Is It Unethical for Caucasians to Cook Chinese Food?

The pernicious silliness of cultural appropriation censorship.



If so, Austrian-American chef Wolfgang Puck is a serial culture criminal.

Talking with a couple of archaeology/anthropology grad students a few months back, I got into a somewhat heated argument over the concept of "cultural appropriation." Among other things, I was told that Western women wearing saris is regarded in some circles as being disrespectful. Why? Because such clothing is not part of European culture and wearing it somehow signifies some kind of colonial oppression. Fortunately, some disagree.

I was reminded of this disturbing conversation by reading Reason contributor Cathy Young's superb op-ed "To the new culture cops, everything is appropriation" in last Sunday's Washington Post. 

To suggest how fruitful cultural cross pollination can be, I specifically cited in my conversation with the students Pablo Picasso's masterpiece Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) which depicts five naked women, two with faces inspired by African masks. Was that inappropriate cultural appropriation? Or was it a recognition of the imaginative power of African artistry? Uncomfortable looks was their response. On Picasso's African Period:


During the early 1900s, the aesthetics of traditional African sculpture became a powerful influence among European artists who formed an avant-garde in the development of modern art. In France, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and their School of Paris friends blended the highly stylized treatment of the human figure in African sculptures with painting styles derived from the post-Impressionist works of Edouard Manet, Paul Cézanne and Paul Gauguin. The resulting pictorial flatness, vivid color palette, and fragmented Cubist shapes helped to define early modernism. While these artists knew nothing of the original meaning and function of the West and Central African sculptures they encountered, they instantly recognized the spiritual aspect of the composition and adapted these qualities to their own efforts to move beyond the naturalism that had defined Western art since the Renaissance.

As Young rightly concludes:

Appropriation is not a crime. It's a way to breathe new life into culture. Peoples have borrowed, adopted, taken, infiltrated and reinvented from time immemorial. The medieval Japanese absorbed major elements of Chinese and Korean civilizations, while the cultural practices of modern-day Japan include such Western borrowings as a secularized and reinvented Christmas. Russian culture with its Slavic roots is also the product of Greek, Nordic, Tatar and Mongol influences — and the rapid Westernization of the elites in the 18th century. America is the ultimate blended culture.

So don't let anyone tell you that there is art, literature or clothing that does not belong to you because of your racial, ethnic or religious identity. In other words: Appropriate away.

Closely allied to the idea of cultural appropriation is the pernicious notion of "cultural identity." In his brilliant 2009 essay, "The Culture of Liberty," Peruvian Nobel Literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, argues:

The notion of "cultural identity" is dangerous. From a social point of view, it represents merely a doubtful, artificial concept, but from a political perspective it threatens humanity's most precious achievement: freedom (emphasis added). I do not deny that people who speak the same language, were born and live in the same territory, face the same problems, and practice the same religions and customs have common characteristics. But that collective denominator can never fully define each one of them, and it only abolishes or relegates to a disdainful secondary plane the sum of unique attributes and traits that differentiates one member of the group from the others. The concept of identity, when not employed on an exclusively individual scale, is inherently reductionist and dehumanizing, a collectivist and ideological abstraction of all that is original and creative in the human being, of all that has not been imposed by inheritance, geography, or social pressure. Rather, true identity springs from the capacity of human beings to resist these influences and counter them with free acts of their own invention.

The notion of "collective identity" is an ideological fiction and the foundation of nationalism. For many ethnologists and anthropologists, collective identity does not represent the truth even among the most archaic communities. Common practices and customs may be crucial to the defense of a group, but the margin of initiative and creativity among its members to emancipate themselves from the group is invariably large, and individual differences prevail over collective traits when individuals are examined on their own terms, and not as mere peripheral elements of collectivity. Globalization extends radically to all citizens of this planet the possibility to construct their individual cultural identities through voluntary action, according to their preferences and intimate motivations. Now, citizens are not always obligated, as in the past and in many places in the present, to respect an identity that traps them in a concentration camp from which there is no escape—the identity that is imposed on them through the language, nation, church, and customs of the place where they were born. In this sense, globalization must be welcomed because it notably expands the horizons of individual liberty.

Finally, as Roman playwright Terence (195-159 B.C.) declared: "Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto", or "I am human, and nothing of that which is human is alien to me." Of course Terence would say that—because he was largely adapting (appropriating) the plots of Greek plays to a Latin audience.

NEXT: The Federal Travel Act and the Raid

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  1. humani nihil a me alienum puto

    ?Qu? me dijiste, ese?

    1. Is It Unethical for Caucasians to Cook Chinese Food?

      Its unethical for Caucasians to *eat* Chinese food.

      And don’t get me started on the Jews.

      Here’s some colonial repression for ya.

      1. Is it unethical for a non-European to attend a university or to study archaeology/anthropology?

        After all, these innovations of Western culture.

        1. Nope. It would, however, be unethical for a Caucasian to take a gap year bumming around any place that is more than 10 miles from his place of birth.

          1. And you’re a racist for saying that Western culture has any innovations.

            1. It is actually against the law in the USA to be NOT a certified Native American, and to sell your art as “Native American” or Native Indian” (labeled as such). And you non-natives had better NOT be busted with an eagle feather in your possession, even if it fell out of the clear blue sky, into your back yard!

              Air conditioning and autos & who knows what all else was invented by mighty Whities, how come the Natives are allowed to partake in such thing?!?!

