Thursday, March 17, 2016

Had to Happen: College Snowflake Whines about “Cultural Appropriation” on St. Patrick’s Day

Yes, in The Concordian (student paper of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota): a politically correct student complaining about the “cultural appropriation” of St. Patrick’s day.

First, the student, one Johnny Wagner, admits that:
Some of the greatest features of living in the United States come from the vast diversity of cultures. Many Americans are proud to live in a place where one store sells both Chinese food and pizza — both good foods, both from different cultures.
But then he turns to an arcane feminist source to get really politically correct:
Everyday Feminism Magazine offers a deeper understanding of cultural appropriation: “a particular power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group.” Basically, for there to be cultural appropriation, there must be a majority party that is taking important, celebrated aspects of another, more oppressed party. . . . When Irish people first came to the United States, especially after the potato famine, they were oppressed and marginalized by the other people who already lived here. Furthermore, most of the people who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day now do not understand its cultural significance. Thus, St. Patrick’s Day is, in fact, an example of subtle cultural appropriation.
So it doesn’t matter that the Irish have done well in America, and in no way approximate an “oppressed group.” Since they once were, they always are.

This standard, of course, makes virtually the entire population of the United States is oppressed. Everybody has ancestors who lived under oppression somewhere. Even the Pilgrims lived under religious oppression in England, so if your ancestors came over on the Mayflower, you can claim to be oppressed!
Other common examples of cultural appropriation include white people wearing cornrows or dreadlocks, and schools and football teams having offensive Native American mascots.
In the first place, real world American Indians don’t mind Indian team names. And we have seen no evidence that black people generally (as opposed to campus race hustlers) mind whites wearing dreadlocks.  In fact, real white racists would carefully avoid anything associated with black people.
Some examples of cultural appropriation had lasting, positive effects on one culture, while negatively affecting another. The best example of this is the way African American music has been taken over by white people. Many Americans mistakenly believe that Elvis Presley, “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” was the first person to produce that style of music. Rock ‘n’ Roll music, one of the most appreciated musical revolutions in history, was not invented by Elvis, though. Actually, Rock ‘n’ Roll comes originally from African American artists. Even the term “Rock ‘n’ Roll” is appropriated from African American culture — originally existing as black slang for having sex. When white people claimed Rock ‘n’ Roll, the effect on black culture was devastating in that an entire art form was stolen, and future profits went to white people instead of African Americans. The same has occurred recently with hip-hop, in that white rappers like Eminem, Macklemore, and Iggy Azalea have gained success and fame from a style of music created by black culture. In some cases, white rappers have had more success than the African American rappers who created the genre. While cultural appropriation of these genres of music has negatively affected the African Americans who were the original producers of the music, consumers of the two genres gained immense amounts of quality material.
The ignorance of history here is appalling. When Rock and Roll because wildly popular in the 1950s, it made black stars such as Fats Domino, Chuck Barry and Little Richard famous and rich. With black artists having become mainstream, music empires such as Motown and Stax Records (Memphis) blossomed.

Then there is the fact that a lot of “black music” was recorded and promoted by whites — Sam Phillips of Sun Records being the most famous example.

And some “black music” was written by whites. Elvis’ “Hound Dog” was first recorded by Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, but it was written by two white guys (Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller). Leiber and Stoller also wrote several classics for The Coasters, a black group.

Notice the irony. Traditional liberals would love the idea that blacks and whites could collaborate to produce great things. The new style politically correct leftists want racial purity — so long as it’s black racial purity.

For Wagner, it would apparently have been better if black music had been isolated on black-oriented radio stations and in venues that catered to black audiences.

Of course, when black artists perform “white music,” that might seem to be equally objectionable. Thus a black opera singer, or symphony musician, would seem to be an offender. But Wagner has an answer for that:
It is impossible for a person from an oppressed culture to practice cultural appropriation because, more times than not, oppressed people have to adopt aspects of the majority culture whether they want to or not.
Thus when whites adopt artifacts of black culture, blacks are the victim. When blacks adopt aspects of white culture, blacks are the victim.

Write that down. Whites are always the oppressor. Blacks are always the victim.

Wagner concludes:
Overall, whether one’s cultural appropriation is acceptable or not comes down to one simple question: is somebody from the culture you are appropriating offended by what you are wearing, doing or saying? If the answer is yes, then you are wrong.
But suppose the person who claims offense is a silly twit? Is any member of a supposed oppressed group (even if, like the Irish, they are not oppressed) authorized to shut up any expression they don’t like?

But then Wagner says something offensive:
St. Patrick was known for going to Ireland and converting the entire country to Catholicism, but not everybody wants to thank him for the way Catholicism controls the government and the morality of the people.
So Wagner, who has sternly lectured people about not saying things that are offensive, says something offensive to Catholics (or at least to loyal Catholics who follow Church teaching).

But that’s OK, since in the world of the politically correct, Catholics are on oppressor group, not an oppressed group. Never mind that, in the real world, Catholics have often been oppressed.

Wagner, quite simply, shows the bone-headed illogic and the nasty prejudices that characterize modern academia.

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