American Elephants

All About Cultural Appropriation by The Elephant's Child
August 1, 2018, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Education, Freedom, History | Tags: , ,

When did “Cultural Appropriation” become an expletive and a cause for condemnation? I heard about it now and then, but I particularly remember a case in Portland, when two young women visited Puerto Nuevo, Mexico and fell in love with a particular kind of burrito on sale there. They talked to cooks and peered into the windows of kitchens and took what they had learned back home and put their newfound knowledge to work in a taco truck. It was so popular that a local weekly newspaper wrote up a profile of the two entrepreneurs. Two white women, burritos and a taco truck. Cries of “Cultural Appropriation. ” They were accused of stealing and of preying on Mexican women.

The uproar was extensive and the shop closed. If burritos are sold in a Mexican restaurant, it’s fine, and there’s a taco truck that has been operating successfully a few blocks up the street in a gas station lot for months, apparently popular, but not run by two white women. Still you hear of another outcry of “cultural appropriation” every now and then, about all sorts of things—even Halloween costumes

The Columbian Exchange is another of those things that you should have learned about in history class. Beginning with Christopher Columbus, all sorts of things were exchanged between the new world and the old world. Always have been exchanges between peoples. The New World, the Americas, got cattle, sheep, pigs, and horses.  Onions, olives, turnips, coffee beans, peaches and pears, wheat, rice, barley and oats. Also smallpox, influenza, typhus measles, diphtheria, and whooping cough.

The New World sent back corn, tomatoes, potatoes, peanuts, turkeys, pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes, peppers, tobacco, pineapples, beans, vanilla and Cacao, and Syphilis. This is not a complete list.

We have kept on exchanging goods and ideas ever since. Have you seen many films from other countries around the world when nobody is wearing blue jeans?  Cultural Appropriation indeed!

A fascinating book that I recommend highly is 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann.  He followed up with 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. Great books.

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