Cultural Appropriation

Is This Prom Dress an Act of Cultural Appropriation?

Social media can actually be pretty good at hosting heated conversations about racism and sexism.

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@daumkeziah, Twitter

Few topics are more controversial than "cultural appropriation," or using distinctive dress, music, food, or literature when the user doesn't belong to the race or ethnicity (or sometimes the gender or sexual orientation) that produced it. A watershed moment in the debate happened in 2016, when a black female student at San Francisco State threw punches at a white male student for wearing dreadlocks. Arguments about cultural appropriation have a long and often tendentious history and involve everything from minstrelsy to drag shows to yoga to tattoos.

Over the weekend, a white girl from Salt Lake City found herself at the center of a cultural-appropriation tempest when she tweeted pictures of herself and her girlfriends wearing dresses associated with Chinese and Chinese-American women. In one of the pictures, she and her friends are bowing and holding their hands in a traditional greeting or prayer, while their white dates make gang signs behind them:

The pictures led Chinese-American Jeremy Lam to tweet "my culture in NOT your goddamn prom dress" and post a twitterstorm about the history of the dress, also known as a cheongsam.

As of this morning, Lam's original tweet had almost 40,000 retweets and nearly 170,000 likes. Keziah received thousands of responses but has stood firm in her resolve about the dress.

There was one more shoe to drop in all this. It turns out that Lam, whose Twitter bio reads, "almost as intolerant to lactose as i am to your bullshit ¯\_(?)_/¯," could be hoist on his petard. Mike Headly, a YouTuber who talks about racial issues from an African-American perspective, waded through Lam's past tweets and found at least a few in which the Asian American wrote such things as "I'm eating tamales with chopsticks. This is why America was founded" and "NIGGA DAYUM!" and laughed along with a story about someone using chopsticks to smoke a blunt ("What a fucking legend").

Lam responded to criticism that he was guilty of cultural appropriation and insensitivity by laying out more of his thoughts and posing this:

There are at least several lessons to be drawn from this back and forth, but I'll focus on just two.

First, it shows just how tendentious charges of appropriation often are. They rely of brutally static definitions of culture that are spectacularly at odds with the ways in which individuals use motifs and materials from outside their immediate experience to define themselves. People who cannot draw distinctions between, say, minstrel shows, which served to maintain racial separation and inequality, and the stilyagi, anti-Stalin protesters who dressed like ersatz jazz musicians to register dissent within the Soviet Union, are not working very hard. More important, as Reason contributor Cathy Young, who grew up in Moscow before moving to the United States in the final years of the Cold War, has written,

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.

Even displays that appear more offensive—such as David Bowie's video for the song "China Girl," which trades in chopsticks-style musical signatures and stereotypical images of submissive, "Oriental" women and features Bowie pulling his eyes back to simulate the epicanthic fold common in many Asians—are more complicated than they initially seem. That video notwithstanding, Bowie was nothing if not a patron of global musical and fashion styles, and it's unquestionable that he helped to bring all sorts of racial, ethnic, and sexual subcultures into the mainstream through collaborations with figures as far-flung as Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, German performer Klaus Nomi, black American Tina Turner, and so many more. There's a strong case to be made that figures such as Bowie, even while enacting stereotypes or ransacking "foreign" musical traditions, are celebrating and engaging them. Anyone who insists that only people from a particular culture or background can traffic in its traditions will soon find themselves presiding over a dead world.

Second, it's remarkable and worth celebrating that Twitter created the space for an at times heated and ugly debate over cultural appropriation. As Lam wrote, "The past 48 hours of my tweet becoming viral have been incredibly eye opening, and educational." That's absolutely true and, in the main, it seems as if the conversation led at least the two people at the center of it to air their thinking and reach some level of comfort and resolution.

As the congressional hearings on Facebook suggest, we're in the midst of a social panic over social media. Many Americans feel inundated by media and scared that platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are simultaneously overloading us with non-credible information and coarsening the culture. The Twitter spat over a white girl's "Chinese" dress should be taken as a sign that the internet is actually pretty good at hosting meaningful public conversations.

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276 responses to “Is This Prom Dress an Act of Cultural Appropriation?

  1. Is This Prom Dress an Act of Cultural Appropriation?

    Yes, and there is nothing wrong with that.

    1. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    2. On a side note;
      that is some top shelf pussy.

      1. No, I have it on very good authority that Jeremy lam is totally testicular.

      2. The ones in the dark green and dark blue dresses can go home. The one in the dark blue is too fat and the one in the dark green is too homely. The rest of them are game.

    3. It’s only “Cultural Appropriation” when Elton John or Dennis Rodman is wearing the dress.

  2. “Cultural appropriation” is the most retarded complaint to come from a retarded generation of perpetual whiners

    1. There’s way more retarded stuff than this, as retarded as it is. Scary.

    2. Agreed. It’s not even worthy of discussion.

  3. The answer is NO, because the very concept of “cultural appropriation” is bullshit. Culture isn’t property. It can’t be “appropriated”.

    1. Once upon a time, cultural exchange was the wet dream of Globalist progs. Amazing how things change.

      1. It’s all about who can claim victimhood, the current coin of the realm.

    2. Well said.

    3. You might be interested in the book by Michael Brown “Who Owns Native Culture?” (Harvard University Press, 2004), in which he explores the notion of “culture” as property, and what would that even mean.

  4. Nice to see that the young lady that the SJW was trying to pick on is standing her ground. Apologizing to the Perpetually Offended is a fool’s errand, because all they want is attention. Fuck Jeremy Lam, and fuck anyone who jumped on his shitty bandwagon.

    -jcr

    1. Unless you are a Chinese dress designer and this is a ripoff of one of your designs, you don’t have a leg to stand on. It ain’t yours in any meaningful way, other than “I like this stuff too”.

      They sound like hipster fans of some indie band that suddenly has a crossover hit. “NO! You can’t listen to them! I heard them first! They are MINE!”

      1. Even then, fashion “designs” are generally not protected IP, only the trademarked labels, which is why designers make their logos so big.

