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Friday freedom question: New frontiers in “cultural appropriation”

News that two women were mob-hounded out of their harmless burrito business on the grounds of “cultural appropriation” made me wonder if it might be time for some good old table turning.

If opening a burrito truck, wearing hoop earrings or holding a yoga class is an offense severe enough to drive pitchfork- Twitter-wielding mobs into the streets onto their pricey iPhones, how far is this scary, authoritarian mania going to go?

There is not one of us — including these “cultural appropriation” witch hunters — who doesn’t use aspects of other cultures every day of our lives.

So. I think it’s time for us to have zero tolerance for the little pecksniffs who attack other people for the sins they themselves commit. And by golly, then are committing them.

Merely by speaking English they’re “appropriating” from the cultures of Rome, Germany, France, and the Middle East (all those “al-” words from alcohol to Aldebaran come to us from oppressed Muslims, after all).

Enjoy a sauna when you’re not Finnish? Appropriation!

Wear silk when you’re not Chinese (or a silkworm)? Appropriation!

Drive on rubber tires? You’re appropriating the culture of … wherever the heck it is that rubber comes from.

Sing “Kumbayah” when you’re not African? Oh, for shame, for shame!

And, as Pat pointed out the other day in comments, people all over the world cheerfully appropriate American culture, too. Movies! Cola! Burgers! (Except, um, isn’t “hamburger” originally from those poor, exploited Germans? Oh well; it’s all appropriated from somebody.)

So your question for today is: What are some of the common things that people — including crazed SJWs — routinely do that “appropriate” someone else’s poor, “colonized” culture?

Tell us! Then let’s start shaming the little pecksniffs in their turn when they commit these horrible crimes against Swedes or Aztecs or the Oppressed People of Tahiti* or whoever.


* In solidarity with the oppressed Tuki Brando, it is henceforth taboo to utter the Tahitian word “taboo” unless you are actually Tahitian. Oops, except those evil, colonizing Tahitians seem to have culturally appropriated the word from their downtrodden and cruelly misused Tongan/Fijian neighbors!


  1. coloradohermit
    coloradohermit May 26, 2017 6:25 am

    It’s not an exact fit of appropriating culture, but a product originated by a foreign immigrant…..
    from Wikipedia, “Levi Strauss (/ˌliːvaɪ ˈstraʊs/, born Löb Strauß, German: [løːp ˈʃtʁaʊs]; February 26, 1829 – September 26, 1902) was an German-American businessman who founded the first company to manufacture blue jeans.”

  2. Anon
    Anon May 26, 2017 6:58 am

    Surely Maxine Waters shouldn’t be allowed to straighten her hair. Impeachable offense.

  3. larryarnold
    larryarnold May 26, 2017 7:28 am

    What are some…

    You mean like pepper? Not only is it Indian in origin, but it grows on the vine Piper Nigrum, and We All Know What THAT Sounds Like!

    Plus, of course, almost every other spice except salt.

  4. ellendra
    ellendra May 26, 2017 7:43 am

    Pasta. Puff pastry and everything made with it. Sushi. 90% of the breads that are out there. Kindergarten.

  5. Jorge
    Jorge May 26, 2017 7:44 am

    So you want us to run amok (appropriating a Malay word and concept)?

    Any one not of English origins eating a sandwich?

    Arabic/Hindu numerals, really if you are of European heritage you need to be using Roman or possibly Ionic.

    Really the list gets so long it is ridiculous.

    I understand (sort of) the insane SJWs complaining about “cultural appropriation” and micro-aggressions, etc. They are over-privileged a**holes. What I don’t understand is how that can drive someone out of business.

    So a bunch of idiots start tweeting nonsense directed at you. Surely your customers, who like your product, are going to keep coming. Surely you will get some new business because of the free advertising.

    Yeah it is a bit unpleasant, but so are a lot of things in life. It is just words. Solider on. If you have a good product your customers will keep coming.

    Also, fight back with words. Nothing the media likes more than a food fight (sorry, couldn’t resist).

    Anyway, I am sure I am missing something.

  6. Pat
    Pat May 26, 2017 8:39 am

    Because of the burritos, I was thinking mostly about food in relation to this subject last evening and, because I do love Italian food, I propose Italy should give back to the Western hemisphere tomatoes, peppers, beans, corn, and squashes. And we should stop eating pizza, pasta, polenta and parmesan cheese (a lot of p’s.).

    Plus: many herbs and spices, and all tropical fruits should go back to their original country or region — Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus, bedamned!

    No more Scandinavian-style furniture made in America. No Calypso music or doing the “cuchi-cuchi” (a la Charo).

    Makeup, including lipstick and eye shadow, was around during Cleopatra’s time and earlier, as were high heels, pants for women and skirts for men. (I do enjoy seeing kilts on men — hope fedgov will continue to allow that exception from Scotland.)

    As Jorge says, “Really the list gets so long it is ridiculous.” Where to start? And no end in sight.

  7. Joel
    Joel May 26, 2017 9:52 am

    What I don’t understand is how that can drive someone out of business.

    So a bunch of idiots start tweeting nonsense directed at you. Surely your customers, who like your product, are going to keep coming. Surely you will get some new business because of the free advertising.

    Yeah, what Jorge said. (If a white guy may be permitted to type that name without paying reparations or some damn thing. No offense meant.) I don’t get it. Twitter isn’t really…real. Getting yelled at on Twitter is as life-threatening as being shot in a video game. So how did this manage to be so damaging?

    Or maybe Jorge and I just don’t get how seriously Portlandians take being Twits?

