Ethics Dunces: Jeremy Lam And The Cultural Appropriation Police

Utah high school student Keziah Daum posted a picture of herself looking lovely in a prom dress, and thanks to the warped values and cracked ethics of a young social justice warrior tweeter named Jeremy Lam, was set upon by the social media Furies.

Here is the tweet:

The tweet received 179 THOUSAND likes, and was retweeted 60 thousand times. Yes, a young woman going to her high school prom was condemned by all those strangers for liking and wearing an Asian-themed dress.

I don’t know what broken-chromosome mutation of progressive thought creates Americans like Jeremy—who is living in our culture, which is an amalgam of all cultures, but better—but the fact that he could attract such support with his divisive, segregated version of what our society should be is one more sign that the hard-Left is getting more anti-American by the hour. David French nicely puts this episode in perspective:

“Just so we’re clear, the radical progressive position is (1) America’s borders should be flung wide open to people from every culture in the world; (2) when American white people encounter people from those hundreds of different cultures, they need to stay in their lane; and (3) white people staying as white as possible will help our nation totally unify and diversity will be our strength.”

That’s about right. Kaziah Daum is the victim of racism here. Reasonably for someone unfairly thrust into the culture wars without justification or warning, she responded that she wasn’t trying to upset anyone; she just thought it was a pretty dress. The rest of  us, French suggests, need to be more assertive:

“The proper response to [Lam’s]  anger isn’t indulgence. His ethnicity doesn’t make him right. His fury doesn’t make him credible. Instead, the proper response is to tell him he’s wrong — wrong and destructive. Silly, frivolous attacks like Lam’s represent a form of “crying wolf” that render the body politic steadily more immune to claims of racism, while simultaneously enraging social-justice warriors who believe each cry should be met with a decisive response. On the one side is a collection of Americans who rightly look at Daum’s dress and say, “That’s not racist. It’s just a pretty dress.” On the other side is a collection of Americans who view this indifference and confusion as a provocation….Lam’s tweet wasn’t “just” a tweet. It was a symbol of the incoherent anger that is tearing this nation apart.”

Well, I was going to diagnose Jeremy as a confused, immature, biased jerk, especially after I just spent 20 minutes that I will wish I had back on my deathbed reading his silly tweets. To be fair, however, he is obviously just a kid who, like most of us at his age, is unjustifiably convinced of his own certitude. Jeremy no more deserves to be made the symbol of the Left’s unethical instincts than Kaziah Daum deserved to be make a social media pariah for wearing a dress she likes.

I’m more interested in assigning responsibility to the people who made him this way, while trying to give him a chance to start thinking straight before he’s 40.

114 thoughts on “Ethics Dunces: Jeremy Lam And The Cultural Appropriation Police

  1. Thanks for commenting on this.

    The best twitter reaponse so far:

    “An Asian American named Jeremy is complaining about cultural appropriation.”

    Another vengeful Twitter dug up some racially loaded tweets of his as well.

    Yet another discovered a tweet of Jeremy’s that discussed how awesome America was that he was able to eat Mexican Food with Chopsticks.

    No, Jeremy just wanted to make a happy young girl unhappy. He has no clue about “race” or culture.

    • I think you are wrong. The highest ideal in leftist thought is to be offended. Jeremy just saw an opportunity to be offended and took it. You can’t blame him for that. There is an entire movement devoted to being offended that is actually titled “MeToo”. To be offended by someone lower on the political correctness scale than you is to show how virtuous you are. Jeremy is an Asian-American, so he isn’t allowed to complain about how he is discriminated against in college admissions and hiring, so he has to jump on any chance he can get. Cut him some slack. He can’t find a lot of examples of heterosexual white men or women doing something offensive to Asians, so he has to take what he can get.

      • I don’t want to appropriate that pounce-in-self-righteous-fury-whenever-offended culture – I reckon you don’t want to do that, either.

      • There is an entire movement devoted to being offended that is actually titled “MeToo”.

        That is…not what MeToo is about. But you know that.

        • It’s typical left-wing hand-wringing victim-worship CRAP; people that think that the majority of women are victims of “sexual violence” (being whistled at, or told you’re attractive gets you into the club), and that even being hounded for sex by your husband qualifies as such, and other forms of “microaggression”.

        • It is called “MeToo”. Do you know what that means? When someone is telling a story or has a group and you desperately want to get in on it somehow and you say “Me Too, Me Too!”, usually connecting yourself in a lame and tenuous way. That is how I see that movement and it is directly relevant to what I see in this incident.