    2. Every cultural appropriation whinge should be answered with “Fuck off, pussy”, and nothing else.

      1. Right you are, Tom. These “cultural appropriation” assholes are racists. How does one know the “cultural appropriation” is occurring but for the so-called “appropriators” race? Maybe one must be a certain shade of black in order to culturally appropriate black culture? How about native Americans wearing cowboy boots and western wear? It’s all a bunch racist of bullshit.

        Yes …. tell ’em to “Fuck off, pussy.”

      2. Agreed. When she is older and wiser, I hope that’s exactly what she’ll do.

        “It’s a dress. I liked it. I bought it. I’ll wear what I damned well please.”

    3. What the fuck kind of name for a Chinese guy is ‘Jeremy’?

      1. A culturally appropriated one.

      2. Good catch!

        Apparently Jeremy is based on Jeremiah, from Hebrew. I guess we should beat down his parents on social media now.

  5. In college I learned that any “debate” about racial issues between a white person and a POC isn’t really a debate at all. The POC’s perspective is automatically the more valid one, since the white person is speaking from a position of privilege.

    If an Asian-American tells a white person his or her or their clothing is an act of cultural appropriation, then it’s an act of cultural appropriation. End of story.

    1. I think all those girls should take those dresses off. Then the picture taking can start.

      1. Going naked would be appropriating the culture of some Amazon tribes.

        1. +1 dad’s old National Geographic mags

          1. Stop talking about us. National Geographic is all we had.

          2. Stop talking about us. National Geographic is all we had.

    2. Why are you culturally appropriating their outrage? You, as a white person, don’t get to feel their oppression and outrage. You need to act privileged at all times, because THAT, and only that, is your culture.

    3. There were lots of actual Chinese and other Asian folks on Twitter defending that girl and loving the dress. Just sayin’.

      1. In culturally appropriated English.

        1. Many were probably also wearing culturally appropriates jeans and t-shirts.

          1. Replying on appropriated computers thru a appropriated internet, powered by appropriated electricity.

    4. “In college I learned that any “debate” about racial issues between a white person and a POC isn’t really a debate at all. ”

      Then you learned an incorrect thing.

      “The POC’s perspective is automatically the more valid one, since the white person is speaking from a position of privilege.”

      Because your college said so.

      “If an Asian-American tells a white person his or her or their clothing is an act of cultural appropriation, then it’s an act of cultural appropriation.”

      If an Asian-American tells me I am an Asian-American, does that make me an Asian-American? That would have been a question I would have asked in college, but you seem like the type who would nod in bewildered awe at every facile idea spat in your direction.

      1. Had you asked this question in college, you’d have received an F at the very least. Perhaps barred from the classroom and made to write a letter of apology.

    5. Please write a book.

  6. Kids want gun control, leave them alone, they are just kids.

    Kids wear the wrong dresses, time to fire up a Twitter mob.

  7. Personally, I’m surprised that more people don’t get on these culture warrior types for how coarse grain their groupings are.

    Like, Chinese right now refers to a billion plus people. Over history it refers to billions more in many different political, ethnic, and cultural configurations. South China and North China have been separate for large, large portions of their history. The fact that they are united now is coincidence. But yet, a billion people in China get lumped together as Chinese culture.

    The most egregious ones of this I see is Africans and Native Americans. Both of these seem to have a lot of political value for offense politics and are thus used freely, and both that refer any person who comes from one of thousands of cultures, somewhere on an entire continent.

    And if you ever meet one of these people, they won’t say they’re African or Native American. They’ll tell you which culture they’re actually from. But we still lump them all together. Perhaps because it’s easier to package them together for political purposes.

    1. I’m sure there are at least several thousands of Chinese people employed in the business of selling Qipao dresses to the export market, and I’d like to hear what they’d have to say to Jeremy Lam.

      -jcr

      1. That’s probably exactly where her dress came from. I guess they didn’t mind culturally-appropriating her money.

    2. It’s pretty bigoted to begin with to assume someone belongs to a particular culture because of the way they look or their name. The while idea of cultural appropriation is racist to the core.

      1. Chipper, you and I are on the same page: “The whole idea of cultural appropriation is racist to the core.” And what about “cultural appropriation” in sports? Should Native Americans be allowed to play tennis? Help me out with this horrible quandary. Should white boys at preppy, Ivy League schools be allowed to play lacrosse? OMG??? I won’t be able to sleep tonight. Should lacrosse teams be allowed to dress in native American garb? OH! THE HUMANITY.

    3. I just did extensive research (by reading the wikipedia page for cheongsam). The Shanghaiese creators of thecheongsam appropriated Manchurian culture.

      Oh, but, wait, what is this?:

      “Bian thinks that the cheongsam originates from neither the robe nor the ch?ngp?o. It is an adaption of western-style dress during the Republic of China era when people were open to the western cultures. In his opinion, the cheongsam was a hybrid of traditional Chinese costumes and western costumes such as the waistcoat and one-piece dress.”

      And:

      “The cheongsam went along well with the western overcoat and the scarf, and portrayed a unique East Asian modernity, epitomizing the Shanghainese population in general. As Western fashions changed, the basic cheongsam design changed, too, introducing high-neck sleeveless dresses, bell-like sleeves, and the black lace frothing at the hem of a ball gown.”

    4. ” South China and North China have been separate for large, large portions of their history. The fact that they are united now is coincidence.”

      North and South Chinese are both Han Chinese. Anyone who writes in ‘han zi’, Chinese characters, are considered Han Chinese. Those who come from cultures that don’t use these characters, like the Mongolians or the Muslims, (or have no writing system at all) are not considered Han. The fact that they are united is not coincidental at all. You don’t understand the genius of the system. As you say there is a wide variety of Han people. But they can understand each others’ writing. Their writing unifies them. Europe has a writing system that works in the opposite way. The Roman letters have been adopted and the system work to fragment rather than unite. Had say, France and Italy both used a Chinese character system, they would likely consider themselves as the same nation. Just like north and south China.

      “But yet, a billion people in China get lumped together as Chinese culture.”