  8. Joel
    Joel May 26, 2017 9:59 am

    Oh, and the electric car was apparently invented by a Hungarian.

  9. Joel
    Joel May 26, 2017 10:02 am

    Can you be a vegetarian without offending Jains?

  10. kentmcmanigal
    kentmcmanigal May 26, 2017 10:12 am

    If your culture isn’t being “appropriated”, you may want to look for reasons why. Is your culture a worthless craphole of uselessness?

    If I “appropriate” your culture it’s because I think some things about it are awesome. It’s a compliment. If you insult me for complimenting you, I’ll know you’re a rude idiot and treat you thus.

  11. AmericanBTGoG
    AmericanBTGoG May 26, 2017 10:40 am

    Tofu, tahini, tamari, yoghurt, cappucino, and bagels are all out. The good news, SJWs, is you can still eat sh*t and die.

  12. Joel
    Joel May 26, 2017 11:36 am

    No bagels? Wait.

    If I can’t eat bagels, I don’t want to be part of your revolution. Just forget it.

    That’d be like…I dunno, a religion that forbids bacon. Who’d ever sign up for that?

  13. Alchemist
    Alchemist May 26, 2017 1:22 pm

    Unfortunately, most of us do not understand how cultural appropriation works. Only a culture that has subjugated and/or exploited and/or abused another culture can be guilty of appropriation. The exploited, subjugated, abused culture can never be guilty, because they they were being imposed upon. You cannot be accused of appropriating something which is imposed upon you.

    So, in a nutshell, only white people are guilty of appropriation, because white people are the ones that have been abusing everybody else throughout modern history.

    I know it’s all bullshit. I tried explaining how history works, that one group of people screws another, time passes and the screwee becomes the screwer, on and on, over and over, ad infinitim. In other words, the problem is people. But no, to the SJWs of today, the problem is white people.

    I expect to be excoriated for playing bottleneck blues guitar, listening to jazz and Indian and African music, etc.

  14. AmericanBTGoG
    AmericanBTGoG May 26, 2017 1:23 pm

    Joel, no dancing either (btw, were you named Emma in another life?). Are these snotflakes culturally appropriating Stalinism?

  15. larryarnold
    larryarnold May 26, 2017 3:01 pm

    I’m firmly on Claire’s side here, but:

    [Devil’s Advocate]
    The two women did themselves no favors by inventing an origin story featuring badgering reluctant poor women in broken Spanish and looking through windows to discover the inscrutable secrets of making tacos. (Inventing? I mean really. Tacos aren’t cordon bleu.)

    They would have been a lot better off recounting how they journeyed across the deserts to the Shrine of the Taco in Mazatlán and humbly studied at the feet of the Taco Chamán. That’s a narrative that has enabled the crime-fighting skills of several very popular superheroes.
    [/Devil’s Advocate]

    Also, fight back with words. Nothing the media likes more than a food fight
    Yes, the media love it. That’s not a good thing. Instead of keeping the controversy going, I’d recommend letting it die out. (Don’t feed the trolls.)

    For one thing, if any of the pecksniffs have contacts with the city council, governments don’t like controversy. And they have health inspectors.

  16. David Gross
    David Gross May 26, 2017 6:32 pm

    Announcing “Freedom Fest 2018” — a celebration of true libertarian values, featuring:

    * Keynote speaker Bob Barr
    * Ayn Rand impersonator/interpreter on “how selfishness is the true altruism”
    * Statue of Liberty lookalike contest
    * Ronald Reagan memorabilia auction
    * Fireworks show

    100% non-fluoridated water available on request in commemorative bottles!

    Join real liberty-lovers on this exciting and daring exploration of freedom culture.

    Sponsored by the National Rifle Association, the Cuban Government’s “Cuba Libre” Educational Forum, and Fox News.

  17. kentmcmanigal
    kentmcmanigal May 26, 2017 7:07 pm

    Thanks, David. I am well and properly triggered now.

  18. SamInOregon
    SamInOregon May 26, 2017 8:53 pm

    British High Tea. Sod off, you bloody Yanks!

  19. Ron Johnson
    Ron Johnson May 27, 2017 3:58 am

    The whole idea of “appropriation” is so broad as to be ridiculous. Taken strictly, there isn’t a thing around us that is purely from a single cultural source, and hardly anything comes from the culture of my genetic forebears, now long dead.

    So if I were to add to the list of items the SJW’s have appropriated, I’d just say the word “infinity.” That always ended the 3rd grade schoolyard bantering, which is about the same intelligence level of the “appropriation” argument.

  20. Joel
    Joel May 27, 2017 5:27 am

    David Gross is appropriating obnoxious Russian counterrevolutionary culture by encouraging Ayn Rand impersonation! Drive him from the campus!

  21. Comrade X
    Comrade X May 27, 2017 7:28 am

    You didn’t give the location or day on the Freedom fest 2018.

  22. Claire
    Claire May 27, 2017 8:09 am

    “You didn’t give the location or day on the Freedom fest 2018.”

    And you forgot to note that William Weld would be presenting a seminar on guns and gun rights. 😉

    (Good one, David Gross.)

  23. bud
    bud May 27, 2017 1:27 pm

    I get the reductio ad absurdum counterargument, but lets not forget whats going on here: maintaining cultural DIVISIONS, as in “divide and conquer”. There are lots of useful idiots who have been duped into “sensitivity”, but at the base are the dedicated leftists working to destroy our unity, to tear down this country to build it back as a progressive utopia, where, coincidentally, they will be in charge.

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