RE: My weird take on cultural appropriation

I remember some years ago, on the SH, when I offered that the US was too large, too populous, and too culturally diverse to ever expect success with a unified, centralized government. I was arguing then (and would argue today) that the US should split up into at least three separate countries.

A forumite at the time got upset with me, and said I was being “racist”.

Of course, to get there, he had to conflate “culturally diverse” with “racially diverse”. I would argue that the two things are entirely different, even if they are occasionally, superficially, coterminous. 

But the point is made. When you scratch the surface, you realize that the people who worry about “cultural appropriation” aren’t really worried about it at all. What is really going on here is a naked political/cultural power grab.

From the perspective of art and music, my view is that “appropriation” (cultural or otherwise) is how art works. You see something you like, and you incorporate it into some creative work of your own. That is literally how I spend half of my time.

Legally, one is always cognizant of the need to stay on the right side of a rather fuzzy line between “incorporation” and “copying”, but that’s a different concept from what the “cultural appropriation” crowd is talking about.

Mostly, “cultural appropriation” is simple bullying. The term lends an air of academic respectability to a Twitter mob going after some random high school girl who wears a prom dress that incorporates traditional Chinese features, for example.

I reject all of that, root and branch.

My standard is simple: Judging people by the color of their skin is always immoral.

It really is that simple. And once you internalize that concept, the naked absurdity of “cultural appropriation” (not to mention the vast majority of wokism and Critical Social Justice) comes into sharp relief.

“So my question is, is there any point in trying to learn Django’s licks and phrasing?”

For me, not a chance. I know my limits. 🙂 

But if you want to give it a run, I say go for it, without shame or reservation. You may or may not develop into a competent Django tribute player, but you will almost certainly take your playing to new, quality, places you otherwise would not go.

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