Reviews | Cultural appropriation can be beautiful
For me, “I wonder what happened to me?” more generally represents cultural innovation. On the one hand, the merger happened far beyond the stage. The difference between the dynamism of Europ and the wealth of modern American pop is historically due to what PJ O’Rourke once satirically described as “Europe.”tragic lack of blacks. “(He was referring to Poland, but the point, while exaggerated, applies far beyond.)
The history of black and white Americans is often centered on abuse, dismissal and conflict, as it should be. Beyond that, however, there has always been a cultural fusion, both above and below the radar. This merger has accelerated in recent decades.
It is particularly striking in the language: American English among young people was increasingly permeated by black English by the decade. My daughters enjoy a YouTuber known as SSSniperWolf, a young woman of apparently Turkish and Greek ancestry who casually appears with black English words and idioms. For example, I have rarely heard the whimsical scatological “dookie” uttered by someone who was not black. But she doesn’t pull some sort of daily minstrel; this effortless infusion of black expressions in English is now a routine for many Americans his age and even older. Not so long ago, a brooding teenager kindly totaled my car (I’m fine!), And despite being of South Asian descent, his speech was perfect black English – and again, it’s now over to. provide. His cousins and friends who came to the scene all spoke the same way.
The fusion that we have come to recognize is even in body language. The rightly disapproving choker traditionally associated with black women is now a gesture that can be seen used by young women of all ethnicities. Over twenty years ago, Stanley Crouch says Salon: “Carl Jung said that white Americans walk like niggers, talk like niggers and laugh like niggers”, adding that Jung would have been able to know, being from “Switzerland, where they do the real whites”!
Of course, cultural appropriation can go too far. We are rightly suspicious today of those in power who imitate, sometimes profit from, the cultural products of the poor. Some mainly see and oppose this in the dialect mix I am referring to. However, appropriation produces a hybridity that, especially after the passage of time, only the most resolutely clinical mentalities can see only symptoms of injustice. The people sharing the space will copy each other, even if they don’t always get along.
And in any case, another aspect of the incorporation of darkness into popular American canon is the increasing dilution of whiteness as a cultural defect. To see how far America has come, just watch about 15 minutes of 1950s television. “I wonder what happened to me” is a great example of how we got to where we are: this can be a wonder indeed how beauty can emerge from, and despite, mistrust and racial dissension.