      • My lefty friends would disagree with you. I think it’s easy to focus on asshats like these as being something more than they are. I don’t think that the far right Republican pundits are indicative of the Right either, but I do think that the internet, twitter, instagram, and cable TV attract the idiots from all sides.

        • I think he’s indicative of a small but vocal segment of the left.

          I didn’t see a single lefty that I follow agree with this guy, but on the other hand, most of the people I follow who took aim at him were either right-of-center or libertarian.

          I think he’s wrong, and told him so on Twitter.

          The dress is beautiful. If she wore it as a celebration of another culture, that’s exactly what we want. If she wrote it because she just thought it looked pretty, that’s also exactly what we want. This is why I identify as a “moderate” SJW.

          • I think that someone who likes to LARP living in a neo-nazi paradise because Richard Spencer exists should be forever estopped from calling someone who was able to garner 221,000 individual positive interactions (at the time of posting) on their tweet “part of a small but vocal segment”, especially when Spencer struggles to break three digits on a good day.

            I’m not saying you’re wrong… I just don’t know how you can think Nazism is so prevalent when at the same time you paint these people who gather more individual support insignificant.

            • I think that someone who likes to LARP living in a neo-nazi paradise because Richard Spencer exists should be forever estopped from calling someone who was able to garner 221,000 individual positive interactions (at the time of posting) on their tweet “part of a small but vocal segment”, especially when Spencer struggles to break three digits on a good day.

              Ok. I would agree with that.

              How about me? Am I estopped?

              • I mean, I’d say so. Unless you’ve significantly backed away from the position that the American Neo Nazi problem is significant to the point of national discourse.

                Let’s play a game, Chris, American Hitler Youth or Yellow Snowflakes, who do you think is:

                -More prevalent.
                -More likely to cause someone to lose a job.
                -More likely to burn down a building to prevent a speech.
                -More likely to physically hurt someone.
                -More likely to get a representative onto a speaking engagement at a major news organization.
                -More likely to actually drive a policy position.

                and finally:

                -More of a problem.

                I’m not saying that it’s one or the other, I’m trying to sniff out your sense of proportionality. Richard Spencer is obviously an asshat, but I don’t think he has the power to effect anyone except the people who’s minds he lives in rent free. I think that while it’s unlikely that either group will ever effect my life, it’s orders of magnitude more likely that a campus crusader would.

                • Humble, certainly you see the difference between saying the American Neo Nazi problem is significant to the point of national discourse and saying we live in a neo-Nazi paradise. I realize being misrepresented constantly, even when I agree with the conservatives here, is my price of admission for participating on this blog. But come on.

                  Your attempts to find an inconsistency or double standard on my part aren’t going to work here. I would also say that neo-Nazis are a “small but vocal segment of the right.” I would also say that radical social justice warriors like Lam are “significant to the point of national discourse.” I never said that Lam and the movement of people who think like him are “insignificant.” There is no double standard here.

                  • I also used the word LARP, which I am exceptionally proud of. I know it’s subtle, so you could be forgiven for failing to notice, but my comments often have a slight dusting of hyperbole and sarcasm. Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly frisky, I’ll use both.

                    • (this needed no explanation. I understood what you meant while simultaneously recognizing your literary devices… there was no lack of clarity, all he’s got is nitpicking your technique)

                    • Yes, Live Action Roleplay.

                      Sarcastically referring to the copious allusions by the Left that, since the election of Donald Trump and the existence of Richard Spencer, American is careening towards being the 4th Reich.

                    • That is what I thought. I thought there was a deeper, hidden meaning to LARP. I am still trying to wrap my head around toxic masculinity and cultural appropriation.


                    • I wonder why she didn’t respond with: “My prom dress is not subject to your cultural apartheid, so go pound salt.”

                      If we are going to take cultural appropriation to its logical conclusion,then South Africa during apartheid should be the prevailing model for societies. Foreign language programs in grade, middle, and high schools, as well as colleges and universities should be closed. I mean, how can a fellow from Northfield, OH, presently living in Houston, Texas, possibly understand Spanish (even though he lived in Mexico and his long-suffering wife is Mexican, and is quite adept at languages)? Why should my son learn French? What’s the point? He’s not French, so he shouldn’t speak it.

                      Same with diet: I will never eat chicken vindaloo ever again (thank heavens – yesterday’s was too much) or lox with cream cheese. Beef Wellington? Nope. My hamburgers? Please?! Say it ain’t so! Vodka is out because I am not Russian. How about plantains? I might not miss them, though. On a positive note, I will be able to eat my General Joe’s Chicken with a fork from now on, so that’s a good thing.

