For & Against: Does Cultural Appropriation Exist? - The Reykjavik Grapevine

For & Against: Does Cultural Appropriation Exist?

For & Against: Does Cultural Appropriation Exist?

Published June 3, 2016

Photos by
Paul Fontaine

FOR:
Cultural appropriation is everywhere. You can see Icelanders chowing down on shwarma, drinking coffee—which doesn’t even grow in Iceland—and even rapping. We seem to be all too willing to just take things from other cultures without even asking, and making them our own.

Some might argue that what matters when it comes to appropriation is whether or not you understand and respect the thing you’re appropriating. As if wearing a Native American war bonnet as a prop in your rap video is any different from wearing a kimono at the Japanese Cultural Festival.

We must end cultural appropriation once and for all, and for that there is one simple solution: purge Icelandic society of all foreign influence.

I propose we start by eating only the food we can grow here, and cook it by boiling it to a flavorless mush, just as our ancestors would have done. All entertainment must consist of purely Icelandic television, movies and music, i.e. choirs singing folk songs. And of course, we have to get rid of all the cars.

It might seem strange to argue all these points in English, a foreign language. But change is slow to happen in Iceland. Give me some time. Regardless, cultural appropriation must be eradicated with extreme prejudice.

AGAINST:
Nowadays, you can’t do or say anything without offending someone. When Chris Rock tells a joke, it’s hilarious; but when I tell the exact same joke, all of the sudden I’m “insensitive” and “clueless” and “tone deaf.” Same deal goes for cultural appropriation.

If I want my child to dress up as an Indian princess (with FREE rubber tomahawk), what’s the big deal, anyway? It’s not like there are any Indians in Iceland who would get offended. Do I seriously need to walk on eggshells around thin-skinned performative white liberals who, let’s be honest now, are just showing off how “progressive” they are? I mean, if they’re not being directly affected, why else should they care?

Fact is, other cultures might have a lot of cool stuff, but they don’t always use these things in a funny or entertaining way. Like, I know the afro rose to prominence with the Black Power movement, but that’s boring. Put on a giant afro for a costume party, though, and the laughter never ends.

Cultural appropriation is just a buzzword, a badge of honour to show the world how caring and open-minded you are. Ironically, no one raises a stink if a black guy dresses up like a Viking, which is exactly like a whiter-than-white girl wrapping up in a sari and putting a red dot on her forehead to attend an Indian-themed dinner.

Liberal white people need to get over themselves and learn to embrace other cultures.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Book your day tours in Iceland right here!

Go travel with Grapevine tried and recommended tours by Grapevine. Fund Grapevine journalism by booking with us.


Magazine-articles
Opinion
1997: The Last Days of Rock

1997: The Last Days of Rock

by

Magazine-articles
Opinion
Don’t Ask Nanna: About The Elections

Don’t Ask Nanna: About The Elections

by

Magazine-articles
Opinion
Don’t Ask Nanna: About Veganism

Don’t Ask Nanna: About Veganism

by

Magazine-articles
Opinion
Last Words: May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favour

Last Words: May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favour

by

Show Me More!