reading time 4 minutes
I used to think that culture was the heritage of all mankind. That the best artists from all disciplines were inspired by their colleagues around the world. Think of Dutch poets who embraced the haiku or painters like Picasso who were indebted to African art more than a century ago. It has turned out to be a terrible misunderstanding. What appears to be a demonstration of the essential unity of humanity is in reality nothing more than robbery. This idea has been popular in the US for some time, but has now finally reached the most enlightened minds in the Netherlands. Better late than never. Lisa Djasmadi explains the real situation on the Knowledge Platform’s inclusive society. She does this mainly with examples from fashion: white girls adopting African-American hairstyles, Dutch textile manufacturers who conquered the West African textile market with batik motifs taken from Java, anything to make money, anything stealing cultural elements for personal gain. According to Djasmani, great restraint is appropriate if one wants to be inspired by the cultural traditions of others. You are so over the line. The site Asian Raisins takes a more radical stance on this issue. Alyssa Lepage’s visions aren’t bad either.
A good example of such cultural appropriation is Anne-Fay Kops, who, according to the NRC, has a black mother but white skin. She is therefore white, yet has used the black and African part of her family past for a performance, allegedly to ask for accountability for the colonial past. In an interview with NRC, she tries to defend herself against the waves of criticism she received for appropriating black history as a white woman. It even led to the loss of friendships. That’s how Bean gets his paycheck. Again: I used to think that a performance like Anne-Fay Kops was a great enrichment, but now I know better.
We must all do our part to cleanse the cultures of the world. It’s not too late to smoke out anyone and everyone who engages in cultural appropriation. Take jazz, for example, which has spread across the world with impunity for more than a century now. Or the salsa. Or other forms of world music. Or hip hop. They are based on cultural appropriation. At that time, African Americans took musical instruments and musical styles from Europe and mixed them with their own rhythms. At first they acquired mainly military marches, but as their dexterity increased, much more was added, even symphonic music. In the Caribbean, this is how rumba, merengue and other styles originated, plus the mixture of all these, salsa. For example, European music and European instruments were appropriated to get rich. And now look: this musical cultural appropriation now dominates music in many parts of the world. This work of theft has even completely pushed the original European music and dance into the background. Who’s still doing choppy tunes and clog dancing in the Netherlands? See how Beyoncé’s outfits, in terms of shape, color and style, are drawn entirely from Parisian, Roman and London catwalks.
Cultural appropriation drowns out all the original with shrill cries and intense colors. To think I was once tempted to learn salsa steps.
It won’t be easy, but we have to persevere and throw a lot into the cultural dustbin. A few examples:
That’s the way it should be. This is clean. This is the future:
Get rid of the lie that the world’s cultures inspire and enrich each other. For the cultural identity. We were warned just in time.
Postscript: Some people may think that cultural appropriation theorists have discovered a new, hitherto unnoticed element of oppression and subversion. Nothing is less true. Instead, they reinvent a previously designed wheel, albeit with a variant. In the first half of the last century, extensive warnings against this phenomenon were already issued, often with similar arguments. However, the analysis was partly different: the opponents of cultural appropriation then believed that it undermined one’s own culture. However, the fruits are the same: Cultural apartheid. And it’s about the fruits. For the enthusiasts this fascinating treatise: Unsolicited Music
Furthermore, I am of the opinion that the surcharge scandal should not disappear from the public, and neither should Groningen’s natural gas companies.
Listen The Memorial PalaceHan van der Horst and John Knieriem’s podcast about politics and history.