      A billion Chinese? That’s more than two billion chopsticks! Of course you lump them together. What else are you gonna do with them?

      1. The logic of your assertion that the Roman alphabet fragments Europe is weak at best. It is rather a difference in Latin culture vs Scando-Germanic cultures. The use of similar language does not create a singular culture. Throughout history there are many examples of adversarial relationships between people with linguistic relationships. Prior to the creation of the Modern German state in the mid-19th century, German principalities were constantly at war with each other and with the linguistically related Danish and Dutch. Historically and anthropologically speaking your hypothesis is not founded in real world observations.

        1. ” The use of similar language does not create a singular culture.”

          You misunderstand me. Probably my fault. My idea: a similar language plus an ideographic writing system = one nation.

  8. I object to your premise. There is nothing “controversial” about cultural appropriation, any more than there is anything “controversial” about Flat Earth Theory. Sure, you can find a bunch of people who are really heated about the topic and have made a bunch of videos explaining how NASA is behind a global conspiracy to sell the round earth hoax, but nobody pays attention to them, because they are insane and not worth your time.

    People who shout about cultural appropriation are no different. I don’t blame them… I blame the idiots who pay attention to them.

    1. “Cyto|4.30.18 @ 10:13AM|#

      I object to your premise. There is nothing “controversial” about cultural appropriation, any more than there is anything “controversial” about Flat Earth Theory. Sure, you can find a bunch of people who are really heated about the topic and have made a bunch of videos explaining how NASA is behind a global conspiracy to sell the round earth hoax, but nobody pays attention to them, because they are insane and not worth your time.

      People who shout about cultural appropriation are no different. I don’t blame them… I blame the idiots who pay attention to them.”

      We want to ignore them. But the leftist media and college teachers keep throwing these jokers in our faces.

  9. As somebody else pointed out, it’s cultural appropriation when Americans eat sushi, when Japanese eat Big Macs it’s cultural imperialism.

    1. In either case, it’s an example of how evil Americans are. Which means these people don’t give a shit about anything but a chance to bash America and nobody should take anything they say seriously.

  10. If one may self-identify with a gender or race, why not with a culture?

    1. You can self-identify with a gender, but never a race or a culture. Learn the rules, Rich, damnit.

      1. Rachel Dolezal disagrees.

        1. She does. But the rules say she doesn’t get to, and that’s why you know her name.

        2. Her name is Nkechi Amare Diallo.

  11. “Cultural appropriation” belongs in the same category of complete left wing bullshit as “white privilege.”

    1. If there is white privilege, then there must be white culture.

      How about we prohibit everyone else from using anything invented by whites? I’d give up wearing my kimono to see that…

  12. If “cultural appropriation” has any meaning then Bowie making musical.styles of other cultures mainstream in Western pop culture is something to be condemned. The concept of cultural appropriation is incompatible with appreciating other cultures and any sort of cultural melting pot.

    1. Paul Simon has some ‘splainin’ to do!

      1. This is probably a 30 year old memory, but I was listening to a Paul Simon interview where he was relating a time when he was in the Andes doing research on local music.

        He had a woman play him a song on a guitar, which later led to the song, El Condor Pasa, then he asked her to place something else and she played an earlier song of Paul Simon’s.

        Cultural appropriation is one of the best things humans do.

        1. Paul Simon, great musician, he brought in new ideas in music from many cultures. It is really what art is all about.

          Everyone learns and borrows from the rest.

          I fool around on the drums all my life. I love to hear and try and learn from anything that catches my ear. A new groove from reggae or African, American blues, rock, hip hop, anything, there is no limit to that.

          You are right and it is not limited to art or music. We all learn from each other.

          Libertarians should know this without question. Free trade, peaceful relations, individual opportunity.

        2. There are several Chinese restaurants in this area that play easy-listening Muzak of Chinese orchestral interpretations of Western pop hits. If the food’s good I figure I can probably tolerate an all-Chinese-string-instruments-orchestral 10CC’s “I’m Not In Love.”

          Same with Mexican restaurants. A lot of them play Mexipop that’s just Spanish-language covers of American pop.

          There’s no such thing as “cultural appropriation.” There’s just consuming what you like.

    2. That style of musical melange has been condemned for a long time. Paul Simon made a fantastic album (Graceland) out of collaborations with African musicians way back in 1986. Although critically praised and commercially successful, it also was politically protested for violating the cultural boycott of South Africa and accused of exploiting African music and musicians in an act of cultural appropriation.

      These people were idiots back then, and they’ve grown up to become professors teaching others to be even bigger idiots.

      1. “melange”

        +1 Spice
        /Nerd

        1. Muad’dib agrees.

          Just finished that book as part of my new found interest in Sci Fi. Great read. Would you recommend the sequels?

          1. The sequels are iffy. There are some excellent scenes, some amazing character and civilization development, but I remember being happy that I was done reading the entire series (both times 🙂 ).

            Strangely, the Brian Herbert noodling around in the universe books are awful, but awful in an entertaining way. I perversely enjoyed them, though part of that is that I listened to them in my car on an awesome road trip.

  13. Gee, Mr. Lam, what kind of given name is Jeremy for someone who identifies primarily with Chinese ethnic culture?

    1. I’m sure I’ve seen this idiot linked with another brain-meltingly stupid piece of SJW nonsense in recent months. He, and this whole issue, aren’t worth wasting any more brain cells over.

  14. Another aspect of this is the TV ads for ancestral genetic testing, or whatever they call it.

    “I had no idea I was 45% Nigerian, but now that I know I can proudly dress in this wild hat!”

    “I was raised German, but I found out I’m mostly Scottish. Dig my kit!”