                      If attire is to limited to the host country’s offspring, then we should do away with all those silly sombreros tourists buy in Cancún, no? Regional costumes? Gone – which may be a good thing because those middle school international festivals are a bit tedious. And my wife will be happy that my lederhosen will have to remain in the closet, never again to see the light of day. Oh, and what about my beloved Rush? Must I stop listening to them because I am not Canadian?


                    • HT,

                      Hyperbole has its uses, and I use it at times too. One limit of it is that it doesn’t work when you are explicitly making an argument about proportion, and accusing someone else of overreacting.

                      Your argument is that I overstate the threat of Nazism in modern America, but that argument is only persuasive if you don’t overstate my position.

                    • JVB, my response was “Her prom dress is not your culture.” If his culture is fragile enough that a white girl wearing a dress ruins it, then it was never strong enough to deserve to survive. But it isn’t, and it will.

                      I saw one tweeter agreeing with this person and saying that he has two adopted daughters: one white, one black. He braids his black daughter’s hair into cornrows but not his white daughter’s. This saddened me greatly. My response: “If your white daughter wants you to braid her hair into cornrows, you braid that little girl’s hair into cornrows. Period.”

                      Rush was my first concert. Good taste.

                    • Chris,

                      I saw your response and agreed. My response was more directed at the young lady who, to her credit, refused to back down from the Furies. I just wondered why she didn’t get more in their faces about it. This made the nightly news in Houston last evening, along with the newscasters gushing over how pretty she looked. To me, whether she looked pretty or not is irrelevant. If she wanted to wear an Asian-inspired dress, then that is entirely up to her, especially considering that she seemed to have respect for the dress itself and looked appropriate for the occasion.

                      As for proms, the whole idea should be banished to the ash-heap of history. After all, “prom” is short for “promenade”, which served a similar function as the debutante ball, where young French women from aristocratic or upper class families were announced eligible for marriage. See? France. France equals French culture. Proms, therefore, misappropriate French culture and should be abolished.


                  • Chris wrote, “I realize being misrepresented constantly, even when I agree with the conservatives here, is my price of admission for participating on this blog.”

                    Would you like some cheese with that whine? Seriously Chris, that truly was an unnecessary woe-be-unto-me whine.

                • Humble Talent wrote, “Unless you’ve significantly backed away from the position that the American Neo Nazi problem is significant to the point of national discourse.”

                  Can you provide a link to the comment thread where that conversation took place?

          • Coming in late on this but …. am I wrong in remembering that the whole idea of “cultural appropriation” came from the left in the first place? (I removed the adjectives originally inserted before the phrase in question so I wouldn’t be accused of a microagression.)

        • I dunno, these “unrepresentative” liberal opinions get mainstream-sized numbers of likes. They also come from university professors, college presidents, politicians, movie stars, and representatives of very popular news outlets.

          Neo-nazis and NAMBLA are extreme, non-representative groups. Outrage over “cultural appropriation” and “microaggressions” are liberal mainstream now.

    • Still Spartan wrote, “He is not indicative of the Left Jack — he’s just an immature jerk.”

      Maybe but don’t try to deny that he is indicative of a growing trend in our society that is gaining strength every day.

    • “[I thought] (mistakenly) she was Sofia Vergara.”

      Which is really just further proof that I fixated on her FACE…

      • ”Which is really just further proof that I fixated on her FACE…”

        Heh! I JUST got that after reading it I don’t know how many times.

        Along those a-lines, that dress certainly seemed to fit well; from where I’m sittin’ leastways.

        • There must be more the original story. Take another look at the photo. Why exactly is a prom photo taken at the Utah Supreme Court?

          • It’s only a guess, but maybe the Supreme Court building has special facilities, sometimes available for (even) high school proms.

          • My guess is that it’s a ‘drop’…a big sheet with a picture on it. Photographers use them for ‘faux’ backgrounds.

        • No argument from me about the fit of the dress. It fit her fine, IMO. It was only after I saw her face, then reminded myself that the post was about a high school prom, THEN looked at the rest of the girl in the dress, that I dropped any thought that I might be looking at Sofia. I am fairly sure of how Sofia would look in that dress (assuming it was the right size for her), and…I’ll just say I would expect Sofia to look “a different fine” from the girl. [grinning]

  2. I wonder how may Latin-Americans will cry cultural appropriation by every other ethnic group celebrating Cinco de Mayo this week-end by partying and drinking?

