Cultural Inappropriation


Or ” How to be politically correct so that everyone sees you doing it…”

The question of cultural appropriation is a hot topic right now amongst people who have not got any other topics in the oven. In some cases the intellectual Aga is turned up to gas mark 9 and smoke is billowing out of the doors. The odd thing is that the people cooking up the controversy are not turning off the fuel supply, smothering the flames, or opening up the social window to let the smell out. In fact I think they are loving it…

I have probably not encountered enough of these arguments to say that I have seen all the parties involved – I avoid a lot of television and motion pictures because of a religious belief that watching them will make me feel sad. But I do see ideas as they pass in review on the internet and I suspect that the complainants in this case are people who want to complain. And that if they were not complaining about someone wearing an Indian…oops, sorry, Red Indian…oops, sorry…North American Indian…oops, sorry…North American aboriginal…oops, sorry…First nation…

O0ps be damned. I can’t keep up with the Newspeak. A feather war-bonnet. A Hissaboo hat.

Well, if anyone other than Sitting Bull is seen to wear one, there is an almighty kerfuffle that cultural appropriation is taking place. I was going to say that the complainers will complain like the haters will hate, and the basis upon which they grizzle is highly skewed. None of them make a fuss when the cultures that are being appropriated appropriate culture from the cultures that are supposedly appropriating. Or in other words there is no culturally sensitive tit for emotionally supportive tat.

Mind you, there seems to be a great deal of tat for tat. The magnificent, noble, and put upon natives – whether they are Sioux or Suomi – are going off to Big W and Walmart and buying the worst of the ugly no-fashion garments invented by cosmopolitan culture and wearing that. And should be as roundly condemned for their lack of taste as the urban customers.  If they would like us to step out of the buckskins and beads we can, but they should also be encouraged to doff the hoodies and Ed Roth tee shirts.

There may also be an underlying feeling amongst people in some ethnic groups that they are ever so much better culturally than other ethnic groups and no melding can take place. They then squawk if they are not allowed to meld elsewhere as they see fit. They cite democracy in one direction but practise hypocrisy in another.

I personally believe we should wear what we like, like what we wear, and look upon others with tolerance. With the exception of 92% of cheap tee shirts sold at hot rod shows, Nazi regalia, and things that tourists wear, nearly everything else is fine. If a garment fits badly it is a greater punishment to those inside it than those outside it, and the distress can be terminated at the end of the day with a pair of scissors or a lawn mower. No clothing or colour or fabric is exclusive or inimical to any one group of people. If the cap fits…and it is cold and you are getting bald…wear it.

I know a number of other people who look even better than I do who think the same. They dress well and they draw their idea of style from many places and many peoples. And they do great honour to those places and peoples.

Heading image: Jane The Model in a dress from Rajasthan. The parasols are from there as well. She owns twenty of them and is looking for buyers. If you ever had an ambition to be Mary Poppins, contact me and I’ll email you her number.

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