Cultural appropriation is the idea that adopting elements of a foreign culture, from dressing up as Mariachis to wearing dreadlocks if you’re not black, is oppressive. Ein volk, ein culture. Naturally, the concept was invented by campus progressives.
The consequence of this regressive, segregationist view of culture is the rise of racial identity politics on campus. But that’s not what this article is about. In my research on cultural appropriation, I’ve uncovered a shocking truth, a great, unspoken crime against humanity, hidden in plain sight. It is the greatest, longest-running, and most heinous act of appropriation in global history.
The appropriation of Western Civilisation.
This diabolical act of appropriation has been hidden in plain sight. For centuries, nation after nation brutally, viciously, mercilessly appropriated western culture. Just as they did Rwanda, an uncaring world averted its eyes, and this act of global racism has gone unacknowledged. Until now.
Half-Pakistani in descent, I feel a personal sense of guilt at how non-western countries have unapologetically oppressed their fellow nations. I’ve therefore taken it upon myself to compile a list of all the things the world has culturally appropriated from the west, in hope that this injustice might one day be corrected.
Alfred North Whitehead described philosophy as “a series of footnotes to Plato.” A series of culturally appropriated footnotes to Plato, he meant to say. In the middle ages, the Arabs set up entire libraries devoted to translating and appropriating Greek and Roman philosophers. How dare they? The west appropriated some of it back later, but that doesn’t excuse the initial crime.
Look out at the skyline of any modern, non-western city, and you will find it looks strangely similar to a modern, western city. The Arab states are the worst offenders, taking the beautiful steel glass creations of the west and turning them into garish monstrosities. It’s like entire cities started wearing Sombreros for Halloween and forgot to take them off. Why does the west allow this to continue?
People are so obsessed by free speech that they’ll actually fight their own countries just to appropriate it. From Latin American dictatorships to Communist China, nefarious activists have a long history of fighting to appropriate free speech. Some are so devoted to their nefarious ways that they’ve died in their quest to appropriate it. Because westerners are ridden with guilt over this curse on the world, many of the West’s most progressive thinkers are fighting to end free speech across university campuses and social media platforms, to stop any further foolhardy deaths. At least I think that’s why they’re doing it.
This is another western cultural creation that causes non-westerners to go into rabid fits of appropriation-addled hunger. Entire wars have been waged and governments deposed for the chance to appropriate these. Once again, to discourage further violence in the rest of the world, caring western activists have decided to end due process on American campuses, with a clever device they call “Title IX.” Once again, Islamic countries have the best track record in resisting the urge to appropriate: instead of due process, Islamic State beheads people and throws them off buildings.
Aside from Islamic countries, some of which are making a commendable effort to restrain themselves, most countries around the world have adopted a western political ideology of some kind. The history of the postwar period, for the most part, is the history of third world nations fighting over their favourite western political ideology, like nuclear-armed otakus fighting over their favourite waifu. Some of them still are. It’s disgusting.
Country doctor Edward Jenner invented the vaccine in England, 1776. And if there was any justice in the world, that’s exactly where it should have stayed. Sure, his smallpox vaccine saved the lives of hundreds of millions of children around the world, but those lives are now forever tarnished with the original sin of cultural appropriation. What could be worse?
I know the Chinese technically invented it, but this is basically British now, right?
The Scientific Method
Yes, science can be appropriated. As postmodern feminists tell us, science is just another cultural/social construct. And it’s one that’s been stolen from the west. Every lab built, every experiment conducted, every breakthrough made is another unacceptable insult to western scientists. Isaac Asimov said, “There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.” Yeah, if they’re massive racists.
Asian drivers might not have the greatest reputation, but the fact that they’re driving at all is down to the western invention of the car. Henry Ford’s methods of mass production, too, have been shamelessly appropriated by many developing countries, without so much as a thank-you.
Have you ever been beaten by a Korean person at Starcraft? Now you can feel personally racially victimised. The first video games were created on early western computers in the 1950s, by bored scientists. Yes, a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry was spawned because western scientists had time to kill. Now the entire world has appropriated them. Western progressives are making a valiant effort to reverse the damage, spreading hostility to sexy Japanese video games in particular across all their media outlets, but it seems their attempts are only making things worse.
Every time an Indian worker answers a tech support call, they are stealing another piece of western culture. Much of the economy in developing nations like India and the Philippines is based on business process outsourcing, which is impossible without the computer. Entire economies, built on the back of cultural appropriation! Alan Turing rolls in his grave.
“This is for everyone,” said the British inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, at the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony. A traitor to his own culture if there ever was one.
Campus social justice warriors insist that the greatest victims of cultural appropriation are non-western cultures, like the Native Americans, Japan, and Mexico. No doubt, they would use some sort of intellectual contortion to claim that western culture can’t be appropriated. Something about “punching up,” or “culture plus power” no doubt.
But looking through history, a neutral observer can’t fail to see that western culture is the most appropriated of them all. Other countries have been borrowing, imitating, and remixing western culture for centuries.
And that, unquestionably, is a good thing. Look at what the Japanese have done with video games, computers, and animation. Look at the brilliance of Korean composers, trained in classical European music. Look at the industriousness of China. Western culture has enriched the world, just as non-western cultures have. It’s certainly possible to condemn it. But then, as demonstrated above, your arguments would look ridiculous.