This Cinco de Mayo, I discovered something: silver tequila is delicious! I am not sure why I hadn’t tried silver tequila before. I think I tried another kind of tequila at one point, and it was not very good. I also think people told me that tequilas caused horrific hangovers. Anyway, tequila (at least silver) is good, and does not cause an horrific hangover, at least to me, when I drink plenty of liquids along with copious amounts of tequila.
But to the ‘cultural appropriation’ crowd, the mere fact that I, an European-American, drank tequila, could be ‘problematic.’ I mean, tequila is a Mexican drink! How dare an European-American, appropriate their drink?!
Suppose I went to a bar and ordered a gin and tonic, or, as in the above example, a tequila. Imagine if the bartender said ‘Hang on, you can’t have that, you’re Irish/Swedish-American! You can have Guinness, whisky, or aquavit, nothing else!’ (Nevermind that I don’t know half my ethnic background, so I can’t even say which drinks belong to my ethnic ancestors).
That is, in essence, what those who push the ‘cultural appropriation’ concept are trying to do – but not just in bars, rather in the entire world. Think how ridiculous it would be if Jamaicans were only allowed to drink rum, if Mexicans were the only people who could have tequila, and if the Irish could not share their wonderful whisky with the world. If, at a bar or liquor shop, instead of asking for your order, the tender asked for your ethnicity, and gave you a drink to match.
It sounds ridiculous when described this way. And yet, how is this any different from what those who attack ‘cultural appropriation’ are attacking in other areas?
To be fair, there is a kind of cultural appropriation which is bad. It is when people from one group make a thing and inspire people from another group who become successful at the expense of the first group. So for example, as someone (I think it was Baraka, Stein’s running mate from 2016) said, it is problematic when, say, the Beatles are inspired by a group of black musicians, and they make it big while the black musicians remain in poverty. But that is the result of racism, not because it is inherently bad to share cultures! As that same person said, ‘We all dig one another.’ In other words, we all share our discoveries. We all move forward together, benefiting from the good things from every culture that we encounter. We all take the good accomplishments of others and try to use them to make more accomplishments (and if you think this isn’t true: did you personally invent writing? Because you’re ‘appropriating’ the Latin alphabet from other people, you monster! Not only that, writing was developed by Sumerians, or some other culture, and Europeans like the Greeks and Romans appropriated it!).
The upshot is, with ‘cultural appropriation,’ you get a fully stocked bar. Without it, you get a couple of ethnic drinks, while everyone’s drinks are divided based on their ancestry rather than based on their personal preferences. I know which one I prefer.