        2. Is it unethical for a non-European to use the internet or computers?

          1. *sigh* – OK, I’ll enact your labor for you.

            Its ethical for other cultures to use anything from the west – its just fair, to make up for centuries of world-wide oppression and colonialism.

            Its cultural appropriation for Westerners to use anything created by another culture as that is simply stealing.

            Its like racism – power is an essential component of being a racist.

            1. I’d bet money that the entire concept of “cultural appropriation is bad thing when whites do it”, was thought up by a guilty white academic. If so, this paradox will almost certainly tare a hole in the space-time continuum when some noble savage makes the argument.

      2. Is is unethical for Thais to make Thai food?

        After all the chili pepper that is characteristic of most so-called Thai food originated in the Americas.

      3. Its unethical for Caucasians to *eat* Chinese food.

        And don’t get me started on the Jews.

        How about Jews eating Chinese food on Christmas day?

        1. I *said* don’t get me started on the Jews.

          1. You know who else said “don’t get me started on the Jews”?

            There, Godwinned that for you.

      4. “And don’t get me started on the Jews.”

        We should eat Jews?

        1. I believe their meat is considered Halal.

  2. That’s it! Stetsons and bolo ties for everyone!

    1. I’m pretty sure my adopting that style would be an example of cultural appropriation.

    2. If Raylan Givens can make it work, surely I can too, right?

    3. Anyway, I think Stetsons are appropriation of the Mexican Sombrero.

  3. But how can you be special if everyone is being like you?

    1. Just about every high school kid learns to manuever through this minefield. Although some have to get poorly considered tattoos before figuring it out.

      1. I wouldn’t limit the life period to High School and I wouldn’t limit the poorly considered tattoos to ‘some’.

        There are lots of people with fine tattoos just like there are people with fine wine and fine cars. Most

  4. Oh and the only art you are permitted to enjoy are velvet painting of Elvis.

    1. Those are made by Mexicans.

      1. Fine. Enjoy your Thomas Kinkade.

        1. I always enjoy a nice tall glass of Kinkade.
          It’s what you drink if you’re not kinky enough.


  5. Hands off St. Patrick’s Day! And Octoberfest!

  6. I submit that chili gravy is the ultimate expression of cultural assimilation, melding the awesome flavor of chili sauce, and the beautiful texture of southern gravy. I am willing to be a cultural criminal for stacked enchiladas with chili gravy and a fried egg. Although corn tortillas are superior to flour.

    1. Although corn tortillas are superior to flour.

      *stares in disbelief*

      1. I used to be a flour tortilla guy. But i’ve been hand making corn tortillas for the last year. They are far superior.

        1. Ive never had hand made fresh corn tortillas, so I will reserve judgement.

          1. That holds up until you then start having fresh hand-made flour tortillas.

            *street tacos FTW

    2. Chili gravy, done correctly, is not the least bit a combination of chili sauce and southern gravy.

      “Red sauce” properly made has chilis, cumin, salt, garlic, masa flour, and water, and has been made that way since long before there was a “southern gravy.”

      Heathens, the lot of you.

      1. Look – they’re not from around here. To them ‘chili con carne’ is served on top of *spaghetti*.

        1. What in the holy fucking hell!?

          1. It’s good stuff.

        2. 3-way, with chopped onions and cheese!

          1. That is not chili, it is fucking goulash.

      2. I take it “chili gravy” is something akin to pork green chile or green chile sauce?

      3. Chili gravy most certainly does have a roux base. And then all the stugf you just said. You’re letting the New Mexicans pollute your soul. Come to the Tex-Mex side.

        1. Come to the Tex-Mex side.


    3. Although corn tortillas are superior to flour.

      As long as you aren’t putting cheese and tomato paste on top and calling it pizza.

      1. No, you call that “enchiladas”. Only you should really have a chili sauce, but I’ve seen ranchero sauce enchiladas

        1. Wouldn’t those be enrancheradas?

  7. Iron Chef is a good deal of fun. Their Japanese chefs not only routinely prepare Chinese, Italian, and French meals, but specialize in it. Their specialties are included in their titles. Are they closet racists, too?

    1. Well, they are Japanese.

      1. Yeah, not closet racist – openly reveling in it.

    2. No, they are lacists.

    3. I’m half-Japanese, half-Caucasian… What culture am I supposed to adopt?

      Does the Caucasian half override the Japanese half, or are we going by the “one drop” theory? Am I supposed to adopt half of each culture and mix them together?

      The SJWs did not address this possibility! They’ve left me in cultural limbo!

  8. Sheesh, these people are insufferable. And inconsistent. Celebrating western culture is imperialistic and arrogant, appropriating other cultures is also imperialistic and arrogant. So, basically, look but don’t touch.

    1. And don’t look too closely.

      I wonder whether “male gaze” will be or has been translated into racial terms. Racialists have a weird thing about exoticizing minorities, so it’s not a great leap to suggest that paying greater attention to someone or something of a different culture is another form of “gaze”.

      1. Colonialist gaze!

        1. Thank you. Now go write your dissertation. There’s a cultural studies degree waiting for you at Brandeis.

          1. I’m not sure I know enough buzzwords to get more than three pages. Think that will be enough?

            1. It will be more than adequate.

            2. Just use a bigger font.

      2. This is exactly how I was taught modern art at UC Berkeley when I took a class as an undergrad (20+ years ago). Painters like Gaugin especially were objectifying and othering dark skinned people by rendering them as part of an idealized landscape unpolluted by civilization.

