The next time you are trying to decide whether to have General Tso Chicken, chimichangas, or pasta Bolognese you may want to consider the socio-political origins of your cravings and the implications of their expression as appropriations of the oppressed, less privileged people whose culture you are exploiting.

And all this time, you just thought you had a taste for something different for dinner.

Susan Scafidi, a law professor at Fordham University, defines cultural appropriation as “the taking of intellectual property, traditional knowledge, or cultural expressions from another culture without permission, including the unauthorized use of dance, dress, music, language, folklore, cuisine, traditional medicine, religious symbols, etc.”

The critical aspect of the concept currently a driving force in policy-making on college campuses is that cultural appropriation applies only to members of the dominant culture “borrowing” from the cultures of minority groups, which may explain why a black woman accosted a white man for the cultural sin of growing his hair into dreadlocks.

The incident occurred at San Francisco State University when Bonita Tindle attacked the student with the matted, twisted hair and accused him of stealing her black culture.

When the young man, identified as Cory Goldstein, tried to explain that the style was in vogue in ancient Egypt and move past her, Tindle grabbed him and attempted to restrain him.

Eventually, Goldstein told her he “didn’t need her disrespect” and was able to move out of her grasp.

The university issued a statement in support of free speech that does not impede the well-being of others, which would seem to include someone who believes she has the right to tell others how to wear their hair.

Goldstein, who said he has worn his hair in that style since he was 17-years-old, filed a report with the campus police.



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