Category Archives: cultural appropriation

NPR: Cultural appropriation is “indefensible”

 We’ve talked a lot on this site about “cultural appropriation,” whose definition is amorphous but roughly corresponds to one culture adopting aspects of another’s.  But the term usually has a pejorative connotation—that is, such appropriation is deemed harmful and unethical to the culture that’s “appropriated”. And that is the subject of an essay by K. […]

Is just quoting Beyoncé a form of cultural appropriation?

You know the answer to the question above. According to Black Lives Matter, it’s a strong “YES!”, although nobody would have batted an eyelash about this five years ago. What happened in March is that Niki Ashton, a New Democratic Party member of the Canadian Parliament, emitted a tweet announcing that she was going to […]

Kenan Malik: more on cultural appropriation

Yesterday I highlighted Kenan Malik’s take on cultural appropriation (he dislikes those who police it) as well as some of the pushback he got from Culture Warriors. Grania pointed out that Maliks has issued a series of tw**ts asking critics of c.a. some pointed questions. Those who are quick to deny others the right to […]

Kenan Malik defends cultural appropriation, gets demonized

British writer Kenan Malik, whom I like, has just waded into shark-filled waters in his short New York Times essay: “In defense of cultural appropriation.” Most of the “appropriation” he describes isn’t repugnant to many of us: the controversy about a white woman’s painting of Emmett Till, a black teenager murdered by Southern racists; Lionel Shriver’s assertion […]

Spy novel author advised by an editor not to create black characters because he is white

This story  was reported in the BBC,  but verified by the Guardian and the Torygraph. It’s another example of so-called cultural appropriation, and an example that is risible. It involves Anthony Horowitz, an author of spy and mystery novels and a screenwriter who is well regarded, at least in some quarters, for he has an OBE. I […]

Insane political correctness: snowflakes urge destruction of Emmett Till painting

If you know about the civil rights struggle in the U.S., you’ll know the story of Emmett Till. An African-American boy from near Chicago, Till, aged 14, went to visit relatives in Mississippi in 1955. There he was falsely accused of whistling at and flirting with a white woman. (It’s recently come to light that she […]

U. Mass. Amherst creates “scream meter” to measure levels of offensiveness of Halloween costumes

This is how far it’s gone. As Business Insider and Campus Reform report, the Halloween Costume Police have gotten out of hand, and of course it’s at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where they simply cannot let people be adults and make their own decisions. Both articles appear to be the same, so I’ll […]

Musical “Aida” canceled because racial balance of cast not achievable

No, not the opera Aida, but a musical by Tim Rice and Elton John based on Verdi’s masterpiece. The reporting on this incident at the University of Bristol, by the Torygraph, is a bit confusing, but apparently the musical was cancelled over a student protest about “cultural appropriation”.  It was, though, justa threatened appropriation: the possibility that, due […]

Adam Kirsch on writing and cultural appropriation

Just to show how ridiculous is the claim that writers should generally avoid producing fiction about “marginalized groups” unless they belong to those groups (see here, here and here re the Lionel Shriver affair), have a butcher’s at a new kerfuffle: that involving “Elena Ferrante,” an Italian author of wildly popular novels, especially the “Neapolitan Novels”, a series […]