  3. Is it me or did choosing another cultural form used to be considered a compliment or at least appreciation? (Guess I’d better delete my 70’s funk station from Pandora before someone finds out.)

          • Second try…

            It was not my intention to “Rick-roll” anyone. My “Poor Rick Astley!” comment was a cryptic allusion (with pity) to HIS, Rick’s, being Rick-rolled – owing to the fact that his famous “Never Gonna Give You Up” can so easily be construed (these days, at least) as a flagrant “sin” of cultural appropriation.

            The first time I heard that tune, I was in a room where the video was playing. I was listening at first, not watching. I recall my exact thoughts – memorable, because of cognitive dissonance: Without looking up at the video, I thought,“That sounds a little like…Elvis resurrected – doing a tune with a Barry White groove. Good disco beat, but…disco is old hat…” Then, I looked up. Seeing the “ginger” white guy, I almost blurted out, but kept quiet: “No way! He’s lip-synching. WHO is singing that, really?” (I am proud of having that critical, skeptical response, as this was a good while before the Milli Vanilli lip-synching scandal.) All those dissonances were resolved shortly thereafter. (It was probably a girlfriend who set me straight.) Now, about the “dancing” in the video: apart from the acrobatics, Rick could’ve used some help from, say, Michael Jackson.

            I don’t understand why the anti-cultural appropriation police are so comfortable with their self-empowerment and their oppressive scolding – and why they feel so entitled to be such oppressive police. Especially since human history is so rich with examples of benefits (immediate, if not eventual or intended) to civilizations (or their successors) all over the globe, as a result of “cultural exchanges” instigated via explorers, entrepreneurs, IMMIGRANTS (HmmmmMMMM??? Any SJWs eager to scold THEM???), and…heck, even ruthless, militaristic conquerors. We who are alive today, especially in the was-US, are beneficiaries of cultural “cross pollination” – the kind that makes ALL the offspring stronger, more fit to survive, etc. (unlike the “Bradford pear” kind that pollutes and kills-off species). A culture that promotes an attitude of “That’s MINE! OURS! NObody else can [dress, sing, dance, cook, self-mutilate, etc.] like WE do!” is inherently “bad-imperialistic,” as is a culture that promotes, “EVERYBODY MUST do EXACTLY as WE do! NO exceptions!”

            I suppose some “preservationists” are rightly and reasonably concerned about undesirable extinctions of cultures, loss of awareness of history, and so on. But then, why would such concerned people turn into the very culture-annihilators they fear most?? As for me, I am constantly as worried as anyone about a “majoritarian culture,” but not because I’m fair-skinned in a part of the world with a nascent majority non-fair-skinned population. I find other kinds of majorities much more menacing. Dictatorship-of-and-by-minorities is a bad idea, too…oh, wait – we have the Corporate State – you know, where you MUST say ONLY what Facebook or YouTube won’t ban or consider “dangerous.” Well, it might take some time, plus a lot of suffering, but eventually, today’s homogenizers will lose to tomorrow’s new diversifiers.

            So, let the cultures mix and share ways with one another. What a radical thought!

    • Pretty dress, pretty girl and lucky guy. But let’s not be too hard on Mr. Lam. We’ve all said unfortunate things immediately after losing a big case. Obviously the Utah Supreme Court ruled in favor of the dress and against Mr. Lam.

  4. That poor girl. It is incidents like this that are remembered by middle America. Since the Civil War the scope of the hatred and vindictiveness of the left has never been worse. This trend of the lefts’ started well before Trump, they really started to lose it after the Republican took the House. Since then the leftist have been in overdrive inventing new issues to be outraged over. They have created a multi-front culture war and in the end they will be defeated in detail because of it. The massed red block of our country, the majority, is under constant attack. The left is trying building a case that the majority is culturally behind the times without taking in account that cultural approval only comes when the majority excepts it. Gay marriage is a prime example, the majority excepts that our culture shouldn’t care what two adults do behind closed doors or if they want to be married, the critical point of the change was that it really would have no effect on the majority. When shit starts landing at home everyone takes a much closer look, when your news, tv shows and movies are insulting you constantly and you have children coming home from school after being feed SJW bullshit from teachers like Chris, the SJW part not that he brings it to his class.

    I read through the post about the correspondence dinner, several commentators like Chris just can’t comprehend how this played to Middle America and the intractability of his position is exactly what is going to result in another middle America smack down of the left.

