writes or reads is guilty of cultural appropriation from the Sumerians and Egyptians. Hang the rascals!

    Except … from whom was hanging appropriated?

    Comment by dearieme — April 24, 2017 @ 7:27 am

  5. @derieme-Or as Elmer Fudd would say, hang the wacist wascals.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 24, 2017 @ 1:32 pm

  6. I thought the goal was to end racism. I mean, that’s my goal. But telling people that this is mine and not yours is drawing a cultural (which is really what is meant by race) hard line in the sand. I’ll just keep doing my thing and hope it doesn’t make me an evil appropriator of culture.

    Comment by Dan — April 25, 2017 @ 9:49 pm

  7. Finally some madness from the left with some good unintended consequences, I find dreadlocks (AKA Predator hair) disgusting on men and disgusting AND off putting on a girl. Did they also list as forbidden cultural appropriation those awful finely braided hairstyles (I can’t bring myself to read a Teen Vogue article)?

    Comment by Si vis pacem, para bellum — April 27, 2017 @ 1:45 am

  8. Is it permissible to eat a Philly cheese steak if you don’t come from Philly? And don’t get me started on KFC.

    Comment by noir — April 28, 2017 @ 2:37 am

  9. @noir-And what about all those people not of Irish ancestry getting falling down drunk on St. Patrick’s Day?

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 29, 2017 @ 10:00 pm

  10. I really don’t know how you put up with all the nonsense in academia. Really I don’t. It’s one thing when a bunch of kids start whining; it’s quite another when university administrators step in to ‘protect’ the wounded sensibilities of the poor lambs.
    From a sociological viewpoint, it is fascinating how this need for ‘protected space’ in academia proceeds apace as social media (espec Twitter) turns into a Hunger Games-style bully-or-be-bullied troll-yard. Two sides of the same coin?

    Comment by Simple Simon — April 30, 2017 @ 2:08 am

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