Cultural Appropriation may be the single worst idea to come out of wokism.

It is cynical, divisive, and absolutely poisonous to our goal of creating a society where people from different cultures can get along.

So let's talk about it

Cultural appropriation:

If you were to ask the woke to define cultural appropriation they might say something like this:

"The exploitative use, or theft, of another cultures ideas or cultural expressions (things like dances, clothing, music, songs, slang, food, religious symbols, etc)"
Now, it's important to note that cultures borrow from each other all the time and most cultures contain elements borrowed from other cultures. That means the words "exploitation" and "theft" do a LOT of work. So lets look at whats going on under the hood here...
Remember, woke people always see themselves as "liberating" oppressed people from the powerful people who are oppressing them. So, it should come as no surprise that the woke think the "sin" in cultural appropriation has to do with the power imbalances between cultures.
To understand why power imbalances are a problem, we need to understand both

1. The woke see culture as a matter of identity, and
2. The woke see identity as a matter of epistemology.

So lets look at both of those and then talk about why power imbalances are "problematic."
When wokists say 'identity' they mean 'social identity', and because wokists think everything is political, a social identity is a political identity.
1. Your culture gives you a social identity,
2. Your social identity is a political identity

The conclusion is obvious:
The woke think the culture you are a part of produces a number of cultural artifacts which form a large portion of your social identity. Because, the woke think social identity is connected to political identity, they think all culture has a political dimension to it.
This means cultural symbols are always tied to identity politics, and the woke think politics is ALWAYS just about power: who has it, who doesn't and how it's used.

This is why activists focus on cultural symbols during protests, cultural power and identity politics:
So now we know how culture connects to identity and identity politics.

let's look at how identity connects to epistemology.

The woke hold to "standpoint" epistemology. This basically says what someone can know is a product of their position in society. What this means...
is the dominant group is only aware of the things taught by the dominant culture but groups lower on the ladder know both the culture and ways of thinking of the dominant group, AND the culture and ways of thinking of other groups.

What does that look like?
Wokists think in the U.S white people only know "white" ideas and "white" ways of understanding the world, but Black people know what "white" culture says (because they have to learn it in school) AND they know "Black" ideas and "Black" ways of understanding the world.
The result is a person who is in the dominant group (wokists almost always say that these people are straight white men) does not understand the culture of the "oppressed" groups, but the "oppressed" groups understand the dominant culture.

So lets put it together now:
The woke think you have been socialized into your culture by your culture. They also think you have been socialized by society to see yourself a certain way based on your membership in that culture. This creates your social and political identity and also determines your...
positionality: your social location in relation to other groups. Your social location forms your "standpoint," the perspective you have on the world, and determines what types of socially constructed "knowledge" you can access.

So, now that we have that...
When someone from a more powerful group uses a symbol from a less powerful group, it is seen as cultural appropriation for three reasons, all relating to power imbalances:

1. In-authenticity
2. Colonialism
3. Racism (bigotry)

Lets look at all three.
The charge of inauthentic use is related to the earlier point about dominant groups and knowledge.

Because the woke think members of the dominant group doesn't understand non-dominant groups they lack the knowledge to use the symbols correctly. They are only capable of...
imitating the real thing. Using Blues music as an example, a woke person might say a white blues player can't play real blues. Whites only play fake imitation blues which lacks the "depth" and "soul" of a person who grew up in the Black culture which produced the blues.
Our next example is colonialism. The woke would say when a person from the dominant culture uses something from the marginalized or minority culture, this the cultural equivalent of colonizing another country by stealing their crops and resources. The only difference...
is that instead of stealing crops, money, oil, and the like, the cultural colonizer steals fashion, music, poetry, and religious symbols; cultural resources. An example of this would be a white person wearing indigenous clothes to look "cool" and get clout for being "cool."
in that case the white person is taking a cultural symbol which (according to the woke) is not his in order to get clout (read, power) for himself. That is, in their view, a type of colonialism.

Let's look at the third one: racism
It is considered racist if one uses an item from another culture less powerful then themselves, when the item in question is an item taken from a culture that is despised.

For example, If a white nationalist wore dread locks, this would be considered racism because...
It would be a more powerful culture stealing an item from a culture they claim to hate as an act of supremacy. In this case, the reasons for the theft matter.

Now, I should add, many times the woke will say Inauthenticity, colonialism, and racism are all present...
those are just examples.

The point here is that in each case it is the more powerful culture taking from the less powerful culture. The power dynamic always has to be there. If a less powerful, or marginalized culture uses a more powerful cultures symbols, this is not...
considered by the woke to be "cultural appropriation."
This is because they think the dominant group forces the oppressed group to learn their way of doing things. The result is that the woke would say the dominant culture forced itself onto the other cultures. Which means...
The dominant culture can't complain about an oppressed culture using something the dominant culture forced at them or threw in their faces.

It is also legitimate for oppressed cultures to mock and ridicule sacred symbols of the dominant group. This is because...
When an oppressed group ridicules the symbols of the dominant group, even its sacred religious symbols, it's seen as an act of resistance. If the dominant group mocks the symbols of the oppressed group it's seen as an act of oppression.

Again, it's all about power dynamics.
The same is true for using cultural pieces to make a living.
The woke would say a Black person using White culture to make money is just making use of what has been forced on him in order to make the money and gain the resources to liberate himself. However....
If the culture with more power does this (suppose a white person makes money selling rap music), This is viewed as stealing an oppressed culture's avenues to equality and success in terms of money-making capacity, ability to gain status, or ability to self-define.

notice the woke view EVERYTHING through the cynical lens of power.

It is, of course, nonsense. Black and White people have always been able to exchange, share, and borrow culture in ways which are not cynical or exploitative.

Here, BB King teaches John Mayer the blues:
Here is Buddy guy, the worlds greatest living blues player, discussing why he thinks it is "stupid" to think a white person can't play blues music.
Here Dr. Dre discusses how he signed Eminem to his record label and discusses working with him. He calls people who thought Eminiem should not rap because he was "white" were racist.
In the end, the idea of cultural appropriation takes the concept of power relations, elevates them from being one consideration among many to being the central lens through which cultural borrowing is viewed. This is, of course, a huge error, as it invites us to see all...
Cultural borrowing in the most cynical way imaginable. This poisons the well of trust that we make when we exchange cultural idea, assumptions, art and fashion.

All cultures borrow from other cultures and this is an important part of how societies thrive. We should not...
Allow the well of cultural sharing to be poisoned by the cynicism of wokeness and its theory of cultural appropriation.


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