A Different View on Cultural Appropriation

I always find it funny to hear middle- and upper- class whites talk about cultural appropriation since most of the time theirs is not the culture being appropriated. I know it’s just me, but there are just some things that shouldn’t be touched by non-group members. For example, if you are not Jewish, I believe you should not have a Seder. That is a very specific religious ritual that comes from a particular history and means particular things to that group. If you are not a member of that group, you are just play acting in my opinion. And play acting is not religious. It’s offensive.

So I’m all for the language about cultural appropriation. While there might be some clarification needed, the sentiment itself is one that is surely needed in UU circles.


6 thoughts on “A Different View on Cultural Appropriation

  1. I think it’s offensive for anyone of European descent to play at Christianity. Jesus was a Jew speaking to other Jews, and no one not born in the Middle East can possibly understand the cultural references in the Bible, or the importance of certain words and phrases used. If you don’t read Aramaic, you don’t get it.

  2. Since you want to go there…let’s go there.

    You are wrong on the history. If you know your Bible at all, you will notice that there is a whole book in there called ROMANS. hmmm. Last time I looked on a map, Rome was in Europe.

    Most of Paul’s missions were aimed towards “gentiles”, and his letters were written in Greek, not Aramaic. In fact all of the other books in the Christian Second Testament were written in Greek, not Aramaic.

    There were missions to parts outside of Judea very early on in Christian history. And yes, while Jesus was mostly talking to Jews, many “gentiles” heard him simply because of where in the world he was.

  3. Hi

    If you take all the cultural misappropriation stuff out of my head, nothing is left.

    Sorry. Maybe I am a bad example.

    Best wishes in dealing with this difficult issue.

  4. I am definitively undecided on the issue of “cultural (mis)appropriation.” I have been bemused by my church, which will produce a standing-room-only crowd to see Tibetan Buddhists sculpt yak butter but (some years later) refused to allow Xian crosses to remain on the recycled pews we purchased when we built our new building.

    But you give me pause, Kim, when you use the Seder as an example of a misappropriation. I was raised Southern Baptist, with all the parochiality that implies. When I went to grad school, my girl friend’s roommate was Jewish from the Northeast. As we got to know each other, I began to educate her to Southern Protestantism and she, me to the Jewish tradition. As part of that, she held a seder meal for our circle that spring.

    As we took the wine and the bitter herbs and read the scriptures, first in Hebrew and then (for my benefit) in English, my eyes were opened to Jesus’ Jewishness. It put the Synoptic Gospels in a brand new context for me and still ranks as one of the most insightful moments of my religious life. I now think of Jesus not as the straight-haired “simpering” Jesus familiar to a lot of 50-year-old Sunday school-goers but as a guy who could have looked a lot like Menachem Begin or even (perish the thot) Woody Allen. And I’ve come to appreciate the seder requirements to go and repent and make things right with your fellows.

    So I remain against “misappropriation” except when I’ve found and/or created something meaningful by my own misappropriations.

  5. (((I always find it funny to hear middle- and upper- class whites talk about cultural appropriation since most of the time theirs is not the culture being appropriated))


    I mean, do people of other cultures not sing “happy birthday,” watch MTV, eat thanksigiving turkeys, wear dockers, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc?

    Seems to me that white middle class culture is the most appropriated of all.

  6. Pingback: 'Cultural misappropriation,' 9/11, and more « uuworld.org : The Interdependent Web

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