One of the favorite accusations of the Marxist leftists of America is that their opponents are “culturally insensitive” or engage in “cultural appropriation.” This is also the charge which has removed so much great art, literature, icons, and history from schools and the public forum, the charge that demonized Shakespeare, George Washington, and Mark Twain. Of course, like so many other insults from Marxists, the charge could far more accurately be leveled at them. I would like to point out several of the most egregious instances from recent times.
The one that bothered me the most from recent news, probably because I am majoring in Classical Languages at college, is the stupidity of Representative Emanuel Cleaver II (D- Missouri), who ended the opening prayer of the 117th Congress by saying, “amen and awoman.” Donald Trump Jr. commented with disgust on “awoman,” but even he did not strike at the roots of the issue—he attributed the word “amen” to Latin, adding that in Latin it means “so be it.” Now, this is not wrong—“amen” certainly appears in Latin, and it can be translated (when used as an ending) as “so be it.” But the word “amen” is really originally a Hebrew word. אָמֵן (or “amaen”) was transferred into Greek as ἀμήν (amaen) and thence into Latin (amen) and English. אָמֵן is actually in some sense an untranslatable word, which is why it was simply lifted straight into each of the languages which were translating the Hebrew Scriptures and adopting Jewish terms for Christian prayer. It can be translated different ways depending on how it is used in a sentence or prayer, and it is best left untouched—except, of course, by leftists.
Leftists have a habit of despising Jewish culture, religion, and heritage in any case, but “a woman” is a truly ridiculous instance of uninformed insensitivity. Of the various words in Hebrew for “man,” not one comes even close to sounding like אָמֵן, and this is true also of Greek and Latin, the other languages which introduced “amen” to English speakers. The fact that this ancient word, so rich in history and meaning, should have been used in an illiterate “gender- neutral” word game is as gross an instance of cultural insensitivity as I have run across.
Another instance of cultural appropriation and ignorance on the part of Democrats from June 2020 showcases the Democrats’ phony empathy for black Americans. As a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and to commemorate the death of George Floyd, Congressional Democrats knelt in the US Capitol on June 8 for the period of time Floyd said he “couldn’t breathe.”
The irony of this gesture comes from the African kente cloth the Democrats wore draped around their necks. Many people, including Africans, were angered by the “virtue-signaling” act, pointing out that kente cloth is the traditional cloth of the Ashanti tribe—the African tribe that sold hundreds—or thousands—of fellow Africans into slavery with the Dutch and English so as to obtain valuable goods, especially firearms. The Ashanti, who gained ascendency in the 18th century (largely in what is now Ghana), became infamous for conquering other tribes—and selling their captives to Europeans. It seems ironic that members of the party that tried to break up the Union to retain slavery are still, even while pretending to be “woke,” wearing the garb of the very tribe that grew rich and powerful off of the African slave trade.
News flash, Dems: not all Africans are exactly alike. They do actually have widely diverse heritages, histories, and cultures. Do a little research next time.
One which I find particularly funny is the controversy around the new Disney remake of Mulan. Now, I have a friend who was born in China, so I already know that the original cartoon is anything but popular among the Chinese. My friend told me that the Chinese see Mulan as having misunderstood and even mocked traditional Chinese culture. The humorous part is that Disney, for the remake, specifically worked to target a Chinese audience rather than an American audience. Turning its back on its own country, and eagerly seeking to please the Chinese Communist Party, Disney cast big, CCP-approved Chinese stars in the film and made other efforts to please the CCP, so much so that Hong Kong started the #BoycottMulan movement.
But Disney failed to please the very people they were trying to make happy—because they forgot that not every culture has the same values, and that a badly-done remake of a story about a woman improbably outdoing all the men at a traditionally man’s game, and wrecking all kinds of Chinese traditions along the way, is hardly likely to appeal to the Chinese people themselves. If you want to make a movie critiquing traditional Chinese values and glorifying modern American values, don’t make it for a Chinese audience.
Leftist, Marxist-loving Disney totally bombed with Mulan—in September, SupChina (a NY-based site which focuses on Chinese news) reported that the movie had a shockingly low rating of 4.7 on Douban (China’s IMDb), and one Chinese critique uses a metaphor to describe China’s disgust:
“‘It is cooked in a wok and served with chopsticks, but that doesn’t make it Chinese food… Under the coat of Chinese culture, Mulan presents the inherently American narrative that you can overcome anything in the world by being yourself. It uses our culture as the medium to convey their values. If you change every “qi” to “force” and “Mulan” to “the Chosen one,” you will get a perfect remake of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’ In particular, the movie’s refrain ‘I will bring honor to us all’ struck this viewer as more reminiscent of ‘the individualistic heroism of chivalry’ than the Chinese takeaway of ‘sacrifice yourself, enlist for your father, and serve your country.’”
Whatever one thinks of traditional Chinese values as compared to modern American ones, there is no doubt that Disney’s big flaw was their cultural insensitivity and cultural imperialistic mindset—shockingly, the Chinese public doesn’t necessarily think exactly like big leftist American execs in California. Who would have thought?
This last example of leftist insensitivity is another linguistic one. There has been a big push in recent years among the more radical of the LGBTQ (XYZ etc.) activists to use the term “Latinx” to refer to those of Hispanic ethnicity. The idea is that, instead of referring to them as “Latinos” or “Latinas” one does not “presume” their sex but puts a “gender-neutral” letter on the end, to be filled in however the person being referred to chooses. Now, this is not only grossly grammatically ignorant, it is an insult to Spanish speakers. The Spanish language, like so many languages in the world, particularly Romance languages, has a gender for almost every noun and pronoun.
This may be a good moment to add, as a side note, that grammatical gender is not at all the same thing as sex. In our modern insane world, we have denied the reality of sex and replaced it with the far more vague and malleable concept of “gender,” but sex and gender are not identical.
A human being has a sex. Words have gender. English is highly unusual in having so few words with gender, and we should not impose our lack of grammar on other languages where the very structure of the language depends on gender. Spanish is not sexist because it uses “Latinos,” a word with masculine gender, to refer to a group composed of both men and women. And adding an “x” on the end instead of an actual Spanish ending is cultural imperialism, pure and simple. Unlike English (which has definitely changed form but not yet been entirely destroyed by “gender neutral” language), Spanish could not even attempt to be “gender neutral” without ceasing to exist as the language it is. If its words no longer had a gender, it would no longer be Spanish. It would be a weird pseudo-form of the modern leftist dialect of English.
This is probably why a 2019 survey found that 98% of Latinos reject the term “Latinx.”
According to the survey, “Latinx” is the least preferred term of self-identification among Hispanics! Unfortunately, Marxist leftists in America (especially after so successfully stealing the election) are proving more and more that they really don’t care about what people think—they would rather pretend they know, do whatever they were going to do anyway, and be lauded by a few supporters as deluded as themselves for virtue-signaling. Because saying “awoman” is a so much easier way to be virtuous than expending time and effort in doing something actually constructive and charitable for another human being. Like the Mulan movie, leftists in this country have a mere veneer of cultural sensitivity which is easily unmasked for what it is—pure hypocrisy.