        There is some truth to the observation, but it is also highly reductive.

        1. That’s actually an interesting take, but it’s a bit of an aside. What about art isn’t the practice of immortalizing ideals? And why other than the color of their skin is it remarkable that those particular painters painted idealized versions of their subjects?

          1. Exactly this, yes. An interesting aside presented as the main (indeed only) noteworthy thing about the paintings.

          2. Jesus painted with feces? It’s “edgy” and “thought-provoking”.

        2. It also implies every culture is create whole and has not, itself, appropriated anything.

          1. Yes – the irony (to me) being that this is exactly how non-white cultures were romanticized by Europeans of the colonial era. They were seen as isolates uninfluenced by corruptions from the “outside.” “Unspoilt” and “natural,” not like polluted white people.

            Modern culture warriors adopt this same view at the same time that they condemn their own forebears for coming with it.

      3. I wonder whether “male gaze” will be or has been translated into racial terms.


      4. An accusation of “Orientalist Gaze” was recently in the press.

    2. If I recall my history correctly, we Europeans “appropriated” our entire system of numbers from brown-skinned, non-European Muslim peoples.

      Math is cultural oppression!

      1. And they, in turn appropriated them from Hindus. Not only do we need to stop using them post haste, but we really need to give cultural credit where it’s due.

  9. Great moments in Twitter history.

    Woman accuses man of rape, ruins his life, gets 1.5 million dollar settlement from school district, then is caught on tape admitting she made it all up. Which garners this response:

    Angel of Small Death
    @AFoulToGive @ILLCapitano94 The one time the system punishes a rapist, and the accusation was false? Jesus Christ.

    Yes, the one time. There are no rapists in jail.

    1. The Central Park “rapists” also were not rapists and got punished. I know that’s not the direction the respondant was going, but its two times that the system has falsely punished men for rape.

      1. Ann Coulter still believes the Central Park Rapists were guilty. Seriously.

        Not only were the police prohibited from interviewing Reyes or giving him a polygraph, but Morgenthau ordered other inmates not to talk to any police investigators about their conversations with Reyes. First the D.A. slimed the cops, then he ran interference for a rapist-murderer.

        New York journalist Nicholas Stix reports that one inmate says Reyes told him he heard the jogger’s screams and raped her only after the “Central Park Five” had finished with her.

        The media proclaim those five rapists innocent based on their own over-excited reports that the DNA found on the jogger matched that of Reyes — but none of the others!

        So this rapist just happened to accidentally wander by a recently raped woman and decide ‘hey, might as well have a go!’

        Nothing like a second hand unverifiable claim to deem five men guilty of rape!

        1. Sickos.

          Every single one of them.

        2. Wait… her argument is that the convicted rapist’s claim that, hey, someone else got to that girl first is all the proof we need that the Five were guilty?

        3. Well they were four black and one Hispanic young males accused of raping a white woman, obviously they must have been guilty.

          If Coulter lived 80 years ago, she probably would have defended lynching as necessary to protect the safety and chastity of white women.

          1. Well they were four black and one Hispanic young males accused of raping a white woman, obviously they must have been guilty.

            At the very least, those young males are guilty of cultural appropriation. Only white males should rape white women. And I guess interracial marriage needs to be recriminalized.

    2. Why did I click on that Twitter link?! I cannot un-see the banal idiocy posted therein.

  10. Is it unethical for Chinese to cook hamburgers?

    1. I just saw an Anthony Bourdain show where he was hanging out with ABCs in Mississippi who had culturally appropriate southern foods like black eyed peas along with chinese style spare ribs. I think those criminals should be punished by feeding me.

      1. I can’t watch Anthony Bourdain. He is just too smug.

        1. If you cannot handle smug, how do you read Reason?

          1. He’s Florida Man – so . . . *meth* I presume.

            1. Correct! Also it’s more snarky than smug round here.

      2. ABC’s ? what’s that ?

        1. American Born Chinese

          1. thank you

        2. American-born Chinese

  11. PURITY

  12. Wouldn’t it be nice to explain to these whack jobs that they need to stop speaking because the language that they’re using was culturally appropriated?

    1. Dude! That would be like telling those fighting Global Climate Change that they shouldn’t fly to all those summits around the world.

      These people are fighting the good fight, so they’re allowed a certain amount of latitude in order to bring the word to the unenlightened.

      1. The worst trait of SJWs: they expect everyone else to adhere to standards that they’re unable to meet themselves. But we’re the problem because we don’t think as they do.

  13. When you reward victimization you get more people trying to be victims. That’s what this is. It’s anti-intellectual and frankly anti-social. Can you imagine what we would have missed out on as a species if cultures didn’t borrow and take from one another?

    1. But, but, but… Authenticity!

  14. “Have you ever seen a commie drink a glass of water, Mandrake?”

  15. I guess we have to burn down all the Chinese and Korean churches to stop the appropriation of Jesus.

    1. We should probably nuke all of those countries that like American TV and music and fashion as well, just to be safe.

      1. We should nuke all those countries that have nukes. Those are American!

      2. That stuff doesn’t count as cultural appropriation by those countries, it counts as cultural imperialism by America. Because FYTW.