    1. *kilt*

      *** gets culturally-appropriated coffee ***

      1. To Scots, “kit” refers to the entirety of what you’re wearing. The Kilt is part of the Kit.

        -jcr

        1. The “kit” is what’s under the kilt.

  15. Good thing his parents named him a traditional Chinese name, Jeremy.

    1. It’s pronounced “Jelemy”.

      1. Jelemy Ram?

        1. Oh wait, no, using the Western alphabet is cultural appropriation, isn’t it, Jelemy Ram?

          1. And Arabic numerals. Then there’s the number 0.

  16. Good food is good food. Nice clothes are nice clothes. Good music is good music. If you like something, enjoy it.

    1. I think this is where the obligatory “racist!” response goes.

    2. Hear, hear!

      -jcr

  17. A lot of his responses consist of just showing someone’s criticism of him and then him going “I can’t even…”

    Why this is offensive is not readily apparent to everyone. If he really believes that this is causing harm, then he should explain himself genuinely and honestly. He should engage people. Because I can guarantee you that girl doesn’t want to particularly injure the people of the world with her fashion styling. Even if she is probably Mormon.

    1. The evidence is right there in her own words:

      I’m not deleting my post because I’ve done nothing but show my love for the culture. It’s a fucking dress. And it’s beautiful.

      That is how it is done. Epic response. In fact, this is the only rational response.

      Unfortunately, a lot of people live in places where they would feel bullied into towing the party line (major east and west coast cities). She’s lucky to live in an area where the vast majority will be on her side, allowing her to give the proper response.

      1. toeing. sheesh.

        or lion. Either one. But pick just one meme for your metaphor.

        1. Either way, I would think toeing a lion would be a good way to get your entire foot ripped off.

  18. So, should Jeremy stay true to his culture, and give up pants? (At least, jeans.)

    And forget this superficial fashion bullshit, who gets to claim exclusive rights to things like the wheel, indoor plumbing, and electricity?

    1. The Scots, obviously.

      1. Not to mention economics.

    2. He should also give up English and the writing system he is using. Start speaking and writing his own language, not some foreign piece of crap.

  19. It would also seem that the complainers are using culturally-appropriated *language*.

  20. Sorry, that first photo is seriously white folks bein’ white folks, laughing at other people for the crime of not being like us. If I were Asian I’d be pissed. Since I’m “Euro”, I’m just embarrassed.

    1. If you saw the way wypipo are made fun of by other cultures, would you be pissed? And if so, why? Why is it at all worth being “pissed” about this?

      1. Does being “pissed” count as cultural appropriation of imaginary Russian hookers?

        1. Either that or it’s appropriation of British drinking culture.

    2. If I were Asian I’d be pissed.

      That’s because you’re a white leftist who thinks you’re skin color is a form of Original Sin.

      It’s telling that most of the people freaking out about this are either SWPLs or 2nd/3rd generation immigrant descendants who have been marinating in “hate YT” educational curriculums. Actual Chinese people don’t give a fuck about this.

    3. If I were Asian I’d be pissed. Since I’m “Euro”, I’m just embarrassed.

      That’s because you’re a simpleton and a child.

  21. You know how to stop cultural appropriation? Stop international trade – China attempted something like that once, and it was so successful I’m surprised more countries don’t do it.

    Also prohibit immigration. And emigration. And free communication between cultures.

    But do we really have to conduct a “debate” on cultural appropriation with a Chinese-American named Jeremy who writes in English and uses the term “n___a”?

    Confucius says, “sometimes the retardation gets so bad that even looking at it kills of your brain cells.”

    1. See? I typed “of” instead of “off” because posting on this story has made *me* retarded.

  22. I think we’re forgetting the most important part of this story: that she looks pretty hot in that dress.

        1. No, but I completely understand where John is coming from on this issue.

          1. You are dead to me, Fredo.

      1. I’d say she’s slender with a fairly athletic build. But you can have the chubster in the dark blue dress to her left in the group photo.

        1. They’re all white girls. None of them got the booty.

          1. +1 backdoor

            1. I hope Heroic Mulatto is okay, somewhere out there.

            2. Less booty = easier access.

          2. Um, regarding the girl in question…look again.

            1. What, you think maybe she’s white hispanic?

    1. Wood.

    2. Do she got a booty?

      She doooooooo……

  23. Cultural appropriate doesn’t exist outside the miniscule minds of SJWhiners.

    It’s like the luminiferous aether – lots of talk about something that wasn’t actually there.

    1. Well, cultural appropriation does exists. But it’s generally a good thing.

      1. Without appropriation any culture is dead.

  24. the stupid part is that it is not truly Chinese. its a Eruo American dress style that the Chinese only made from the decorative material their Han robes were made from. So who appropriated from whom.

  25. ‘Yes, I used to be more ignorant than I am now”.

    Surprised he’s survived this long, because he’s still pretty fucking ignorant – if he was actually more ignorant earlier in his life I’m surprised he didn’t die in some Darwin-worthy accident…….

    1. I used to be more ignorant than I am now

      I’m pretty sure that’s SJW code speak for “I went to college where I learned what an EVUL bigot I was through 4+ years of ultra left wing brainwashing.”

      1. Either that or he considers Chinese self criticism sessions part of his culture.

        1. ^^ This guy gets it.

  26. “Few topics are more controversial than “cultural appropriation,”

    No. Few topics are less controversial.
    Thousand of retards tweeting at each other does not a controversy make.
    Jeremy Lam is a pussy.

    And more, in my newsletter: Libertarian wisdom.

  27. “”But my past does not define me.”

    Sorry dude, but your past is the ONLY thing that defines you. After twenty years your past will start to fade, unless you make political statements and then it’s permanent.

    That you were a dick five years ago means you are still a dick today.

    1. That you were a dick five years ago means you are still a dick today.

      That’s not true. Though, I think it’s funny saying his past doesn’t define him, when his outrage is based on a perceived theft from his ancestors.

  28. Nick – those are not “gang signs”. They’re referencing H3H3’s Vape Nation satire video.

    1. That was a pretty funny video.

    2. So the guys are also culturally appropriating from another nation, but as usual the patriarchy lets them off the hook.

    3. +1 organic churro phat vape

    4. I have no idea what that “V” thing with the fingers is supposed to be but it’s everywhere like a f’in cancer now. It’s idiotic.

      1. Uh…. Vape Nation… duh! You are so like, last week.

        Apparently.

        I dunno. I just learned about it 45 minutes ago myself.