    With the nastiness of dinner and this poor girl getting raked over coals by the left creates focal points. This isn’t a single individual, even a President being mean to someone or a group but a large vocal minority, who have enough power and influence to be the de facto representatives of the left. There is enough dissent and individuality on the right for the party not to suffer too many Trump issues. The right doesn’t have a block that speaks with such a voice that it drowns out any moderation, the left will rightly suffer for this behavior as this difference is what will continue to help the GOP on the local level. The abandonment ethics by the left may lead to a civil war but it may just lead to super majorities across the board for the GOP. The GOP is closest to having any chance of successfully getting any constitutional amendments through and the left seems like they are fine with continuing on the path of alienating the majority of Americans and giving the GOP that kind of power.

      • Now THAT is a fair question. Those of us who stand more-or-less moderately, the ‘peacekeepers’ will, eventually, have peace. I fear for what it will take to get us there.

        • Jack Marshall wrote, “It’s an insult because to the Left, the middle looks like the Far Right does to the moderates.”

          It’s always a lot of “fun” when people consumed by the ideological left and right attack those in the middle. To be honest, until recently (last 10 years or so) I think I’d been plastered with the label of Democrat or Liberal by the right more than a Republican or Conservative by the left. My “political” views really haven’t shifted, the perception of those political views by the extremes has shifted away from the middle – especially the left. The labeling began to shift quite rapidly during the Obama administration and these days all you have to do is stand up for what’s logical and against political propaganda and you’re instantly label an extreme Conservative or worse. The “left” has become completely unhinged and there’s no turning back for them.

          I really do hope I’m wrong, but the more consumed the left becomes in their unhinged push to condemn everything that hurts their coddled little feelings, spin nearly everything into racism, and push anti-Constitutional ideals the more I think it’s becoming likely that it’s going to end in a bloodbath.

          The left used to have some semblance of moral principle, that’s ancient history now. The left has completely moved away from…

          …now all they want to do now is shove their tyrannical ideology down the throats of the population. To the left, it’s all about absolute domination.

    • Yep, a major course-correction of one form or another is coming. Even the tortured Earth is crying out for it. A hundred years or so from now, people will be looking back at all this, and saying “Good God! What the HELL was THAT !?!?”

        • “Thank God we finally found the courage to give it a name and devise some treatment strategies for it !”

          • Joe, those two comments of yours last night are jewels – thank you. Thanks to d_d’s for the perfect follow-up. (Consider that my “Like” button-push.) I keep asking, “What ARE we being so ‘tolerant’ of, and WHY?” My gnawing fear is that so many of us might be dismissive of something that, left un-confronted, will take over the world – much like the majority of influential people in the times of the early Church Of Christ took the position of, “Leave it [the ‘Jesus movement’] alone; it will fade away soon.”

  5. Jack wrote, “…the fact that he could attract such support with his divisive, segregated version of what our society should be is one more sign that the hard-Left is getting more anti-American by the hour.”

    This is the part that is terribly worrisome; it’s becoming more and more obvious that our society is going down a road where a large segment of a couple of generations are intellectually and logically lost souls. If these people gain control in the United States the Constitution is doomed and freedom will be extinct here.

    • The real battle, at least the decisive one, is being fought over the minds of our kids. The most devastating blow against this insanity can be delivered by concerned parents taking their kids out of the leftist indoctrination camps (Public schools), if they have the means, at least in terms of the best return for unit of effort.

      • joed68 wrote, “The real battle, at least the decisive one, is being fought over the minds of our kids. The most devastating blow against this insanity can be delivered by concerned parents taking their kids out of the leftist indoctrination camps (Public schools), if they have the means, at least in terms of the best return for unit of effort.”

  6. Not only do I think he is just plain wrong, as someone who has lived in China for five years, I can say with almost 100% certainty that they would be embarrassed by his outrage. My wife has received at least 3 of these types of dresses (I have received 2 of the male equivalent) from nationals as well has chopstick sets, tea sets, paintings, and various other Chinese trinkets. Some of them quite expensive. You can go pretty much anywhere in China and the owner will gladly sell you anything. A friend would deem it an honor to give you a gift and increase their guanxi (I’m going to bet he doesn’t even know what that is).

    He really does his culture a disservice by saying this type of thing and if he was a national he might be singled out by their president who doesn’t tolerate making China look bad abroad.

    • I’d bet all the tea in China that this kid doesn’t actually know the first thing about “his” culture.