      3. Apparently Terminator: Genisys is doing so well in China that it’s now guaranteed sequels. So this may be a solid plan.

    2. I guess we have to burn down all the Chinese and Korean churches

      + 1 jihadi.

  16. I was told that Western women wearing saris is regarded in some circles as being disrespectful.

    Unless, of course, those women are trans.

    Seriously, the inner lives of people who worry about such things must be Hell on Earth.

    Also, burkas for all will become increasingly popular, unless the beheadings are excessive.

    1. Unless, of course, those women are trans.

      Um, citation needed. I don’t think trans folks get a pass on this.

      And trans folks are not your punching bag for every time something happens you don’t like.

      You know who else demonized an unpopular minority?

      1. Um, citation needed. I don’t think trans folks get a pass on this.

        Not-so-much-assuming they weren’t born into their gender’s culture naturally, you mean a *second* pass, right?

      2. The point is that some minorities are more equal than others. Right now, trans rights is the hot new thing. Presumably that makes transgender folks untouchable regardless of their boorish behavior. The rules of grievance poker are complex and improvised, so it’s often hard to tell. The particular example (transgender people being able to wear saris because trans south asian in the PC grievance hierarchy) probably would not hold, but the comment is sarcastic in tone. In any event, if you think that transgenders are the “target” of the comment rather than hyper-sensitive, point-scoring SJWs, then you need to re-read the comment.

        1. Ahem. “because trans [ greater than symbol ] south asian”

          Stupid squirrels.

  17. The Culture Warriors got a hold of that article. Hilarity did not ensue. http://everythingsaproblem.tum…..athy-young

    1. Good grief, I didn’t realize that was satire until the end.

      The website that is, not the retarded Twit comments.

  18. Wait, so I can only cook Jew food and read books by Phillip Roth?

    Kill me now.

    1. True, but we do get all the Mel Brooks movies.

      1. Then I’m converting…for the jokes.

      2. And all but three Bob Dylan albums

    2. +18 gefilte fish

  19. This is monumentally… mindbogglingly… stupid.
    I’ll steal a good idea from ANYBODY.

    1. If only there weren’t such a paucity of resources. Amirite?

  20. I love the story of the Chinese city that makes all the Christmas decorations. The people there don’t really understand it.…..1673551148

  21. Look at this as a sign of the incredible prosperity that capitalism and free enterprise have generated in this country. There are lots of people with food in their stomachs, clothes on their backs, a roof over their head….things that used to occupy most of a day’s work to acquire and maintain….yet these jack offs have all that and more and Still have time to whine about this nonsense. It really is astounding.

  22. My only real question, Ronald, is why you didn’t simply tell these buffoons to shut up

  23. Fine. So then only black people should listen and buy rap and all the rappers should refund all the $$$ they have made off non-blacks..

    1. I do have some vague recollection/s of music writers composing angry laments about the appropriation of rap culture by white suburbanites.

      1. I object to rappers using electrical instruments to make music. White people invented amplifiers, and you can’t just appropriate them!

  24. Well, it’s all about the length of the “vector” and the rationale behind why a person is cooking or wearing X. If a woman wears a sari because it’s damn comfortable and she LIKES to wear it, great. If she’s wearing it because she wants to impress some group or other, then simply roll your eyes. If she’s wearing it specifically because she knows it pisses somebody off, and for no other reason, then she’s a bitch (not making any real concession to the thin skinned who’s pissed). In short, who has the time figure out WHY a person dresses or eats the way they do?

    Disinterest. It makes life a lot easier.

  25. One of my favorite Indian dishes is called Rajma. It’s been made in India for centuries. It is literally the Indian take on chili, introduced to India by European traders.

    1. Nikujaga (the Japanese “appropriation” of English-style beef stew) is pretty good, too.

  26. My friend got married recently and his wife, whom we had never met, made a sari for my wife. Then when the come here she presented it to her (and it was made clear that she needed to wear it RIGHT NOW) and we all had dinner. It was awesome. The food was awesome. WTF is wrong with these people.

    1. This is good point. Some of our oldest friends are Punjabi Sikhs. Every year or two they buy our daughter a new sari, and want pictures of her in it.

      Should I tell them “no, I really wouldn’t want to appropriate your culture?”

      1. “But here’s a picture of my daughter in a Viking helmet holding a spear?”

      2. White, affluent SJWs know more than lowly peasants in a foreign land. Those poor, brown people don’t understand how they’re destroying their culture so their wishes come second to those of the SJWs.

        1. ^^ This is the answer.

  27. Good article. Now let’s tell the pro-copyright people about cultural appropriation!

  28. Cultural appropriation has to be the dumbest of PC complaints. Appropriation of other cultures is how every major culture in the world happened. Do they believe that Hindu culture and traditions just emerged fully formed? That is a particularly dumb one to bitch about as the whole thing came about through the agglomeration of various and diverse cultures, often involving violent conquest and imperialism.

    My favorite cultural appropriation that I have witnessed was a white girl, who is a practicing Hindu of some sort, accusing some white people in a Reggae band of being evil cultural appropriators.

    1. Also, tell all the white women how problematic yoga class is.

    2. Re: Zeb,

      Cultural appropriation has to be the dumbest of PC complaints.

      And that’s saying a lot.

      Appropriation of other cultures is how every major culture in the world happened.

      It’s how everything we learn happens. But leave it to the culture warriors to ask everybody else to take a bullet [in the social and economic sense] in the name of protecting our precious bodily-culture.

