When Douglas Adams wrote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, he added a central joke which has become more famous over the years than the novel itself: "The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is 42." Geeks have since wasted years and massive effort trying to ascribe some deep, symbolic significance to the number and its occurrences.
Someone with white privilege and class privilege has other options for earning income, so they don’t have to resort to profiting from someone else’s labor or culture.
And the risks involved for marginalized people show that it’s more ethical to pursue another path. Rock and roll came out of the blues and was initially largely shaped by Black artists.
The problem was that in the 1950s, racist white people were clear that they didn’t want to support a Black artist. The record industry found success with popular white stars who molded a mainstream look and sound after Black artists their racist white audiences would never support.
Sam Phillips, the record executive who discovered Elvis, summed it up when he apparently said, “If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars.”Does the truth matter, when it comes to a little girl just trying to enjoy a holiday?
from South Asian Art & Perspectives on Yoga and America (SAAPYA) shows one woman’s tearful explanation of how the elders in her community don’t have access to the yoga studios dominating the industry of a practice so important to them., dividing yoga from its true roots and purpose, and from the people who had to fought to keep it alive, means “eventually eradicating the true practice, as was accomplished in many places under Britain’s occupation of India.” There’s a reason the British used attacks on yoga as a tool for oppressing an entire country of people.
Removing a culturally significant source of wellness and spirituality is one way to rip apart critical connections that help people survive.
The marginalized people whose cultures are appropriated don’t have the institutional power to force you to stop, even if they wanted to.
We have a lot of work to do to heal from the impact of oppression from the past through present day.
comes from the time when the colonial and state governments and companies paid white people to kill Native Americans and used their scalps or even genitalia (to prove their sex), aka “red skins,” as proof of their “Indian kill.”Here, recent transplants to the area write Yelp reviews in search of “authentic Mexican food” without the “sketchy neighborhoods” – which usually happen to be what they call neighborhoods with higher numbers of people of color.
That’s how it goes with cultural appropriation: not sharing so there’s more for everyone, but taking advantage of the power imbalance between groups to have more for well-off white people, and less and less for poor people of color.
Many examples of cultural appropriation may seem like not a big deal, or like we should have “more important” things to worry about.