  29. It’s more than past time to end blepharoplasty

  30. “That dress is culturally appropriative, you should take it off.”

    Also, on the assumption of legal maturity:

    Would not, would not, would not, Would not, would not, would not
    would, would, would, would not*, would, would

    *Actual answer subject change based on whether the punch is spiked or not.

    1. Are you listing them from lower right to upper left?

    2. “would/would not”……culturally appropriate?

      1. “Why don’t we go back to my place and you can slip into something a little less culturally appropriating?”

  31. I saw Turandot over the weekend, and I couldn’t help thinking about how that particular artform culturally appropriates out the goddamn ass and nobody really says much. This of all the high art we’d have to eliminate if we took these standards as far as some want to go.

    1. “Jeremy, I have some bad news…even Tony thinks you’re a left-wing nut case.”

    2. Speaking of Puccini, don’t even get Jeremy Lam started on Madame Butterfly.

  32. “Oh wait, no, using the Western alphabet is cultural appropriation, isn’t it, Jelemy Ram?”

    Let it be noted here that the person claiming Chinese cultural appropriation is doing so writing in *English*!

    1. The beauty of which is that modern English is nothing but a giant appropriation of several languages.

      1. Due to the many waves of conquest and colonization of what is today England.

  33. And here I thought the girls were trying to do the James Bond pose (and, like girls, doing it wrong).

  34. A watershed moment in the debate happened in 2016, when a black female student at San Francisco State threw punches at a white male student for wearing dreadlocks.

    To be fair, a punch to the face is the most appropriate way to respond to a white dude with dreadlocks.

    1. Or a samurai top knot.

    2. Truly watershed. It’ll be in all the history books.

    3. It’s like nobody remembers the Matrix. Dreadlocks are part of the white dude culture now.

      1. It’s like nobody remembers the Matrix.

        So, it turns out that the whole “no one can be told what the Matrix is” and “do not talk about Fight Club” was more “Save yourself the trouble and don’t even try to explain this shit to millennials.”

        I’m pretty sure all of us are at a loss to explain Jon Favreau’s hair in PCU.

  35. I’m more concerned that not a single one of the males in that photo is even wearing semiformal.

    1. They’re Mormon. You have to just accept that they will do these things.

      1. Come to think of it, they also wear business dress for their bicycle outings.

        1. This is why they got sent to their own state.

  36. I wonder if Lam knows that that kind of whining is the cultural property of Jews?

  37. “Over the weekend, a white girl from Salt Lake City”

    I was going to angrily demand the author explain how he knows the girl is white, then I read the ‘Salt Lake City’ part.

    1. My friend Ray-Ray lives there now, too.

      1. Are you trying to make me imagine that Ray-Ray is black? Damn you!!

        1. Ray-Ray is Filipino. You’re such a racist.

          1. Mea Culpa. Dammit.. Can’t…. stop….appropriating……

            1. “Mea Culpa”

              Hey, quit with the appropriation already!

              1. Eddie, when you step on a joke, do you prefer the one-footed pivot, or the two-footed stomp?

                1. Eddie comes off the wall with a full-on showtime kick to the joke’s head.

  38. Twitter was invented by 4 white guys. Lam has no right to appropriate my culture.

  39. The guy who invented basketball was white. Just sayin’.

    1. Well, he was Canadian, which is the junior varsity of white people. But still.

      1. How dare you. The Great White North. Ain’t nothing JV about that.

        1. The USA’s younger sister, still clinging to Mom’s apron strings.

      2. NEW RULE. No talk of Canadians until I am present or notified.

        I DON’T WANT ANYONE CULTURALLY APPROPRIATING ME.

        1. Sore-y, but my granddad’s granddad was from Nova Scotia, so i’m allowed.

          1. /narrows gaze.

            Nova Sco….shuns.

  40. Also, not sure if anyone’s said it yet, but for the record Jeremy Lam is a garbage human being who wants all of society to be straitjacketed into mutually incomprehensible ghettos.

    1. I came here to say that, but got distracted cracking jokes and calling people ‘retard’.

      1. Way to culturally appropriate from the Retard-American community, shitlord.

  41. I don’t think glittery dresses are actually part of traditional Chinese culture in the first place. Bringing the hands together to represent prayer is not mainly associated with China either.

    1. The hands together is a greeting, “wai”, common in the Thai/Cambodia/ etc. part of SE Asia.

      1. It’s actually the most obscene gesture imaginable in certain parts of Borneo.

        Source: I just said it at random and I don’t know for sure it’s false.

        1. Awesome. May your overconfident falsehoods become internet truth.

  42. Culture is how people in certain groups define their group identity through various methods of presentation, ceremony, diet, etcetera. However they live is their ‘culture’. Hence culture is fluid. It changes over time and is itself _defined by those who live within it_.

    To ‘appropriate’ something is to take it for your own use without permission which deprives the original owner of it’s usage.

    How can cultural symbolism that isn’t a physical item (ie not talking about museums and cultural artifacts here) be ‘appropriated’? The adoption of a stylistic cultural icon by an individual outside of the originating culture doesn’t _prevent_ a person of the original culture from still using it.

    The term ‘cultural appropriation’ is, in itself, a prejudiced term when used as an accusation against people outside the originating culture. Since that adopting person is themselves a part of a cultural group the cultural icon isn’t being stolen, it’s merely (or memely) spreading. It’s a form of social osmosis. It’s gone _mainstream_!

    Since the accusation of ‘cultural appropriation’ seems to be used overwhelming against people of different racial groups, instead of more generally (eg computer nerds don’t generally go around making accusations of ‘cultural appropriation’ of the broader societal adoption of the term ‘nerd’) it can be argued that accusations of ‘cultural appropriation’ are, themselves, racist.

    Which is really weird given that scientists tell us race is a social construct.

    1. The adoption of a stylistic cultural icon by an individual outside of the originating culture doesn’t _prevent_ a person of the original culture from still using it.

      You don’t hipster properly. Once something has been appriated by the masses it has to stop being used by the creators because it’s now mainstream.