  7. I don’t know why anyone thinks this dress represents “his culture” of “Americans of Chinese Descent”. It might reflect his heritage, but not his culture. To find out what people think from the culture this dress represents, we’ll have to ask some of the people that live in China and create Chinese culture.

    What ever “this” is that he’s contributing to American Culture…I hate it. It’s worthless. I wish he would stop contributing.

  8. Jeremy Lam is just one more worthless Hitler Youth waste of Oxygen like his peer that lying gun control freak Hogg.

      • First, I will apologize to you. I know I vowed never to read or respond to any of your posts…this one, however, was a one liner and I read it before looking to see who it was from. And, I decided it required a professional response. If, as you claim, you are a teacher, I will assume you took at least one course in psychology. I will also assume that the Instructor told you, at the beginning of the class that this basic psychology class will not make you a psychologist, but will give you an overview of the field so that you MIGHT be able to identify problems, behavioral or otherwise, in your class. By that, he meant that you do NOT get to identify who is normal or well adjusted, only that you get to identify POSSIBLE (Note the word ‘Possible’) problems in your classroom. Thus, identifying something as what a “normal, well-adjusted person would say” is beyond your skill level. Please do not try it again. Leave it to the professionals in the field, psychologists and/or psychiatrists.

        • Yes, I was definitely making a medical diagnosis rather than mocking an unhinged and hysterical comment by a man triggered by teenagers. You showed me!

          • Chris wrote, “Yes, I was definitely making a medical diagnosis rather than mocking an unhinged and hysterical comment by a man triggered by teenagers. You showed me!”

            Just yesterday you literally called someone a psychopath and today you are showing utter condescension towards an actual professional Psychologist who put you in your place.

            Does your wife-to-be know what that deep down in your soul you’re a genuine prick?

            • Zoltar,

              I called someone a psychopath because he said he was glad my fiancé can’t have children (caused by the fact that she developed tumors on her ovary when she was 13).

              That was a psychopathic thing to say.

              I’m sorry you disagree. You’re wrong.

              That you have directed more outrage against me for defending myself than you have at him for saying he was glad my fiancé can’t have children is a strike against your judgment and ethics.

              That you then try and bring my fiancé into the discussion to insult me AFTER all this is even worse.

              Fuck you.

              • Chris wrote, “That was a psychopathic thing to say.”

                Aha, now you’re claiming to be able to diagnosis a psychopath based on one sentence in a comment in a blog that you claim “was a psychopathic thing to say” as if no non-psychopathic person would ever utter such a thing.

                It’s obvious that you don’t realize how utterly delusional your claim is.

                Personally I think you’re intentionally bucking to be banned.

                P.S. Bite Me!

                • Aha, now you’re claiming to be able to diagnosis a psychopath

                  No, you fucking idiot, I’m not claiming to be able to “diagnose” anyone, because calling someone a psychopath on the Internet isn’t a fucking diagnosis.

                  It’s obvious that you don’t realize how utterly delusional your claim is.

                  So not only are you a hypocrite, you’re a dumb hypocrite.

                  • Chris wrote, …you’re a dumb hypocrite.”

                    From the mouth of an “English” teacher to your ears folks, you heard it here first, I’m dumb.

                    And this foolish person, Chris, wonders why I hammer him on his poor understanding of the English language.

                    Damn Chrisw, you really need to take a long break from commenting on the internet, you appear to be consumed.

                    • Zoltar, I am really starting to believe – I will even say, I am increasingly convinced – that there is a professional troll commenting on this blog who says he is a teacher (and that is HIS Big Lie). I didn’t have as much time as he obviously has to comment like he does, even when I was a substitute teacher. “You’re a dumb hypocrite” is merely another lie that he is only succeeding in telling himself.

                    • luckyesteeyoreman wrote, “I am really starting to believe – I will even say, I am increasingly convinced – that there is a professional troll commenting on this blog who says he is a teacher (and that is HIS Big Lie).”

                      I think you’re probably wrong unless this person has gone way out of his way to create fake online people outside Ethics Alarms that support the claims his persona makes here in Ethics Alarms. That would be an awful lot of lies to construct and support.

                      Nope, I think he’s a real person, a real teacher, he has a real fiancé, etc but that’s not to say that he isn’t trolling.

                    • You said it was an inappropriate diagnosis to call someone a “psychopath” and then called me “delusional.” Yes, that makes you a dumb hypocrite.

                    • Chris wrote, “You said it was an inappropriate diagnosis to call someone a “psychopath” and then called me “delusional.” Yes, that makes you a dumb hypocrite.”