      By the way, it should not be a surprise that this preoccupation with protecting the national essence (culture) is the favorite pablum of the anti-immigrant Trumpistas and other xenophobes, as if people were in mortal danger of losing their identity by embracing tacos de carnitas or something.

      1. For progtards, it’s always about (anti-Western European) tribalism. All things white are a monolithic evil, the melting pot culture that American strives (or once strived?) to be is considered a bad thing. They derive their power from identity politics and culture war.

  29. Is It Unethical for Caucasians to Cook Chinese Food?

    But after all was said and done, you never really answered that question, Ron. I still don’t know if I should throw away my wok and boxes of frozen orange chicken or not! Don’t leave me in a lurch like that!

    1. Jews aren’t white.

      1. HA! I read your handle as Old Man With Candy. It’s okay. Mexicans aren’t white either.

    2. You’re not Caucasian dude – so its OK. You’re just not allowed to *work* here.

  30. Unethical to COOK it? Hell, its unethical to EAT it. What the @#()*$? Do you feed your cat dog-food as well? Also, is it really fair to eat Chinese food when there’s a couple billion of them out there that now have less than their fair share? Did the White People food-store suddenly close down? I mean, you killed all the Indians and took his pumpkin and his corn, so that’s like you’re eating at least the foods of 2 conquered peoples…. plus you have all the bounty of the great English cooking tradition…. and ….. Scottish….. well, sure, I bet you wish you’d been a French colony but its too late now, whitey, so get over it. Maybe if you’re lucky you can marry a Mexican and make Tex-Mex with only a hint of appropriation-sauce.

    1. Am I the only person who likes English food?

      Weird sausages, fried breakfasts, sausage rolls. All great. And of course there is Stilton, the king of all cheeses.

      1. Am I the only person who likes English food?


      2. “Am I the only person who likes English food?”

        Its bad in the same way English teeth are bad; mostly for the purpose of making jokes.

        In reality, the problem is that the “good” English cuisine is so rarely ever made that the ideal of the Yorkshire Pudding is something of a white whale, while its more common incarnation is something you get frozen then microwaved in a chain pub in Luton and it tastes like someone poured chemicals in an ashtray and wrapped it in pastry.

        Meaning, of course there’s great ‘traditional’ English cooking. Its just that hardly anyone actually eats it. Where the fuck are you going to find someone who wants to order suet pudding on a friday night? Everyone’s going for a curry.

        1. I love me some shepherd’s pie! I live in KC now and I have found one place in the entire city.

          And I fucking love haggis!!

          1. Irish/Scottish, respectively

            English ‘stereotype’ cuisine…. seems to revolve around roasts, puddings, sausages, and bizarre things like Marmite and hard-sauce with brandy.

            1. Boiled beef with mustard. Side of peas, eaten with a knife.

              1. exactamundo

              2. That sounds so sad and bland.

    2. Oh no! You can’t marry the Mexican woman – that’s ‘exoticizing’ a minority.

      1. Yeah, better to be a racist who only fraternizes with their own kind…or is it?

    1. That is disgusting. Lipstick belongs to the *Egyptians*!

  31. Anyone who thinks along ‘cultural appropriation’ lines is ignorant as much as they’re sad and pathetic.

    I remember my professor of Russian (of Greek heritage) proclaim in class about the stupidity of Greeks literally fighting over Alexander the Great and Macedonia that ‘Alexander the Great doesn’t belong to Greece or Macedonia anymore. He belongs to the world.’

    Ever been to Italy? It’s one gigantic museum of cultural appropriation and indigenous genius that’s a feast on the eyes. Renaissance Italy was a confluence of nothing but human genius interacting. Venice has several architectural designs not just from building to structure but door to door from Byzantine, Arabesque to Gothic to Baroque to Romantic.

    The USA is an extension of that period in my view. Part of its strengths is its ability to accept and absorb all the world has to offer and to make it uniquely American.

    Sheesh these people are retarded.

    1. ^^ This.

      The great strength of the Romans was their disregard for their own culture and endless fascination with other peoples’.

  32. I don’t know what it means to talk about “culture” without appropriation. That’s what it is. It’s people swapping stories and ideas and art.

  33. also, I think it should be clear that playing the blues is not white-appropriation of Black culture.

    White people *gave* them the Blues. It was a loaner.

  34. As I recall, both tomatoes and potatoes are native to South America and did not exist in Europe prior to colonization by Spain and others. So since they are basic to Italian and Irish or British cooking, those two cultures must stop using these plants.

    At a certain point, differing viewpoints are worthy of ridicule only. These anthropology students are being ridiculous and should be beneath arguing with. Ask any capable chef and you will hear that the most creative cooks borrow liberally from a variety of cuisines from across world cultures. Not only should Americans cook Chinese food, they should cook French, Thai, Middle Eastern, Greek, etc and COMBINE elements from them into new things!

    1. As I recall, both tomatoes and potatoes are native to South America and did not exist in Europe prior to colonization by Spain and others.

      You are correct sir:

      1. And hence they are introduced to “authentic” Chinese and Indian cuisines as well . . .

  35. Well, I ran through my attire options as a Midwestern white cis shitlord and I really am at a loss..

    Denim Jeans, nope, Cowboy cultural appropriation.
    Plastic Bag, nope, Homeless cultural appropriation.
    Naked, nope, nudist cultural appropriation.

