Complaining about Cultural Appropriation Makes No Sense!


Waves, then a static crackle. A click and hum as the TV turns on. Countdown beeps. Intro jingle. 1940s announcer voice: “Good morning, and thank you for watching this emergency Public Service Announcement. Our office, the Department of Ethics, Division of Moral Clarification, has recently been beseiged with inquiries regarding ‘culutural appropriation’. This is the idea that you cannot seperate ‘making parts of other cultures your own’ from ‘making fun of another culture’. [Chime.] It’s important to follow up this noble inention with the appropriate actions, but we’re going to have to go over some of the important details before we begin. [Chime.] First, we’re going to need every person on the planet to take a blood test, to determine their genetic ancestry. [Gulp.Prick. Ouch!] We apologize for the inconvenience of the cost: at the average of $60 – $200 per test, it will take roughly $18 to $60 billion dollars just to fund that effort for 300 million Americans. [Wah-wah-waah of ironic trombone.] So, if you haven’t already, please take a DNA test to determine your genetic ancestry. [Chime.] You’ll then need to submit the official results to the new- but also, as yet, unfunded ‘Department of Cultural Registration.’ [Chime.] This department, when approved by Congress and created by the President, will require this information of every living person on the planet, and will not just maintain a registry of everyone’s genetic makeup, but will also issue the appropriate ID cards. These ID cards – augmented by the occasional biometric blood screen [“Ouch!”] will allow you to enjoy the cultural fruits of your ancestors, while preventing you from consuming anything from a different background. [Chime.] Once this new department has been created and everyone has provided the results of their ancestry test, we’ll be able to begin to restrict your intake to the appropriate – pun intended!- culture. [Chime.] For example,unless you’re at least 50% African America, you won’t be able to listen to Miles Davis or Mos Def [buzz], and unless you’re 50% or more English, you can say goodbye to the Beatles and Stones.[Buzz.] Not half or more Pueto Rican? Bid ‘adios’ to Despacito. [Buzz.] Why 50%? Well, the only bright line we could draw was ‘majority or more’ – -if at least half of your ancestors didn’t share a culture with a particular musician, you won’t be able to listen to them going forward. [Buzz.] Nor will you be able to wear the clothes [buzz], eat the cuisine, play the sports [buzz], or watch the shows [buzz] or movies [buzz] of any culture but your own. [Wah-wah-waah.] We realize you may now have some complaints about your empty music library, limited dining choices, and other restrictions [Wah-wah-waah.]- please be sure to lodge those complaints with the next person who claims a culture is being appropriated. [Chime.] Now, there is an alternative to this proposal, which, in addition to limiting everything for everyone [ding], would cost billions of dollars a year [ding], and would require the creation of the world’s largest, most privacy-invading database ever. [Ding.] The alternative proposal is really quite simple, and totally free- it’s simply to ‘review the context’. [Chime.] If someone is taking on part of another culuture in order to denigrate it, let them know that will never be OK. But, if someone is appropriating something from another culture because they like it, then be happy, because this is actually how cultures get made, and get better. [Chime.] Take the Christmas tree, for example: decorating a tree during the middle of winter was a pagan ritual appropriated by Christians. [Chime.] And now, it’s being appropriated again, from being a Christian symbol of Christmas, to being a simple symbol of hope: a tree still green, now decorated with lights, helps us all cope with the darkest and coldest days of our year. [Chime.] And just as you don’t need to be a Christian to get that hope from that symbol, you don’t need to be from a particular culture to admire and respect something enought to want to make it your own. [Chime.] After all, that is how all cultures have evolved over the course of human history. [Chime.] And we think our American culture is great in no small part because it includes cuisine [ding], music[ding], design[ding], sports[ding], and ideas [ding] from every other culture. [Chime.] If you’re still offended by this alternative solution, we have some additional questions for you: first, if you have to defend a culture from being appropriated aren’t you saying it’s a sick, weak culuture? [Wah-wah-waah.] In fact, cultures are either evolving by appropriating other cultures, [ding] or they’re being appropriated themselves, [ding] or they’re dying and belong in a museum. [Ding.] Ironically, your desire to protect a culture from appropriation is actually something that could kill it… [Wah-wah-waah.] Second, are you being truly consistent, and making sure your culture doesn’t appropriate ours? [Chime.] Beyond your hypocrisy, please note we aren’t mad if you do- when we watched Asia get into business suits and baseball, it didn’t feel like our culture was being stolen- it felt like our values were winning. [Chime.] Lastly, do you really think we should be restricted to experiencing only the culture into which we’re born? [Wah-wah-waah.] Putting peoplein cultural silos actually seems about the dumbest thing you could do, if you want all cultures to be accepted and valued. [Chime.] And let us add, when you start telling people what culture they’re a part of, the first culture they’ll reject and loathe is yours. [Wah-wah-waah.] To be clear, to everyone who hasn’t yet drunk your kool-aid, it seems you’ve invented and imaginary offense, and are trying to see it everywhere, because you want to virtue-signal victimhood. [Wah-wah-waah.] And how ironic, that your perpetual whining about nonsense like this is a direct cause of the most offensive president ever being elected. [Wah-wah-waah.] There are real injustices that require attention, and if you don’t drop this bullshit, they’ll never get it. [Chime.] So appropriate away, America! It’s something we do great, and which makes us a better country for doing it… [Chime.] The Department of Ethics, Division of Moral Clarification, appreciate your time, and your sharing this video with anyone who may need to see it. [Outro jingle.] [The TV hum stops as it clicks off.] Static crakles, then fades, leaving the sound of waves.]

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