The Guardian

Why we need to pause before claiming cultural appropriation | Ash Sarkar

The debate, tied up with racial oppression and exploitation, is a difficult one. Yet not every interloper is a colonialist in disguise
Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq is boycotting this year’s Indigenous Music Awards in Canada. Photograph: Shelagh Howard

Is Gordon Ramsay allowed to cook Chinese food ? Is it OK to dress up as Disney’s Moana? Can Jamie Oliver cook jollof rice despite plainly not knowing what it is? Exactly what is cultural appropriation? To take a glance at Good Morning Britain, the ITV show that never takes its finger off the pulse of Middle England’s clogged arteries, you’d think it’s a question of white people seeking permission to have fun. And in return, new media outlets have guaranteed traffic from anxious millennials by listing things that fall into the category of problematic when white people adopt them (blaccents, bindis and box braids).

Why has cultural appropriation, an imperfect term mobilised in imperfect contexts, become

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