      1. “You don’t hipster properly. Once something has been appriated (sic) by the masses it has to stop being used by the creators because it’s now mainstream.”

        Ah, but I’m not a hipster, I’m an Aussie bogan.

        And as an Aussie bogan, if anyone tells me I have to stop wearing my beloved ugg boots given their broader overseas adoption and thus having become ‘mainstream’, I might just have to switch to some sort of anti-establishment group. Maybe I’ll become punk.

        Quick, someone please assure me that ugg boots will never be considered mainstream!

        1. Bogan? I don’t know what that is but it sounds racist. ALT-RIGHT ALERT!

          1. Calm down, Paul. Bogan is just Strine for “redneck white trash” so it can’t possibly be racist.

            1. X – please tell me that ugg boots aren’t, and will never be, mainstream.

              Puh-leeeeeease.

              1. Bad news, Kate. Like a transport hulk full of British convicts, that ship sailed a long time ago.

                1. NOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooo………………….

              2. X – please tell me that ugg boots aren’t, and will never be, mainstream.

                They are mainstream and they’re nearly singularly responsible for a 40% drop in my sex drive.

                1. ‘They are mainstream and they’re nearly singularly responsible for a 40% drop in my sex drive’

                  …is that necessarily a bad thing?

                  1. …is that necessarily a bad thing?

                    I suppose that depends on who’s on the business end… if you get my meaning.

                    1. I think if we all looked into our hearts, we’d know that it’s for the best for everyone.

                    2. I mean, it’s not like Paul was doing anything with his sex drive.

          2. Wait … I’m being racist against myself?

            [perplexed]

            ;P

            Diane (or Paul … whoever), mate, you clearly have access to the internet.

            …use your web search engine…

            1. I think “Diane” (if that’s xer real name) was being sarcastic.

              1. Aaaaah.

                The internet.

                /eyeroll.

            2. Why would I google the term when I can generate a heated off-topic subthread full of snark. You must be new here.

      2. Rappers ‘culturally appropriated’ the then Italian manufacturer Fila back in the 1980s.

        I used to wear FIla because I played sports like tennis. Then the rappers came along and ruined it and so I migrated to Diadora.

        /crosses fingers.

        1. Fubu you!

        2. Let’s get back to our flippity-floppity-floo.

    2. How can cultural symbolism that isn’t a physical item (ie not talking about museums and cultural artifacts here) be ‘appropriated’? The adoption of a stylistic cultural icon by an individual outside of the originating culture doesn’t _prevent_ a person of the original culture from still using it.

      Even more so, in the U.S., of all places. The United States is literally a state that is a mish-mash of culture. Was bluegrass music’s evolution from Irish music “appropriation”? Was rock and roll’s evolution from blues and jazz “appropriation”? Is all the great art and literature that arises from black culture “appropriation”?

      It’s literally a wholesale rejection of not only history, but themselves. We are all heavily influenced and shaped, to one degree or another, of the culture we grow up in. And in the U.S., that consists of cultures from Asia, Africa, Europe, and everywhere else.

  43. Hey Jeremy. I presume you eat pizza.

    As an Italian….MY CULTURE IS NOT YOUR FUCKEN DOESN’T EXIST TO FEED YOU.

    The concept of ‘cultural appropriation’ is such a spectacularly epic that runs afoul of the human experience.

    This trouble maker is just as ridiculous as the idiot who complained Apu.

    1. I don’t even know if I should point out that they fail to carry their retardation to its logical conclusion, because someday they might.

      1. Thinking things to their logical end is not a strength of SJW.

      2. I have had friends literally say that about American style pizza. It’s also their way of arguing that America does not have a culture because it’s all taken from somewhere else.

        Which, the logical conclusion of that is also really weird.

        1. Didn’t noodles originally come from China? And for sure tomatoes came from the Americas.

          1. I actually looked it up awhile ago, and, at least according to wikipedia, the noodle thing was some Marco Polo legend. Probably a myth, but it’s unknown.

            Though Italy did have food that was basically Lasagna back in Roman times. So, they had something close at least.

          2. The Polo thing is more myth and there’s evidence it existed in Italy prior to. In any event, the pasta we consume is wheat durum pasta is an Italian thing. The noodle in China was rice based if I’m correct.

    2. Your culture appropriated tomatoes and peppers from the Aztecs, who were merely the last in a long line of Mesoamerican appropriators who had stolen South American nightshade cultivation techniques. You best be just eating bread with cheese on it, shitlord.

      1. This is inconvenient, and I’m offended.

      2. IT’S WHAT YOU DO WITH IT!

        Meh.

    3. Hey Rufus. I like pineapple on my pizza.

      o.o

      1. Ok. Now you’re all just trolling me.

        It’s not nice to poke a half-wit like me.

  44. Keziah….

    DO NOT APOLOGIZE.

    You have nothing to apologize for. You did nothing wrong.

    If anyone should apologize it’s Jeremy for stirring trouble. Get over yourself Jeremy.

  45. Rules for Tweeters:

    If you tweet enough to post outrage about some girl’s prom dress tweet, you tweet enough to have something in your history similarly outrageous enough to come back to bite you.

    1. If you post an agnryTweet about a girl’s prom, you’re just an asshole.

      1. “Asshole chic” is the current rage.

  46. Mike Headly, a YouTuber who talks about racial issues from an African-American perspective, waded through Lam’s past tweets and found at least a few in which the Asian American wrote such things as “I’m eating tamales with chopsticks. This is why America was founded” and “NIGGA DAYUM!” and laughed along with a story about someone using chopsticks to smoke a blunt (“What a fucking legend”).

    And then, Lam replies by acknowledging the posts and noting that his past doesn’t define him.

    The big question mark is this: will people such as Lam afford the same level of understanding to other people as they do themselves? Reasonable people realize that humans aren’t static entities or “identities”, rather they change and evolve. The problem is that the worldview of so many are diametrically opposed to this observation and rational reflection. Essentially, the notion of seeing other human beings as merely “identities” is antithetical to humanism.

