As a semi-serious news watcher and trend observer I have come across several stories about ‘cultural appropriation.’
The Wiki definition is:
Cultural appropriation, often framed as cultural misappropriation, is a concept in sociology dealing with the adoption of the elements of a minority culture by members of the dominant culture.
Examples given are as plenteous as are the shades of our citizen’s skin. Taco recipes, corn-row hair braiding, yoga, the Blues, Mardi Gras, etc… These allegedly represent the co-opting of the fruits of various cultures without having had to ‘pay the price’ for those benefits. The complaint is that some things are the cultural property of certain groups in much the same way that any ‘intellectual property’ is. It apparently deserves protection by patent and trademark. I have some sympathy for this conclusion but I cannot treat that topic here with the attention it rates.
Bari Weiss, a staff editor and writer in The NY Times writes:
“Charges of cultural appropriation are being hurled at every corner of American life: the art museum, the restaurant, the movie theater, the fashion show, the novel and, especially, the college campus. If there’s a safe space left, I’m not aware of it.”
I also will not explore, here, whether this is the natural outcome of a ‘melting pot’ culture like America, or whether this is an actual case of theft. I am specifically considering the case of an even more brazen piracy of a foreign idea.
The core moral teaching of Jesus is still the de facto standard of the ethical argument of the secularist (whether they acknowledge his influence or not). If there has ever been a product of an opposing worldview that has been so thoroughly poached by another as Christianity, I am unaware of it. Secularists go on about ‘human rights’ and ‘morality’ as if something in their map of reality required such ideas.
In Western culture, the predominate moral standard has been the ethic of Jesus. Whether those who claim to act in his name have been true to his positions are up to the reader to judge. What remains clear is that the many benefits of Christian thought are often enjoyed by many whose worldview denies the basis for those benefits.
Those Western values and norms that you enjoy – let me ask you…. did you pay for that?