      1. If I include a yellow hard hat though…

        Godzilla victim cultural appropriation!

  36. This is just the first step in the return of segregation.

  37. I’d also think that art forms like blues, jazz, and rock and roll wouldn’t be possible without “cultural appropriation”.

    I remember when Peter Gabriel’s “Shock the Monkey” first came out.

    99% of the public had never heard anything that sounded like that before, and after that song came out, “world music” became a big deal–leading average Americans to explore and appreciate Afrobeat and other African music like they never had before.

    It’s just absurd for people to want us to respect and admire a diversity of other cultures–but not be influenced by what they find. By insisting that no cultural appropriation can take place, they’re basically assuming that we can’t really appreciate and admire other cultures.

    1. P.S. Oi! Oi! Oi! to the world.

      1) In determining whether this appropriation of Indian culture is okay, does it matter whether the skacore band in question has an Indian as a member? Or that they’re filming in India? Or that the song was originally written about an Indian?

      “Hadji was a punk–just like any other [American] boy…” sounds like the opposite of racism to me. Sounds entirely inclusive! It’s a song against racism for Mohamed’s sake.

      2) Is it okay if a Southern California skacore band has an Indian member–or is the Indian band member racist and guilty of cultural appropriation for playing a blend of Jamaican, British, and American music in Southern California?

      3) As an appropriation of American big band music and rock and roll by Jamaicans, are ska and rock steady inherently racist, or is it only racist if Americans appropriate influences from other cultures but never the other way around?

      1. “Is it okay if a Southern California skacore band….”


          1. The latter example there is music. The former is something even Gitmo interrogators think crosses the line into “inhumane”

            1. You just like horns. It isn’t always better with brass.


                1. Yes!



                  A huge chunk of punk–in all its various forms–is basically skacore. Especially if it came out of SoCal or the UK. You take away the skacore influence, and it’s basically just rockabilly/surf and metal.

                  1. “A huge chunk of punk–in all its various forms–is basically skacore.”

                    you will forgive me if i consider the entire branch of that family tree the “retarded one”. If anything turned ‘punk’ into a self-parody it was west coast bands like….(spits)…. Rancid…. and the exponential faggification of things like Sublime, No Doubt, and Blink 182….which i think was on the verge of approximating the Anti-Christ. I get a headache thinking about it. I appreciate the british ska-stuff. California, no. It is the punk subgenre that should have died in the 1980s.

                    1. No Doubt didn’t start out that way. That video I linked above was from when they were as legit as anybody–and no one outside of those of us who frequented Fenders or were mods or skins had ever heard of them before. It’s a Vandals cover fer cryin’ out loud!

                      What you don’t seem to get is that the ska stuff predated what you think of as punk. All of those artists were originally ska and reggae fans. Everybody from the Circle Jerks and The Gun Club were ska and reggae fans. Minor Threat and Black Flag were speeding up Ska. All of the UK based stuff from ’82 was all sped up ska.

                      You pull the ska/reggae influence out from under all of that stuff, and you’re left with very little.

                      Even slam dancing/arm flails–it was originally just skanking.


                      Punk rawk and hardcore without ska and reggae influence is like drinking dehydrated iced tea. Punk rock without reggae and ska mostly just turns into metal, or they stop calling it punk rock at all and start calling it rockabilly.

      2. is it only racist if Americans appropriate influences from other cultures but never the other way around?

        Oh, I think we all know the SJW’s answer to that question: yes, in fact the very act of being a white American makes you racist. QED.

    2. Cultural appropriation, much like patriarchy or microaggressions, was only ever intended as a cudgel for selectively beating dissidents over the head. It’s meant to be taken seriously as a threat, not a serious academic undertaking.

      1. And yet what they’re arguing against looks a lot like acceptance and inclusiveness.

        When white people start listening to black music, it is evidence of integration–the opposite of segregation.

        They’re fighting against what they want, and I don’t think it’s part of any grand scheme. I don’t think they’re being disingenuous about what they want in terms of racial equality.

        I think they just haven’t thought it through. They’re barking up the wrong tree. The Klan and the neo-nazis don’t believe in cultural appropriation either! The anti-cultural appropriation people should think about why.

        1. Oh, I agree, it’s brainless and twerpy grievance peddling and absolutely sincere, but I’m saying they took it up because it’s a useful cudgel. They didn’t reason themselves into regretfully hating Western culture.

  38. I’ve had this argument with progs on Facebook before. When i pointed out that “cultural appropriation” is how culture HAPPENS, they stopped responding to me.

    1. I’ll bet they’re just waiting for you to be willing to have a rational conversation about it. And by rational they mean agreeing with them.

      1. The idea of rational thinking was appropriated from the ancient Babylonians, and is thus verboten to all right-thinking socially just progressive types!

        1. Nice, I might have to “appropriate” that.

  39. I always bristle at the moniker Caucasian when referring to Americans of European descent. Caucasians are peoples from the Caucasus Mountain region in western Russia.

    Think of the Tsarnaev brothers.

    This labeling is analogous to calling all Africans Moroccan, or all Asians Thai.

    1. All Asians are Chinese, even those Chinese japs or those Chinese from Thailand. Thainese.

      1. Chinks, slopes, gooks, what’s the difference?

        1. Gooks are actually Korean. It comes from the Korean word “Hangook” which means Korean.

    2. “I always bristle at the moniker Caucasian when referring to Americans of European descent.”

