In a recent blog post, Scott Sumner asks about recent trends in American society concerning Cultural appropriation:
I also weighed in on this discussion:
In my opinion, Cultural appropriation is combative term., that includes too many different aspects too describe any specific situation.
Learning a foreign language or become invested in a foreign culture implies the view that those “goods” are neither rivalrous nor excludable.
However, sometimes the history of a group of people founds a specific and current political claim. Then taking part in it undermines the political strive of that group. Take for example the situation of descendants of African people in the US: Occasionally, efforts from outside-people to identify with that culture is received in an hostile way because it undermines the integrity of the group and its unity in the socio-political sphere (as it kind of relativizes their situation). It might be comparable to religious rituals or military honors. Here trying to take part in that “culture” hurts the integrity of the group and its goals.
When talking about cultural appropriation one should differentiate between taking part in a non-rivalrous and non-excludable good on the one hand and hurting the sociological, religious or political efforts and claims of a specific group on the other hand.
I understand Trumpian thought to be utilizing the whole of an (yet to be defined?) American culture as an instrument to political ends – it becomes a rivalrous good. Of course, in that perspective the culture of non-Americans must be perceived in that same way – namely being instruments to political goals that are rivalling with one’s own.
What is your opinion on cultural appropriation? Also I recommend Scott Sumner’s blog – More than only economist matters, he often comments on political and social issues with very interesting point of views.