    1. It’s also likely that as more and more people refuse to be shamed into silence by the religious zeal of these ideologues, the more and more extreme the “grievances” will get. A good question is, where is the boundary going to be, and how extreme is it going to get?

    2. Lam seems to be saying that he should be defined by his present tweets and not his past ones.

      Ouch. How’s that working out for you?

  47. As a Chinese American, I apologize profusely that my Chinese wife wore the traditional British white wedding gown. Cultural appropriation is wrong and I was insensitive to the culture of the British.

    Wait…no. No, I don’t. Fuck off, Jeremy Lam.

    1. cluskillz, awesome post. However, next time please refrain from using English sentence structure.

  48. There is such a thing as culture. There is not such a thing as cultural appropriation. You don’t own culture because of your skin color, the language you speak or the things that are popular where you and your family come from.

    In every case, those pointing out “cultural appropriation” or using the idea of it in any way are bigots that desire division and segregation. The point is that we are all missing the point if we say that these people are simply wrong. They aren’t just won they are evil. Whites only fountains were evil. They weren’t just wrong. The black female student that threw punches because a white male was wearing dreadlocks was not just wrong. She had an evil heart.

    If I use a set of chop sticks when I’m eating Asian food am I wrong just because my skin is light brown.

  49. That was like 5 minutes ago. My past does not define me.

  50. There is no such thing as cultural appropriation.
    Deal with it.

  51. Again….stupid arguments like these only further proves how racist the left is. This is what true ‘white privilege’ looks like. Meaning – white people should know better. All other races are allowed to wear and borrow ideas / styles from ‘white people’, but white people should know better than to borrow from any other culture. Which only reiterates, in a backwards way, the point that white people are superior. The left uses situations like this so show ‘cultural appropriation’ but the truth is, there is nothing more racist than limiting a culture to its own culture. I declare that all Asians should only be allowed to wear kimonos, native clothing, makeup from Asian brands and eat Asian food.

    Let’s start pointing out celebrities that live in ranch styled haciendas to be culturally appropriating architecture not native to their people…. let’s keep this going. Stores in chinatowns across the US should not be allowed to profit from selling items which represent the Asian culture to any other culture other than Asian.

    1. Good points Agnes. I’m not a right winger at all but you have pegged the left in this country exactly. They are much more racist that the Trump fellow. And while they love to call him a fascist, they are fascist to the core. The love spreading the idea that you either agree with them 100% or you’re an extremist takes on a religious tone of only the most extreme religious groups. Political terrorists is what they are.

      1. Oh get over yourselves.

        If you knew me you’d probably group me among the ‘leftist’ and ‘SJW’s you like to deride and yet I think this ‘cultural appropriation’ talk is claptrap for the reason I stated earlier above. A ‘leftist’ could just as easily deride your ‘righteous’ selves and counterparts for any number of historical reasons, and lets not forget Agnes “there is nothing more racist than limiting a culture to its own culture” that a regular cry from many ‘right’ leaning people is ‘go back to your own country’ and to build a wall to ‘stop the mexicans’!

        Reason does not belong to, nor is lost to, either those you would label as ‘left’ or ‘right’. People in each group can be equally reasoning or unreasoning. Labelling what you see as your opposition with such tags, however, fails to advance any discussions in any kind of meaningful manner.

        Get over your righteous, smug selves and help build reason rather than just fling shit around like any other ape can do.

        Coz supposedly that’s what this blog is supposed to be about, or so it says on it’s ‘About..” page.

        1. I’m sorry, but rationality was invented by the Greeks, so lefties won’t want to use it; too white. Therefore you can’t be grouped with the SJWs or the collectivists.

        2. I don’t totally agree with you though as limiting a culture to its own is different from wanting to have secure borders and keep criminals out. Not a good comparison. Im sure I could think of an example of why in a different context but im sure you can as well. Just saying!

  52. I am just relieve that prom dresses are no longer stripper attire.

    1. I’s Utah.

  53. In related news, the NYC public library has a temporary exhibit of sacred Jewish, Muslim, and Christian books. The Muslim and Christian books contain stories about Jewish prophets. The Muslim books also contain story about Jesus and Mary.

  54. Clearly the time has come for someone to appropriate Julie Brown’s “The Homecoming Queen Has Got A Gun!”

  55. I’d like to culturally appropriate her ass!

  56. Shouldn’t the complainer change his first name? He’s appropriating Judeo-Christian culture

  57. My fucking culture isn’t your baseball cap, Jeremy!

  58. “It’s a fucking dress!”

    Well, was it?

  59. The fabric department in a local discount store has that kind of brocaded material by the big, big bolt. They’ll sell it to anyone.
    And it’s a good looking dress, well-done, and a lot more interesting than the mine run of prom dresses.

  60. “Culture” is defined much too narrowly. It’s not restricted to race or nationality. One region of a country will have a different “culture” than another region. One city can have a different culture than another. It’s only the degree that might be different. When one bothers to notice this obvious fact, the whole concept of “cultural appropriation” can get awfully ridiculous.

    1. The concept doesn’t need any help being ridiculous.

  61. Well I guess no more wearing jeans or straightening hair since they are part of Caucasian culture.

    1. The movie Malcolm X opens with a pre-conversion Malcolm putting lye in his hair to strengthen it (perhaps a pun – lye/lie?). It’s the ultimate expression of his inauthenticity before he got woke.

      1. straighten not strengthen

  62. Few topics are more controversial than “cultural appropriation,”

    Really Nick? I can probably think of hundreds of things more controversial than this non-controversy bullshit culture warriors have dreamed up.

    Gotta get invited to those cocktail parties, I suppose.

  63. Oh the irony of people from different cultures accusing us of cultural appropriation IN ENGLISH. Ok, deal, but give us our damn language back first.

  64. She has the same birthday as Hitler. Figures!

  65. Fuck no and the socialist media can go fuck themselves.

  66. How could the store even sell it?! To a white girl!? The store should only sell to Asians. And how could it have been manufactured?! And sold to retailers that might sell to non-Asians!! Oh, my goodness! Cancel Halloween! Unless you have a permit. And Comic-Con. And all super hero costumes for kiddos….wait – those actors aren’t actually super heros…. No dressing up as anyone you’re not – ever !!
    As the girl said : it’s a dress. Relax people.

