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December 12, 2013

Cultural Appropriation in the News

Last week the Blog Princess, ever on the alert for Every Day Otherism, alerted the assembled villainry to a heinous blot on the glorious and enlightened regime of tolerance and multicultural bonhomie that is Obama's Amerikkka:

Cultural appropriation refers to picking and choosing elements of a culture by a member of another culture without permission. This includes traditional knowledge, religious symbols, artifacts or any other unauthorized use of cultural practice or ideation.

Apparently, the problem of cultural appropriation is far worse than we suspected. It turns out that even non-Whites can be found guilty by virtue of Insufficient Blackaliciousness:

Administrators at a private liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts are being accused of canceling a Halloween concert last month because the lead singer of the band was “not black enough.”

In a letter to Jonathan Lash, president of Hampshire College, the American Civil Liberties Union criticized the school’s decision to cancel the event, saying it was clearly race-based, according to Campus Reform.

“The genesis of the decision, as you know rested on the accusation that this afro-funk band had insufficient representation of people of color,” the letter read.

Michelle Obama hits hubby with death glare seen around the world

The band is called “Shokazoba,” and it specializes in Afrobeat music style, according to MassLive, a local online publication which recently obtained the ACLU’s letter.

MassLive reported that the performance “was canceled after some students voiced concerns that the band, which has a black singer but is predominantly white, was appropriating black music.”

ACLU official William Newman did state in the letter that the band was accused of cultural appropriation and misappropriation, and called for an apology.

This is puzzling to us. Exactly how Black does a person have to be to be judged Authentically African-Amerikkkan? Is there a mathemagical formula?

Our President is half-white, but identifies with only half of his genetic and cultural heritage. Is he guilty of cultural appropriation? Enquiring minds want to know.

And what about these guys? How does race tie into a centuries-old tradition of borrowing and building upon the achievements of The Other (you know, that whole thing we call "civilization")?

In the twentieth century, Charles Ives made extensive use of borrowed materials that included hymns, songs, ragtime, college songs and patriotic songs.315 Bartok, Grieg, Glinka, Kodály, Vaughan Williams, Falla and Moussorgsky were enormously influenced by folk music316 and Richard Strauss by Liszt.317 Gershwin borrowed from blues and other African American-derived musical forms,318 Villa-Lobos from Brazilian popular music and Schoenberg and Bernstein from Jewish scales and motifs.319 Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Webern composed works that were recompositions of existing works that imposed a new, post-tonal music structure on an existing tonal model.320 Similarly, Alban Berg borrowed in the final adagio of his “Violin Concerto,” a chorale from J.S. Bach, incorporating the Bach chorale into his 12-tone model.321 Wuorinen’s 1988 piece “Machault Mon Chou” borrowed material from a fourteenth century mass by Guillaume de Machault.322 Respighi’s “The Birds” “almost note-for-note paraphrases keyboard pieces from the 17th and 18th centuries.”323 Mahler borrowed from his “Songs of the Wayfarer” for his “Symphony No. 1,”324 while Aaron Copland’s “Symphony No. 3” was partially based on his “Fanfare for the Common Man.”325 Shostakovich quotes from the Rossini opera William Tell in his “Symphony No. 15” from 1971,326 while Rachmaninoff borrowed a theme from Paganini,327 and Puccini borrowed from the “Star-Spangled Banner” and Japanese music for his opera Madama Butterfly.328

Some of the most sublime works in human history are the result of just the sort of "cultural appropriation" that landed Katy Perry in hot water.

And here we thought the whole point of multiculturalism was to encourage the acceptance, appreciation, and ... dare we say it?... blending of disparate cultural influences. We can't help but wonder... did the enlightened folks at Apple obtain cultural permission before making this monstrosity?

To shield ourselves from accusations of second-hand cultural appropriation, the Blog Princess has no choice but to proactively denounce those of you who have lined the pockets of Known Appropriators and Capitalist Running Pig-Dogs by purchasing iPhone 5s. Your unauthorized cultural-appropriation-by-extension makes us sick.


Posted by Cassandra at December 12, 2013 07:25 AM

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Separating the races: Old Racism
Blending the races: New Racism

Please update your scorecards accordingly.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at December 12, 2013 10:47 AM

This is what bothers me so much about all the progressive racism/sexism/Otherism BS - it encourages groups of people to keep score and nurse grievances.

We already have trouble understanding other people's viewpoints. All of us do. I love my husband dearly, but I am often completely mystified by the way he sees things. And the thing is, he's not wrong - his experience of the world is different than mine in many ways.

I happen to disagree with some of the conclusions he draws about certain things, but we both make the effort to step outside our own view of the world and try to imagine how things seem to the other person. That's how people learn to get along and minimize their differences.

So much of progressive dogma seems intentionally designed to make people hate, fear, or resent others, all the while claiming to do the opposite.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 12, 2013 11:46 AM

We have reached the cul-de-sac of progressive multi-cultural thinking. Wait a minute I think I just misappropriated something.

Oh well. I guess fusion restaurants are the new KKK, and I would suppose speaking more than one language is verboten.

Dammit, I did it again, I renounce myself. Hello, my name is Allen, I am a cultural criminal.

Posted by: Allen at December 12, 2013 10:01 PM

This entire discussion is both sad and pathetic. I distinctly recall great men saying unambiguously:
- that all men were created equal
(way back in the day, when 'men' was used generically for all people)
- [a person] ought to be judged on they're character (plus actions/behavior)
Please pardon the paraphrase, and the lack of ref to scripture.

I am soo disappointed by those that claim to be supporting racial (plus whatever) 'equality' saying things that are obviously driven by racial animus or preference.

Very Best Regards,

Posted by: CAPT Mike at December 12, 2013 11:08 PM