Sunday, May 28, 2017

Cultural Appropriation

Beatrice Pullman: You'll be the death of me with these pancakes.
Delilah Johnson: I'm glad you finds 'em to you taste, ma'am. 
Beatrice Pullman: I've never tasted anything so good in my life. How do you make them?
Delilah Johnson: It's a secret. Them pancakes is my granny's secret. She passed it down to my mammy, and my mammy told me. But I ain't tellin' nobody. No sir.
Beatrice Pullman: I don't blame you. I wouldn't either.
Delilah Johnson: Down South, my mammy was famous for her pancakes. White folks come from miles around just to taste 'em. Yes'm. It's a secret and it's gonna die with Delilah.
--Imitation of Life

As our entitlement mindset has escalated, it was probably only a matter of time before people in one group began accusing people in other groups of 'cultural appropriation.' In this context, cultural appropriation is seen as having customs and routines 'ripped off' by people perceived as not belonging to your group. You view this as theft--them profiting at your expense.

In Portland Oregon, for example, white people who run restaurants that serve ethnic cuisines have been put on a 'white-owned appropriative restaurants' list. The list's authors use the 'white supremacist culture' moniker to accuse the restaurateurs of unjustly using, for example, Mexican recipes to produce food that customers like.

"These white-owned businesses hamper the ability of [people of color] to run successful businesses of their own by either consuming market share with their attempt at authenticity or by modifying foods to market to white palettes. Their success further perpetuates the problems stated above. It's a cyclical pattern that will require intentional behavior change to break."

Local media are embracing the 'appropriation' concept.

Boycotting white owned ethnic restaurants seems to be the preferred strategy for trying to limit the competition. Seems only a matter of time before movements to sue for intellectual property violations are conjured.

What this is really about, of course, is trying to use bigotry to one's advantage.

Unfortunately, the last thing likely to be considered by this group is head-to-head competition on the merits of product, service, and peaceful exchange.

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