For John, BLUF: It is all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Way back on Wednesday Law Professor Ann Althouse wrote a column on cultural appropriation. It is "When is it appropriate to appropriate?"
Here is the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article on cultural appropriation:
Cultural appropriation, or cultural misappropriation is a sociological concept which views the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of a different culture as a largely negative phenomenon. Generally, an assumption that the culture being borrowed from is also being oppressed by the culture doing the borrowing is prerequisite to the concept. This view of cultural borrowing is controversial, both in academic circles, and in general society. According to proponents of the concept of cultural appropriation, such cultural borrowings are problematic for a variety of reasons, ranging from group identity, and questions of cultural oppression, to claims of intellectual property rights.It seemed like a lot of silliness, except when Ms Althouse described the artists Picasso and Matisse, quoting from the culturally insensitive Old Gray Lady as the "Gold Dust Twins". OK, it is meant as an accolade,♥ but still, go to the link above for the printing on the packaging for the washing powder.
The thing is, this is a game. It is a game in which the self-identified minority argues that it is being exploited. However, the issue is not allowed to go the other way, because the majority is the oppressor, even when the majority is a minority. It is all about power and getting some for yourself.
I did address this a couple of days ago, here.
Before you dismiss this too quickly, there are people who feel strong on both sides of the question of if a major NFL Team can call itself the Red Skins. When you go to Wikipedia and enter in Search the term "the Red Skins" you get a long list of items for the Sheboygan Red Skins, a basketball team. Now I realize it is a long time since Coach Joe Gibbs and Quarterback Joe Thiesman electrified the crowds in DC, but sill, the Sheboygan Red Skins? Is this political correctness run amok?♦ When I change the search to "the Washington Red Skins" the eighth item down is for the Washington footpad team. And, there is a separate page for the cultural appropriation issue, here.
Remember, there is no limit to people who are offended. About a decade ago the Syracuse Teams had to change their names due to real Irish descendants (vs descendants of Irish Protestants, or "Orangemen") objecting. I was one. But, I only cared because it was a case of whose ox was being gored. On this issue the University crumpled, thus setting a bad example for everyone else.
Hat tip to Ann Althouse.
Regards — Cliff
♠ Note how Wikipedia is a "cultural appropriation", from the Hawaiian word Wiki, which talks to speed.
♥ I can remember, back around 1968, my F-4 Front Seater, the late Carl Altman, and I being called the Gold Dust Twins by some colonel up at the Wing level. We at the time being lowly Squadron Captains. I remember we were on the first floor of the Wing Headquarters building, and I remember nothing.
♦ Wait, maybe "run amok" is a term that I, as a Caucasian of Western European extraction, may not use. It came to these shores from the time the US Army battled the Moros, after defeating Spain in the Spanish American War.