Once again, the United Nations has found itself in the role of debates on interventionist policy. Different indigenous groups are petitioning the international body to basically ban the appropriation of their cultural ideas. Besides the hypocrisy involved in the UN policing any measure on the “whims of civil rights”, or the fact that many nations involved in this tripe are hardly upstanding role models of such whims, what is truly terrible is the continued belief by some that the sharing in cultural ideas of another (which is what “cultural appropriation” is) is something to condemn. As I’ve stated in the past, what defines something as offensive to anyone is largely a subjective matter. To assume that a person of a particular background or creed will be bothered by something (either a costume, word, or something else) implies that such a person operates as an automaton with absolutely no care for their individual beliefs or views. People are more than what they happen to identify as, and it would be nice if so-called “educated” professionals would realize that.
The idea of what is termed as “cultural appropriation” being something to criticize is also without merit. Besides being a violation of the First Amendment here in the States, to imply that only a particular individual and/or culture can use or take part in a particular item/activity is to promote a form of cultural segregation where people can’t share ideas and qualities they hold with others because “they don’t own it” (as if anyone truly has ownership of any concept or idea). If education and diversity of knowledge is really something we are supposed to value, wouldn’t that come more though the commingling and sharing of different traits and ideas rather than putting up walls between them? I would challenge those who subscribe to such a view of separation to name one “original” idea that can’t be traced back to inspiration from someone else. Our nation, and increasingly our very civilization, involves various cultures and creeds interacting with one another on different levels, and sharing in each other’s axioms, beliefs, goods, and services. Such an environment has allowed for much growth not just in tolerance, but also innovation and understanding. A truly tolerant society would be welcoming to all of that, not dismissive. So go out there and be all you can be…enjoy that Mexican food, use foreign slang, and wear that costume or attire…for the more we take on such roles, we dispel the notion that such identities are different to us. Not only will you have more fun and be freer…but you will also push the cultural and societal structures ever closer to that day when the fact that we embody different views, beliefs, constitutions, and identities won’t matter in the slightest. Therefore, there is no reason to let pathetic attempts at policy like this curtail such growth in character and understanding.