      Generally speaking, caucasians generally don’t refer to themselves that way.

      In fact, has there ever been a group of people in history more sensitive to calling themselves something that won’t piss other people off?

      Don’t call yourself white because that emphasizes skin color.

      Don’t call yourself American because Mexicans, Central Americans, and South Americans are all American, too.

      Don’t call yourself Caucasian now, too?

      How ’bout we call ourselves whatever we want, and if you find it offensive, you can can go fuck yourself?

      1. People like to think that because they are race obsessed, everyone else must be too. Fact is that most white people don’t spend any time thinking about what it is be be a white person. And I think that is a good thing. If we want to get past a nasty racial history, a good step in that direction is to stop defining yourself based on race.

          1. It’s awesome!

      2. I usually call myself by my first name

        1. Wut?

      3. I’m Batman

        1. No you are not.
          /Alex trebeck

          1. Now I’m othered

      4. How ’bout we call ourselves whatever we want

        Cracker works for me.

        1. Pork… America’s other White Privilege?

    3. More analogous to calling all east Asians “mongoloid” as it comes from old and discredited racial theory. Words do sometimes have more than one meaning.

    4. I found out recently that i am actually something like 1/256th legit Caucasian. Back off my culture, white man!

      Fun fact: in Russia, people from the Caucasus are disparagingly referred to as “chyorniy,” which means black.

      1. I found out after 400 years in america, my ancestors were/are still 99 percent British isles white. Racist ancestors or most racist ancestors.

        1. Probably not a lot of branches on your family tree, huh?

          1. Well, he is Florida Man.

          2. That would explain it…

            1. “We’re cool with all three races – Welsh, Gael, AND Cornish!”

  40. Gender is a malleable social construct, biology be damned, but culture must be held inviolable and sacrosanct.

  41. This is just another manifestation of the Progressive need for stasis.

    1. It’s not stasis they are after, it is victimhood.

      Much of the left is built on the idea of social justice and exploitation by a powerful upper class. You can’t fight for social justice and the end of exploitation unless there is social injustice and exploitation of the weak.

      The offended and exploited are heroes in this ideology, so there is an incentive to find ways that you’ve been offended and exploited. But a lot of the institutional exploitation and oppression has been rooted out in the West. There are still some social norms and power structures that favor certain groups and disadvantage others, but they are largely informal. And even those are being eroded.

      In order to remain relevant people who buy into this have to find new victims to champion. And wouldn’t you know it, victims appear.

      1. It’s worth stressing that while Marxism, socialism, and progressivism may have arisen in response to true problems, these philosophies addressed those problems and built a worldview that was largely built on envy. So much of this is motivated by envy.

        And the modern conservative-populist movement has arisen largely as a reaction to the progressive left.

        1. It’s dumb, angry populists all the way down!

  42. Is it unethical for Europeans to refrain from playing out their cultural norms by conquering the rest of the world?

    The Clerisy must love this “Cultural Appropriation” game; it rewards people who have a shallow education full of broad platitudes and blowzy generalizations.

  43. Yet another example of a situation where Caucasians can’t win no matter what we do: if we embrace another culture of cuisine we’re guilty of Cultural Appropriation, and if we eschew those same things then we’re branded as Xenophobic. Seriously, what are we supposed to do?

    1. We are supposed to do whatever we want and ignore the shrill morons who think cultural appropriation is some great sin.

      1. Good answer.

    2. The frustrating thing is that the cultural isolationists had at the very heart of their monstrously overgrown thicket of identity grievances a kernal of legitimacy in recognizing the insularity of cultural conservatism and pushing for inclusivity. Because we should be a tolerant, pluralistic society in which the rights and peculiarities of every individual are respected. But tolerance and equality under the law quickly gave way to brow-beating and scalp-taking as the notion of Western pluralism gave way to vilifying the West and championing identities, not individuals. Something which should have engendered a stronger social fabric by stitching together various pieces into a quilt instead became a project to weave a single, perfect tapestry by first eliminating all taint of social dissidence. Because they don’t want pluralism, they want a bland, colorless, uniform world.

  44. I’m really white. Do I have to give up my Jimi Hendrix, MIles Davis, and B. B. King? Mexican food and women are my favorite. Do I have to give them up? I guess I am just a closet racist.

    1. You’re allowed to keep all of those things as long as you demonstrate sufficient guilt about your white privilege.

    2. “I’m really white. Do I have to give up my Jimi Hendrix, MIles Davis, and B. B. King?”

      Well – Miles Davis’ “In a Silent Way” is in sonata form. He’s therefore just as guilty of appropriating Austrian culture, so fair is fair.

      1. And “sonata” itself is an Italian term appropriated to describe an Austrian form. Not sure where to go with that.

  45. There is no existing undiluted culture that hasn’t in some way acquired the strains and mores of others which makes cultural purists fucking imbeciles.

    I, frankly, have no fucking idea what any woman sees in the femininity-demolishing Sari but who the fuck cares what I or some boot-grazing cunt in India thinks about her wearing it?

  46. I didn’t see this example mentioned. Boston’s Museum of Fine Art had a recent kerfuffle about “Kimono Wednesdays” centered around Monet’s painting of his wife in a you-know-what.

    Can’t decide if it’s horrifying or funny. A little of both, maybe.

