Englewood, NJ —
Cultural appropriation presents a complex quandary for our pluralistic society, as it affects a diverse set of ethnic, racial, and other marginalized sub-groups. It also just became a huge-ass problem for me, because my clothes were culturally appropriated and now I’m naked.
It could be that my clothes were culturally appropriated by the arrogant elite of a fashion industry who frequently seek to profit from the wholesale thievery of sartorial milieus organically created by oppressed communities. But probably not — I’m pretty sure my underwear and stuff was snatched out of my gym locker by this douchey kid named Eric.
Cultural appropriation often leaves its victims feeling co-opted when their art, music, and other communicative forms become decontextualized property of the larger society. Take my case, for example — that asshole Eric stole my favorite Pat’s jersey!
To address cultural appropriation, we must educate those with power to appreciate the unique contributions of society’s more vulnerable members, while concomitantly allowing minorities their own agency, history, and voice. Personally, I’ll be addressing my own cultural appropriation issues by walking home in a gym towel.
By Joe Lichtblau