Over the past few weeks, this issue of cultural appropriation has exploded onto the scene, largely in reaction by the Native American community to the casting of Johnny Depp as Tonto in The Lone Ranger, though the resolution of a battle between clothing designer Paul Frank and indigenous right’s group Native Appropriations doubtlessly fueled the conversation.
Now I know you’re all saying, “Gordon, you lightning bolt of the gods made flesh, slow down a second. What on earth is a ‘Cultural Appropriation’?”
Well readers, in and of itself, the term just means the adoption of certain cultural elements by another culture. In most use, however, it’s used to describe one culture essentially taking an important symbol or tradition from another and using it for their own purposes (usually profit- surprise, surprise).