This was just a little response from me to a post in which a queer criminology lecturer got accused of appropriating Drag Culture by dragging up to teach a lecture on… DRAG!
…I really think people need to check in with the argument of cultural appropriation, look up the many definitions and understand like almost everything in life there are positive and negative facets / ways to doing anything and everything.
We all appropriate! That’s how culture is formed. If no one ever appropriated nothing would ever move or change. We would all only live in tiny groups completely separated from one another and never meet anyone new or create anything new. Everything is created from something; borrowed, contorted, manipulated, tested and recycled. Furthermore even those tiny groups would be guilty of appropriating in some way. Appropriating nature or spirituality or an individuals thoughts and ideas at the most fundamental level. We make shit from the earth, “Sorry rock, I borrowed your fundamental form and hammered you into a spear blade so I could kill animals to survive on the planet”. We all draw pictures – are we appropriating cavemen? Should we not do drawings anymore? We all speak languages – should we all just shut up and not use words? “Sorry Latin, I didn’t mean to offend you by using you as the basis for most european languages”. ?!?!?!?!!!
YES there is a problematic form of appropriation, an end of the spectrum in which we chastise and fuck the culture we appropriate from, particularly in capitalism. But in education? Providing we are teaching as aaccurate a history as can be known then how are we negatively appropriating? YES lived experience is invaluable and we can’t emulate it. But we can certainly inform ourselves of it by listening to stories of the oppressed. And YES there is a lot of insensitivity and ignorance in the way many people appropriate things. Which should be called out and discussed and adressed.
But a lecturer dragging up to teach drag?! A queer lecturer with lived experience of drag culture and the formulation of it from oppressed gay communities. Not to mention a strong lived understanding of why such cultures use entertainment to boost their esteem and express their pains related to the queer struggle, fighting oppression against homophobia, HIV and effeminacy. And the rest.
Would love to know your thoughts.