Clown bans, cultural appropriation, and imagination mark Halloween

Pumpkins at Kelp’s Pumpkin Patch near Nashville in Brown County, Indiana. Carol M. Highsmith, photographer. US Library of Congress.
Pumpkins at Kelp’s Pumpkin Patch near Nashville in Brown County, Indiana. Carol M. Highsmith, photographer. US Library of Congress.

Halloween is approaching, and the natter class is having the customary argument about which costumes are offensive because the wearer might be culturally ‘appropriating’ someone else’s heritage. Yet millions of US children and adults of all cultural persuasion will dress up on October 31 and hit the streets or parties to celebrate. Halloween is traditionally silly. Taking the award for silly is a city whose officials have banned clown costumes.  Continue reading “Clown bans, cultural appropriation, and imagination mark Halloween”

‘Cultural appropriation’ critics warn about Cinco de Mayo and sombreros

I’m not surprised by messaging from some quarters about May 5, otherwise known as Cinco de Mayo. Gonzaga University, a place I usually associate with basketball, is warning students about the horrendous act of wearing a sombrero if you’re not Mexican. This holiday wasn’t well known in the US until the last decade or so. In Mexico, it’s not a major holiday either.  Continue reading “‘Cultural appropriation’ critics warn about Cinco de Mayo and sombreros”

As Pharrell promotes Adidas collection, ‘cultural appropriation’ rears its head

Of late, many media have focused on what tribalists of all ilk call “cultural appropriation.” The thinking goes that if you venture outside your artistic bounds to compose a work including aspects from another culture, you’re guilty.

Pharrell Williams is drawing criticism from some quarters for his new Adidas items comprising “The Hu Holi Powder Dye Collection.”

What is Hu Holi, what does it have to do with sportswear, and why is Pharrell drawing fire? Continue reading “As Pharrell promotes Adidas collection, ‘cultural appropriation’ rears its head”