    1. Asian American activists and their supporters besieged the exhibit with signs like “Try on the kimono: Learn what it’s like to be a racist imperialist today!”

      These people really are morons aren’t they? Claiming that trying on a kimono makes one feel like a “racist imperialist” seems to be suggesting that dressing like a Japanese person = dressing like a racist imperialist. Are they finally admiting that early 20th century Japan was a racist imperialist nation? Or are they just dipshits?

      …Rhetorical question, I suspec I know the answer.

  47. Social justice is a cult. They should be looked at with the derision we normally reserve for Scientologists. If someone says you’re wearing the wrong clothes for your race or ethnicity, the proper response to that racist piece of shit is to politely request that they FUCK OFF AND DIE.

    1. So far the common response to people who aggressively pigeonhole others into predetermined cultural or social compartments is to submit and conform to the culture warrior when in fact the culture warrior hasn’t a single fucking leg to stand on in the first goddamn place.

      Who the fuck owns a culture in the first place to the extent that some from of heritage grants an adherent or a particular race a bullying modifier to confront others over perceived trespass? Humanity is a fucked-up bunch of evolution, man.

    2. If someone says you’re wearing the wrong clothes for your race or ethnicity, the proper response to that racist piece of shit is to politely request that they FUCK OFF AND DIE.

      I could not disagree more. I cannot think of a reason this request should be made politely.

  48. Where I live there are a lot of African-American women wearing Saris. I wonder what the reaction of the SJWs is to that. Ha, ha.

    1. Members of minority groups get a pass on this…for now.

  49. Are bukkake parties considered appropriation of Japanese culture? Asking for a friend.

    1. As long as the ‘recipient’ is of Japanese ancestry, it should be totally OK. Or completely wrong. I’m still trying to figure our these rules…

    2. Hedonism escaped the cultural box centuries ago so appropriation is likely pretty muddled at this point.

    3. You have to do it with the proper respectfulness of the originating culture AND loudly proclaim that this an intregal part of an ancient and honored culture.

      Wearing an Indian headress is always optional.

  50. I like to cook Asian.

    Make me stop.

    1. Canadian Human Rights Commission to the rescue!

  51. So by these moron’s logic, everytime I go to Taekwon-do class and put on my uniform I’m commiting an act of “cultural appropriation” by stealing form Korean culture (who actually stole the uniform (gi) from the Japanese).

    I’d love for one of these assholes to tell me that to my face sometime.

    1. SinanJu is the only true form of martial arts.

    2. Wasn’t the gi forced on the Koreans by their Japanese colonizers?

  52. In unrelated food and beverage new – Berkeley’s pop tax not working so well:…..kfw==&p2;=

    1. Cawley said that one reason this particular sin tax may not be working is due to it being limited to one city.

      True Socialism can only happen once the whole world is socialist.

      1. And screw Beverage

        ‘Oh you can’t cut and paste a portion of the article – you have to just include a link to the whole thing only.’

        Fuck those guys.

  53. OK – if no one else is going to do it, I will:

    Do you know who *else* was obsessed with cultural purity?

    1. Donald Trump?

  54. Cultural appropriation mongers should watch this movie. Chinese food has quite a glorious history.

    Also Greek, Italian, and French cuisines have been influenced by Chinese cuisine for centuries, and Chinese cuisine has been influenced by American cuisine.

    Round, and round she goes. =D

      1. Fixed the link.

  55. The SJWs can have my burrito when they pry it from my cold, dead hand. I probably shouldn’t be giving them any ideas…

  56. So if you do your own laundry,..?

  57. Huh. part of the reason I missed so many articles here today is because I am preparing delicious sesame pork.

    Also, most of the ‘chinese’ food here is actually american in origin.

    I love chinese-american food and I love authentic chinese (some of it anyway) and fuck anyone who doesn’t like that.

    1. ^^ Thumbs up. This guy.

  58. So the Japanese will have to give up eating Tempura(itself a Latin based word) because they adopted it from the Portuguese? Will Japanese male students no longer be able to wear the Gakuran derived from European-style naval uniforms?

  59. I wonder if, in the alleged mind of an SWJ, if I would be forgiven any appropriation of Japanese culture I might happen to commit based on the fact that I have lived in Japan for most of my adult life and am fluent in the language. I couldn’t care less either way but I wonder what their cosmic cultural bullshit calculus would come up with.

  60. The SJW’s can pry the kimchi from this white guy’s cold dead fingers.

  61. Re this comment: “I was reminded of this disturbing conversation by reading Reason contributor Cathy Young’s superb op-ed “To the new culture cops, everything is appropriation” in last Sunday’s Washington Post. ”

    Well copyright is one of the biggest mechanisms behind various find of cultural appropriation and stifling of free speech–which is one reason almost all principled libertarians oppose copyright now. But not Ms. Young. She supports 50 year copyright terms. How “liberal” of her.…..copyright/

  62. If white people can’t cook Chinese food then Chinese people can’t cook burgers and Pizza. This means none of you can drink tea in the morning. My typical breakfast consists of watermelon and red tea. Does this mean I’m not American. Of course not, American blood still rushes through my veins. I just happen to enjoy red tea which comes from China.

    I’m sick of this political correctness garbage. I thought America was suppose to recognize other cultures while preserving our own culture, traditions and believes. By extension, this means Africans can’t eat American food and Vice Versa. I’m sick of these left wing idiots.

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