Marxism and Cultural Appropriation

Socialism 2017

August 15, 2017

A University of Texas fraternity holds “border” themed party where attendees wear construction gear, ponchos, and sombreros. Czech composer Antonin Dvorak utilizes a well-known Black spiritual as the basis of his most famous symphony. GM names one of its most iconic brands after a famous Ottawa chief, Pontiac, who led a resistance against European conquest. A white songwriter writes one of the most famous and searing songs about racism--Billie Holliday’s "Strange Fruit." The mixing of peoples, languages and cultures internationally has created great art, literature, and music. But it is also the case that the culture and language of oppressed people have been suppressed, their culture often ridiculed and misappropriated in offensive ways. It’s often easy to see when culture is being mis-appropriated. But is all cultural borrowing, or “appropriation,” bad? This talk will explore these questions.

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