Considering the controversial comments Lena Dunham has made recently, I think it’s time I took my stand. For too long, I’ve been taking comments about cultural appropriation simply because I like foreign food (particularly food from China, Japan and south-east Asia). Let’s explore that statement for a minute.
First and foremost, what the actual hell is “cultural appropriation”? According to http:www.racerelations.about.com/, Cultural Appropriation is “The most simple definition of cultural appropriation is that it occurs when members of a dominant culture borrow from the cultures of minority groups without their input”. This means when I use anything from another culture, even in the way that the original culture uses it in respect, I am guilty and therefore racist.
I am NOT racist. Not in the slightest. I’m not going to use the “I have friends of colour” argument because frankly, that smacks of 19th Century British Imperialism and I despise the argument anyway. So let me put this simply for you. I have the same point of view as Fred Rogers. For me, there is no difference between man, woman, gay, straight, Jew, Gentile, White or people of colour. We all bleed the same blood, drink the same water, and frankly, it’s a damn shame we don’t see more people of colour in British media (be that TV, Radio or otherwise).
I use a Japanese nod when paying respect, whether meeting new people, attending a memorial service or simply meeting with my friends. It’s used in the traditional Japanese way, with a slight bow and a nod to the head (think Jeremy Corbyn on Remembrance Sunday last year). I speak fluent Japanese, love their culture (well, apart from the inherent racism in some aspects) and eat a lot of their food, which inevitably puts money into their economy.
I eat a lot of Chinese food, too. Fu Jung and Pak Choi are some of my favourite foods, their products are worldwide, and if you don’t believe me on this one, I have a challenge. Look around your house and find something not made in China. According to Lena’s argument, this makes us all a bunch of racists.
Here’s my counter-argument. Calling us racists only serves to divide our world up even more and create even more disparity between international relations. Sure, blackface and yellowface are wrong, by anyone’s standards, but using a blues rhythm behind a piece of music would determine every modern pop song racist. In fact, nearly every aspect of western society has some cultural appropriation. Should we have to stick to the foods from the countries of our birth? In that case, I am royally screwed, as a) I don’t actually know where I was born and b) Britain’s food, whilst inventive at times, is quite bland to my tastebuds.
More to the point, looking at the world of business and economy, CA is everywhere. The top three businesses in the USA are Japanese, Samsung are one of the biggest companies in the world, and British companies do just as well abroad. Take Coca Cola for example, who’s head offices are in the USA. I challenge you to go somewhere where Coca Cola (replace with Pepsi or McDonald’s, it doesn’t make a shite of difference) isn’t.
So eat your sushi, enjoy your McDonald’s, celebrate different cultures and embrace the diversity of cultures on our tiny little planet respectfully. Tell all the third-wavers on Tumblr and left-wing media to fuck off, you’re not being racist.