Why Culture Matters

Haider, Shuda

Publisher:  Jacobin
Date Written:  05/09/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21670

In order to engage in a meaningful dialogue about 'cultural appropriation' we have to reject the framing that critics like Bari Weiss give it -- where culture becomes just another market.



New York Times op-ed columnist Bari Weiss recently decried what she calls the "increasingly strident left" for its "separate-but-equal" rhetoric around the question of cultural appropriation. According to Weiss, "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."

Cultural appropriation has become a flash point for debate. From sites as ordinary as dining rooms to those as lofty as the opera house, conflict has erupted over perceived power imbalances in cultural exchange. But Weiss seems unaware that the Left is hardly unified on this matter, with debates on cultural appropriation and identity politics perpetually starting feuds and ending friendships.

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