                      1. Look it up English teacher; psychopath is a noun, it’s a diagnosis; delusional is an adjective, it’s a symptom and I won’t speculate on whether any broader condition exists or not. It is literally delusional (adjective) for you to be rendering a diagnosis of someone being a psychopath (noun) without the professional training and direct clinical evaluation.

                      It is NOT a diagnosis to observe and mention a symptom where it is literally a diagnosis when labeling someone a psychopath. I am not being hypocritical, your claim is literally false.

                      2. You have called me a “dumb hypocrite” twice now and you still don’t understand that you are using the word dumb, which primarily means “mute”, in an informal or slang way to likely mean stupid.

                      Well Chris, I’m neither a hypocrite nor am I stupid and you making those claims based on this conversation is ignorant.

                      It’s been my observation that day after day, comment after comment, you show us just how blatantly ignorant of the English language you truly are and yet you are a professional English teacher for middle schoolers. You are a direct result of how our school systems and colleges have prepared students for life and now you are a direct source of ignorance that is preparing students for life. It’s frightening for the future if you are what our education system is producing as a typical teacher.

                      Chew on that for a while and do yourself and the rest of us a favor and stop your idiotic digging.

                    • You realize that every time you don’t have a response to something, you reply with a smug, non-substantive one-liner or a link to your own personal dictionary filled with terms no one else in the world uses?

                      It’s not subtle, and it’s exactly the tactic of a troll. To then turn around and accuse me of trolling is classic projection.

                    • Chris wrote, “You’re the most pedantic, nitpicky jerk on the planet…”

                      Since that was sorta kinda what I was going for, I choose to take that as a resounding complement.

                      Chris wrote, “I’m done with you.”

                      Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re done with me; I’ve heard it all before and you’re obviously a man of your word.

                    • Jack Marshall wrote, “Zoltar has NOTHING on my old friend. FELIX UNGER had nothing on him, either.”

                      I am honored just to have been mentioned in the same paragraph as Felix Unger! 😉

                    • Paul W. Schlecht wrote, “Oy! I gotta find out THIS way. Z?”

                      Well you weren’t around yesterday when I was forced to sweep the Memorial Union terrace wearing a sandwich board that said “I’m A Pedantic Nitpicky Jerk” as punishment for invading the safe places of modern day snowflakes. It was quite the scene.

                    • Zoltar wrote: “Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re done with me; I’ve heard it all before and you’re obviously a man of your word.”

                      You saw it, and you called it, Zoltar. I rest my case.

  9. The Chinese cultural appropriation boat (junk?) already sailed centuries ago with paper money (though less popular nowadays), fireworks (used to celebrate American Independence Day, no less), and silk (admittedly a stolen national trade secret).

    Culture is just stuff that a group of people decides to do a particular way.
    The world would get exactly nowhere if one group of people could say to another group of people, “You’re not allowed to do that! We were doing it first!” As a person who in specifically stands against the existential risk of stagnation, I refuse to let people think they can get away with saying that.

  10. The funny thing is that the cheongsam/qipao itself is arguably a product of cultural appropriation; it originated as a dress of my ancestors’ former Manchu overlords, with the modern (i.e. 20th-century and after) versions very clearly influenced by Western fashions.

    Hell, to be damn honest, I really wouldn’t mind seeing more people, even if they’re “white”, adopt non-Western formal wear. Suits and ties are nice and all, but it does get a tad monotonous.

    • On a side note, I feel like 99% of those who complain about cultural appropriation would be completely silent on the matter if they lived in a world where, say, Nigeria was a cultural and economic superpower on the scale that America is. Basically, I’m trying to say that the cultural appropriation bullshit is basically a tacit admission that you believe your race/ethnicity/etc. is weak and will never achieve respect. For my part, I would like to believe that the good people of Peru, Iraq, India, Thailand, Botswana, etc. are far stronger and more capable than that.

  11. I’m coming to this party rather late because I missed the post notice in my inbox for some reason. That said, here’s what I wrote on this kerfluffle on Facebook when I shared a news report on the matter:

    “It’s worth noting the issue of what I can only call — with much irony — aggregation bias here. There _has_ to be a term for it that doesn’t rely on punning off a statistical concept, though…”

    In reflection, I suppose that what’s going on is technically a variant of the ecological fallacy — but it’s manifesting as a form of bias (in the non-statistical sense) based on the aggregation of behavior… so the term isn’t quite right, leading me right back to punning off of the statistical concept. I can’t explain the issue without a massive amount of technical language (e.g. “the emergent nature of many features of a complex system”).

