Cultural appropriation has been a redundant and pertinent concept on the world wide web.
This concept has also been prioritized by activists, liberals, some members of so-called minority groups, sympathizers of social justice, etc. Cultural appropriation is defined as one culture utilizing the cultural customs and propensities of another culture for their satisfaction and interests. This concept is nothing new in American history or world history.
But cultural appropriation is nothing but spontaneous order within the free market. According to libertarian and economic thought, spontaneous order is when the preferences, desires, wants and necessities of the consumer changes transitorily, which causes the adaptability of the producer to meet their demands in the marketplace. Hence, cultural customs, products, goods and services change based on what brings the most happiness or contentment to the consumer during a certain time within history or contemporaneity. Also, one of the biggest myths about cultural appropriation is that the socially and economically charter group exploits the uniqueness and originalities of a minority group for the purpose of their own economic interests.
In reality, cultural appropriation is practiced by the majority of the human population in the industrialized or developed world, and also in the developing countries who are not geographically, economically and politically insulated from the rest of the world. Yet, in this age of globalization, technological advancement and social media interconnectedness, an extremely microscopic portion of the population is actually isolated from the rest of the world on a societal basis. For example, America’s favorite foods are the hamburger and the frankfurter (the hot dog), when, ironically, these foods are named after German cities!
Additionally, the concept of the weekend originated in Germany, with the inclusion of recreational activities and the prerogative of leisure and relaxation or work and industriously on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays besides merely observing the Sabbath. Also, other ethnicities like the East Indians and Chinese have opened pizza parlors that have performed successfully, especially on the North East Coast of the United States. Not to mention, professional business attire typically consists of a suit with a necktie; that is a European influenced style of fashion. Also, some of the most prominent governmental officials and executives in China conduct business in Western-influenced business casual attire and it is in this paraphernalia that they broker lucrative business deals with the United States and the world that catalyzed to the devaluation of their currency, annual growth of their GDP by 9.9% since the liberalization policies in 1978 and beyond, and the United States owing $1.3 trillion in debt! There are also African American Muslims who speak Arabic, eat Arab food and dress in Arab paraphernalia.
With all this being said, are the aforementioned examples “cultural appropriation”? Not to mention, the cosmetological hairstyle of “dreadlocks” originated in India among other Ancient African civilizations, yet it was East Indian indentured servants in the Caribbean and South America who influenced the Rastafarian culture in Jamaica with their hairstyle. Additionally, it was the philosophical, epistemological, and metaphysical concepts of the Nile Valley that influenced Democritus, Plato, Socrates and the others that influenced Greek philosophy that catalyzed to their persecution by the State for introducing foreign concepts to Greece.
Cultural appropriation is nothing but demandable cultural traits that are utilizable in the free market. The reason why English is the most popular language in the world outside of government-imposed military conquests, colonialism, slavery and other atrocities are the incentives that make this language demandable or the purpose of advancement and economic progress. In addition, some traits’ survivability are based on the randomness of some traits, customs, products and habits being more valuable than others, hence their relevancy now. For example, in France two hundred years ago, French was not the most spoken language. Instead, the commoners spoke Breton, Flemish and other local dialects and it was the industrial revolution that created incentives for linguistic unification which catalyzed to the majority of the country embracing the French language.
I think that the people that complain about cultural appropriation are just misguided, confused, credulous and are whiners. If one has a problem with other ethnicities monetizing from your culture, then it is up to you to utilize your freedom to compete, because consumers have the proclivity to buy quality and authenticity. Hence, if you have the capability to sell your culture to a clientele that demands it, then get up from your seat of resentfulness and acrimoniousness and become a practitioner of entrepreneurship or investing.
We live in a globalized yet heterogeneous society which enables global cooperation, so everyone directly or indirectly can practice cultural appropriation, and it is through cultural appropriation that we all advance and become globally-sophisticated citizens. If that’s the case, is it cultural appropriation that Dr. Ing. Porsche of Germany invented the Porsche? Is it cultural appropriation that Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz of Germany invented the Mercedes-Benz? Is it cultural appropriation that Kiichiro Toyoda invented the Toyota automobiles, and eventually the company created the luxurious Lexus vehicles? Even though the automobile and automobile manufacturing started in the United States by Henry Ford, the aforementioned automobile manufacturing companies created some of the best durable, sustainable and fancy vehicles that are globally demanded by consumers. So if they practiced “cultural appropriation”, so be it!
Cultural appropriation is a part of the spontaneous order of the free market, and if you want to capitalize from it, then sell a demandable aspect of your culture, innovate, and compete!
* Baruti Kafele, who is affectionately known as ‘Baruti Libre’, is an intellectual entrepreneur, social scientist, proud libertarian, and real estate broker who ensures quality and superiority from his enterprises to his scholarship. Baruti Libre is the chief executive of the successful fashion and multimedia firm called LiBRE BRAND-Freedom of Flyness which is a globally-recognized and viable brand based on the ideals of liberty and freedom. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @BarutiLibre and visit his websites for literature and apparel.