  67. How about it’s fucking America, the land of cultural appropriation. Besides, that dress was probably made in China, so it HAS to be authentic. You know, like how Taco Bell is real Mexican food because it’s made by real Mexicans.

  68. She rocked the dress.

  69. Oh boy ! Shut down “Lin King” and all “Hamilton” shows.

  70. And here I thought cultural appropriation was a good thing. So.. . If we can get literacy up to 99% whose culture will we be appropriating?

  71. It is a great dress. And she was killing it with her responses. Hope she had fun at prom.

  72. Maybe Trump can have our trade advisers ask the Chinese to only sell us white shit for white folks.

  73. Who knew that the wardrobe from “The World of Suzie Wong” was so popular today.

  74. Chinese-American Jeremy Lam tweeted “my culture in NOT your goddamn prom dress”

    Yet English is NOT her language, American food is not her food, etc, etc. But she has no problem culturally appropriating the English language, along with American food…

    It seem such puerile complainers either don’t know how to think or they believe there’s one rule for others but such rules don’t apply to them. Either way, they don’t understand the meaning of equality, nor its spirit.

  75. This wins the award for the dumbest non issue of the week.

    Some idiot tweets something and it becomes a national issue.

    Where have I heard that before?

    She looks nice in the dress. It is just a young person going out to prom.

  76. Few topics are more controversial than “cultural appropriation,” or using distinctive dress, music, food, or literature when the user doesn’t belong to the race or ethnicity (or sometimes the gender or sexual orientation) that produced it.

    Well, I sure hope people adopting that insane standard will act on it consistently. So, if you identify black or Hispanic, stay away from any distinctive European culture, dress, music, food, or literature. Good luck trying not to starve or freeze.

  77. Also, that’s not a “traditional Chinese dress”, that’s a 1960’s American cocktail waitress dress with a gold-and-red floral pattern. It would have been thoroughly inappropriate in imperial China, and it would have gotten you shot during the cultural revolution.

    Of course, since Jeremy Lam’s culture is, in fact, “ignorant post-millennial American jerk”, he wouldn’t know that.

  78. Miss Daum has nothing to apologize for… it’s a lovely dress and she did it justice.

    Now, for all you non-Californian non-residents of Gold Country, the Sierra Nevada foothills where the Gold Rush took place… don’t you dare wear blue jeans in public, especially Levi 501 jeans. That’s my culture you’re appropriating.

    I’ll be watching.

  79. Lessons? There are no lessons here, except that some people are idiots. Don’t even engage.

  80. He technically said his culture was *not* the prom dress. If we take that literally, the entire controversy goes away.

    Alternatively, if we take his statement to mean it *is* his culture, he should start wearing cheongsams. They’re “his” culture, after all. It would be rather unfair for him to hoard culture for himself and then not use it.

  81. Another stupid thing to get upset about. A white person wearing clothing that originally came from Asia, Africa is no different than and person of Asian or African decent wearing clothes that came from Europe.

    I drive a Japanese car and that doesn’t mean that I’m trying to be Japanese.

  82. One thing jumps out to me…Why is her account verified? She’s a kid, for chrissakes. The verified makes me think this is bullshit. Staged to drive outrage

  83. People who come to America must understand that they are culturally appropriating our culture when they come here.
    America is the melting pot of cultures and to believe in cultural appropriation is not to believe in America or America’s ideals.
    If you do not want to see your culture adopted and shared by all Americans then you should go home to your culture and stop messing with ours!
    Our culture does not believe that cultural appropriation is a problem, rather, we believe it is a virtue that brings us all together and make a broader and more diverse America.

  84. “Jeremy Lam to tweet “my culture in NOT your goddamn prom dress”

    Jeremey Lam whines about cultural appropriation over Caucasian girls wearing Chinese style dresses while he sports a Caucasian first name, Jeremy is certainly not Chinese by any means. He also probably wears Haines underwear, Oxford cloth shirts ans Haggar slacks. None of which are Chinese. Talk about stealing another’s culture, Jeremy is more guilty than the girls.

  85. I am dismayed a lovely young woman from Utah uses such language on Twitter. Obscenity in 2018 is not shocking or thought provoking, it’s a boring, crass cliche. Another cultural influence from those damned, dirty hippies.

  86. I am dismayed a lovely young woman from Utah uses such language on Twitter. Obscenity in 2018 is not shocking or thought provoking, it’s a boring, crass cliche. Another cultural influence from those damned, dirty hippies.

  87. Poor journalism… The article misses the point (or meme, you could say) behind the picture.

    First off, they are allowed to wear whatever style clothes they want. People do it all the time.

    Second. What are they doing in the picture? No – not gang signs. They are doing the Papa bless and Vape Nation hand sign!!! It’s literally from a popular comedy show by creators Ethan and Hila from H3H3 Productions.

    They even talk about it on their H3 Podcast. They also do interviews of alot of famous people, check it out! I’m dissapointed in Reason.com for not doing their research well. Get good!

  88. Unfortunately, often young people make small mistakes, but all this is not intentional. Really it looks like she’s not very respectful of Asian culture that caused a riot. One day my friend also ran into trouble for clothes, he took his father’s carp wallet to school from the site https://www.bikerringshop.com/products/carp-wallet , which had a skull image on it. Because of this, one of the teachers was very angry with him

  89. Now in the fashion world chaos, you need to dress very carefully in order not to hurt someone’s feelings or culture as in this case. Although I’m pretty sure the girl didn’t have anything bad on her mind. Fortunately, we have a girl dress up in the store linen magiclinen which has no such problems:)

  90. Now in the fashion world chaos, you need to dress very carefully in order not to hurt someone’s feelings or culture as in this case. Although I’m pretty sure the girl didn’t have anything bad on her mind. Fortunately, we have a girl dress up in the store linen magiclinen which has no such problems:)

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