    And that is a huge problem with modern liberalism.

    For those of you unfamiliar with it, the ecological fallacy is the confusion of things between levels of aggregation: inappropriately drawing conclusions about individuals from group data, for instance. Something that’s true about inner-city students as a group isn’t necessarily true about a particular student who happens to be from the inner city, so even if they have lower test scores on average than other groups, it doesn’t mean that a particular student from the inner city didn’t get a perfect SAT result.

    In research, the classic example of this is a 1897 study by a French sociologist named Durkheim on religion and suicide. While the book in question (Le Suicide) is quite fascinating for a variety of reasons, one conclusion he drew was that Protestants were more likely to off themselves than Catholics… because suicide rates were higher in Protestant countries than in Catholic ones.

    While it’s perhaps somewhat apocryphal, I was once told in a lecture that a follow-up analysis found that Protestants were in Protestant-dominated areas were being jerks to Catholics, leading to the higher rates of Catholic suicides in Protestant countries. I have no idea whether it’s true or not, but the story helps illustrate the problem with Durkheim’s inference quite nicely.

    We see a similar failure in reasoning when dealing with racism all the time. Just to throw out an example, there’s a good bit of credible evidence for racial bias in jury decisions. One study — I can’t remember the citation offhand — showed “jurors” the exact same evidence in regards to a crime, with the only difference being the skin color of the defendant in the provided photograph. The “jurors” who got the dossier with a “black” defendant were more likely to both think him guilty and to support harsher sentencing.

    However, this doesn’t mean that any particular defendant was convicted or acquitted on the basis of their race — or that their sentencing was due to it, either. The inability to see this distinction, however, contributes tremendously to a wide variety of fiascos — and the entire Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown affairs come immediately to mind.

    In this case, “cultural appropriation” is a term that describes a systemic issue in the way our culture treats the iconography and practices of minority cultures… and there are very much legitimate issues there (hint: it’s only polite to respect other people’s cultures and ways of life). However, rather than understanding this nuance and addressing things on a systemic and cultural level, an absurdly large number of people are instead indiscriminately focusing on individual incidents and “examples” regardless of any elements of intent, context, or nuance in general.

    And yes, there’s nuance there: a sliding, multidimensional scale of respect and mockery in the inevitable cultural cross-pollination that occurs when groups of people meet or interact. Because of this, there’s plenty of room for a nuanced conversation on how we should treat other people and other cultures… but we aren’t having it because of the current trend of throwing all nuance and perspective out with the bathwater-isms.

    And, in the end, that trend of discarding nuance and understanding in order to cater to immediate emotional reactions simply isn’t going to do us — or any minority groups — any good. It is, after all, a good bit of what brought us President Donald Trump.

    • There have been a number of fantastic comments in this thread, but this is one of the best, Alexander.

      I agree that cultural appropriation can be a problem, even though most of the examples we see pointed to these days don’t apply. The one I always think of is Firefly. It’s one of my favorite shows of all time, but the appropriation of Asian iconography—while never giving any Asian actors any speaking lines at all—always made me uncomfortable. It also simply didn’t fit into the world building of the show—if the premise is that China and America merged to form one giant superpower, and now everyone speaks Chinese and Chinese geisha culture has made a comeback, where are all the Chinese people? Apparently some of the main characters were originally supposed to be played by Asian-American actors, but the white actors who got the roles instead were so good and had such great chemistry with the rest of the cast that it just didn’t happen. Still, they could have made more of an effort to at least have more Asian supporting characters.

      But you know what happened? The guy behind the show, Joss Whedon, learned and got better. In both Dollhouse and Agents of SHIELD he made a point of casting a number of Asian-American actresses in lead roles.* This is almost certainly a result of his relationship with Maurissa Tanchereon, his sister-in-law, who is Asian and sang the hilarious “Nobody’s Asian in the Movies” on Whedon’s commentary track for his mini-musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and who wrote for Dollhouse and is an executive producer on Agents of SHIELD. It seems that relationships with people and humor, not lecturing, can make a huge difference.

      *Still no significant roles for Asian-American men, though—it strikes me that Asian women are seen as much more marketable in the US than Asian men.

      • And here I thought it was a somewhat disorganized and rambling rant. I’m not exactly proud of the writing, but I mostly did it to get some thoughts out of my head and onto (electronic/metaphorical) paper.

        Anyway, you may appreciate the example I linked above as a resource. Please note that calling it “tacky” and/or “tasteless” is a bit of an understatement, IMHO.

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