Hmm, We need to talk about “Cultural Appropriation”. Consider this.
It may not always be a bad thing! In fact, it is necessary for the human experience, necessary in developing compassion, and absolutely vital for the continued progress of human beings.
Yes! I will readily admit that in this world we have completely and totally oblivious jerks out there who have no taste, no respect and no regard for the perspective of others. I’m sorry but those ass****s are bad apples we must tolerate with patience and gentle reminders, guiding them to a better and deeper understanding of others. I will also admit that it is very hard to be patient with those people and I fail nearly every time but that doesn’t mean I stop trying.
Reasons why we should encourage cultural appropriation not discourage.
1 — This is how humanity evolves. Do you eat pasta? Do you eat bread, tomatoes, and potatoes? Do you wear cotton? Do you listen to any music on the radio? Do you like art? Do you watch movies? Do you like architecture or fashion? Do you like democracy? Oooh, here’s one for you; do you have heat in your house?
Human beings develop technologies to fit their needs to their environments and then, as we travel, we take our ideas with us and we share and teach these ideas to the people we meet along the way. While at the same time, we learn from them.
If that first caveman who made fire hadn’t shared his knowledge with others would we be sitting in our climate controlled buildings today? If the Russian immigrants hadn’t brought the Russian Winter Wheat what bread would be eating? If the ancient Greeks hadn’t written down their ideas and mechanisms for democracy what kind of country would we be living in today?
2 — People suck — They do. I’m sorry. Just reading news stories, scrolling through Facebook, or watching the news you see numerous reasons why people can be crappy intolerant butt-heads to each other and that is truly depressing.
THERE IS HOPE!
There’s that adage “before you judge, walk a mile in my shoes”. Well, guess what!? That’s what teaches our children tolerance, respect, compassion, and love for each other as human beings. If you want compassion and understanding from others you have to give it as well. You need to teach it even when you really don’t want to.
3 — SHARING IS IMPORTANT!
Sharing your experiences, your culture, your family, your love, your time, your consideration. That is what makes others more understanding and caring individuals. We don’t gain anything by being isolationists. We don’t gain anything by drawing a circle in the sand and saying “this is mine, you keep out”. By doing so, you cheat yourself out of experiencing the beautiful things other people have to offer. And you cheat them of the opportunity to learn and understand you.
4 — I grew up a musician. I’m a historian. I’m an artist. I see the richness of the world around me and if that inspires me, if another cultural touches my soul, then why can I not share that experience? It could reach across the divides society puts between us and start to build bridges of compassion with each other. If your first reaction to something is to identify it “cultural appropriation” challenge yourself to look at it deeper for a moment. Is it really? Is it someone experiencing a different cultural and learning about it? Or is it someone being a total insensitive d**k? Consider them fairly with your consideration and compassion before you label them as you fear they are labeling you.
5 — This is may be just me and I get that but…why are people so willing to put themselves inside a box? Why are we so willing to wear titles? I am woman, a mother, musician, artist, historian, but most importantly I am A HUMAN BEING that happens to live in the United States. The genetic ancestry I inherited makes me a very pale figure.
Is that all I am?
I’m a woman and a mother, so I am incapable of liking or understanding how a car works? I live in the U.S., so I can’t appreciate music from another country? I am very pale, so does this mean that I am incapable of understanding the tragedy of racism.
6 — We have brains and we have hearts. When did we forget how to use them?
We are capable of understanding. We are capable of learning. When did we stop expecting people to use those gifts?
7 — Open yourself up. You may find an unexpected ally, a friend, a lover, or a partner. Don’t shut yourself off from people. Share your experience. Share your feelings. Talk openly and honestly. Be open to compromise and negotiation. Have conversations, not arguments or debates. This universe is bigger than any of us as individuals.
8 — Expect more from others and yourself
Again, I readily admit that this is all easier said than done. I fail on a regular basis but that doesn’t mean I abandon the efforts. I try. Imagine what this world could be if we embraced each other instead of shoving each other into boxes different from our own?
Indulge me for a moment while I try to convince you that I am not one of those insensitive ass****s. Let me tell you a story.
We received a grant to create an exhibit about the African-American experience in early Oklahoma. We did this because: 1 It’s important, 2 It’s important, 3 It hadn’t been told before, and 4 It’s important.
It is a valuable and necessary part of our history, one that has been forgotten or overlooked by museums and historians. I received several inquiries about the exhibit and people were shocked that I was white. My question to them always was, “Is it a good exhibit? Is the story told honest and truthful? And does it really matter what color my hair or eyes are? Is this not ultimately a human experience we are telling?”
Every person has limits, I do, certainly. I will always look the way I do but does my genetics limit what I can do or what I can learn or what I can enjoy or appreciate. It shouldn’t. It shouldn’t for me. It shouldn’t for you. It shouldn’t for our children and it shouldn’t for any person out there willing to be open to new things. If we teach our children to be open and respectful of others, then hopefully, they won’t grow up to be disrespectful butt-heads who use cultural identities or appearances as the punch line of a joke.
How can you tell if a blonde has been using the computer?
There’s white out all over the screen.