I don’t understand this whole “appropriation” thing.
I dunno, I guess I just grew up thinking intermingling cultures was a GOOD thing. That we all have something relevant to bring to the table.
America was–at least at one point and time, at least according to some, possibly ideo-romantic points of view–supposed to be a melting. pot. People were supposed to be able to come here. All people. And we were supposed to all get along, because we are all people who deserve second chances.
Of course that’s unrealistic. And of course not everyone reading this is American.
But the internet is the new America.
I say this, not because I hold my nation–or my continent–on some lofty pedestal, but because the Americas WERE a place that people escaped to.
Hundreds–if not thousands–of people sailed here, risking everything, hoping for a better life.
Of course they had mixed results. Life is reality, and reality does not fit into whatever idealistic vision many people had. But, in the same way–the internet is where people of all nations come, in order to escape their previous reality. It’s an intermingling of many different cultures–and isn’t that a good thing?
When I went to Africa, they “Pokotized” us. We were visiting the Pokot tribe, see, and they wanted to give us gifts. “We see you’ve already visited the Maasai,” they laughed, referring to the beaded jewelry I wore the entirety of that trip.
And when one of their leaders came to our nation, our state–we “Texanized” him.
Not because we disrespect their culture.
Not because we wanted each other to be something else.
Because it was our way of honoring each other.
And that’s it, isn’t it?
It’s about respect.
I think–maybe–that so many people are so scared that people will walk all over their beliefs, their traditions, their religious items they hold so dear. And I can understand that. Really. I have things that are precious to me, too.
I just don’t think it’s worth all this—consternation.
See, I’m a Texan. I get made fun of a lot. I know, I know it’s not the same thing–but people hate Texans, y’know? And we kind of–we earn that. We puff ourselves up and stick our chests out. We get in other people’s faces, screaming, “MINE’S BIGGER THAN YOURS!’ And I can understand why people would loathe that.
I love it.
I love the way it’s taught me–just roll with it.
The way it’s taught me to not take everything seriously.
The way it’s taught me–it is ok to poke fun at yourself and the things you hold close to your heart. Not in a bad way. In a way that lets people know–this does not bother me, because I am secure in myself.
And if you’re secure in yourself–in your identity–in your culture–
What do you have to lose?
The answer is this: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
It is not a bad thing, for traditions to change.
We make new ones.
We always have.
It is not a bad thing, for others to take something dear to you, and to make something different based on it.
It’s a compliment. It’s saying, “I think your stuff is so great that it inspires me.”
It’s not worth fighting for. It’s not worth fighting over. Let it go.
I think, if people were willing to share their beliefs, their traditions, instead of hoarding them like some sort of priceless artifacts that must be preserved totally and completely….
the world would be a better place.
Just my two cents.