WSJ Historically Speaking: The Perils of Cultural Purity


“Cultural appropriation” is a leading contender for the most overused phrase of 2017. Originally employed by academics in postcolonial studies to describe the adoption of one culture’s creative expressions by another, the term has evolved to mean the theft or exploitation of an ethnic culture or history by persons of white European heritage. Continue reading…

The Sunday Times: America’s new boogeyman runs wild on Halloween

Source: The Sunday Times

Source: The Sunday Times

Any minute now somebody is going to start a petition on Twitter to rename Halloween “Cultural Appropriation Day”. Who knows? They probably already have. There’s no point in having a controversy these days without a petition, calls for punitive measures and a really vicious media takedown of the villain of the day (real or imagined).

I can think of lots of reasons for banning Halloween. Here are three: 1) it’s consumerism gone mad, and a fake “holiday” to boot; 2) encouraging children to eat bucketloads of sweets is crazy when there’s an obesity epidemic; 3) none of all that plastic tat is recyclable.

But no; according to the appropriation police, Halloween’s real crime is that it’s racist. When a non-Asian dresses up in a Japanese geisha costume, for example, the wearer is committing an act either of theft or of exploitation. Continue reading…