Cultural appropriation police.

Tanya Tagaq: “I’m so mad!!!”

Too often, the publication The Guardian is a mouthpiece for Perfectionist Progressives, but this article on a twist on “cultural appropriation”, one of the stupidest and self contradictory ideas to be generated by Outrage Central (the factory where the Perfectionist Progressive machine formulates stupid ideas).

“Another week, another row over cultural appropriation. But this one is different. It’s not a white artist being accused of appropriating the cultural forms of a minority community but an Indigenous Canadian artist being condemned for using the musical style of another Indigenous community. Indigenous musicians in Canada are at one another’s throats over the Cree artist Cikwes’s use of a traditional Inuit singing technique.

Connie LeGrande, who performs under the name Cikwes, was nominated at the Canadian Indigenous Music awards in the best folk album category. LeGrande is a Nehiyaw, or Cree, one of Canada’s First Nations. On her album Isko, she uses katajjaq, a style of throat singing culturally and historically linked to Inuit groups. First Nations are Indigenous groups south of the Arctic Circle, Inuits those who live in the Arctic. For her Inuit critics, Cikwes did not have “permission to… take something that isn’t hers and make an album, and put it on iTunes, and have it for sale”. A number of Inuit artists are boycotting the awards in protest. Lisa Meeches, who oversees the awards, insists that cultural appropriation is not possible within the Indigenous community. Her critics accuse her of “pan-Indigenising” and speaking from a First Nations point of view rather than from an Inuit perspective.

”What the row exposes is that such controversies are less about equity and opposition to racism than about cultural gatekeeping – self-appointed guardians licensing themselves as arbiters of the correct forms of cultural borrowing. Such policing is deeply problematic, both artistically and politically. It’s true that cultural engagement does not take place on a level playing field but is shaped by racism and inequality. Confronting that requires us, however, to challenge racism, not police cultures. It’s difficult to see how creating gated cultures, and fragmenting struggles, helps promote social justice or who it empowers beyond the gatekeepers.”

That last paragraph illustrates the blindness of The Guardian’s point of view. The writer seems to think that “creating gated cultures, and fragmenting struggles” is a phenomenon apart from the idea of cultural appropriation. No, it is an integral part, in fact the foundation of C.A. Once a “people group” i.e. a group of people either self-identified or outside-identified by a label (Inuit, Mexican, Asian, homosexual, Black, White, etc.) are more than two strong, and engage in common behaviors or common customs or arts in common, they can be said have a culture. How did their culture come about? Did they not borrow something from those around them? Were they not somewhat influenced by a different culture? If they existed in total isolation and were not even aware of the existence of any other group, and no one else was aware of them, they might develop a unique indigenous culture. However, I don’t know of any culture in the world which fits the description of the previous sentence. Therefore, no culture or people group “owns” the customs, language, behavior, arts or cuisine that they enjoy. C.A. gatekeepers are simply jealous, or power hungry. It’s sad.