When I visited Morocco in April 2016 the primary goal of salesmen and street vendors was to get us to appropriate as much of their culture as possible. They were so relentless that at times I found myself yelling at them to go away because I had already appropriated enough woven sweaters, scarfs, knives, incense, colorful pants and everything else.
Mexico is similar. All over Baja California in the city centers there are tourist shops eager to sell tourists whatever stereotypical aspect of the culture they want. Whether it’s a sombrero, a poncho, a sarape, Aztec carving, flag or whatever else. Mexicans are some of the friendliest people in the world and don’t have a problem at all with people adorning themselves with their cultural artifacts.
People who get offended by cultural appropriation are just plain wrong.
You may have heard discussions about cultural appropriation from various news sources like Vice or Buzzfeed. You may be familiar with some of the outrageous claims made by SJWs. You may have seen the videos about which Halloween costumes are offensive, how white people with dreadlocks or hoop earrings are stealing African culture, or that conservatives shouldn’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo because it’s not their holiday.
No matter what harmless thing they take issue with, the response is always guaranteed to be extremely petty and annoying. Not to mention outright fucking stupid. The fact that those offended claim to be advocates of multiculturalism is so ironic that it’s actually painful. It’s so ridiculous that it’s tempting to believe that they are a part of a conservative conspiracy to make people hate the left.
There is something crucial that the offended and accused leave out of their arguments entirely and that is how other people of other cultures actually feel about cultural appropriation. I travel a lot, it is truly one of my greatest passions in life. I have been to 13 countries so far and plan on going to more. I can at least say that if other cultures did not want people to “appropriate” their clothing, hairstyle, jewelry or whatever then they probably would not put so much work into selling those things to tourists.
People in other cultures are rarely—if ever—offended by people that want to appropriate their culture. If anything they are flattered that you are willing to dress up in their attire or do things their way. It’s not offensive to them even in the slightest. So why are there people in America that get so upset about it? I don’t have an answer for that. The only thing that I can think of is that these people are just ignorant of other cultures and people’s attitudes toward them.
Cultural appropriation really is not appropriation at all. It’s really more like sharing aspects of culture. And it is something that should be celebrated, not frowned upon.
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