Cultural Appropriation Column Costs Magazine Editor His Job

Hal Niedzviecki said literature becomes “exhaustingly white and middle class” when writers are discouraged from writing about other cultures

Jon Miltimore | May 11, 2017

Hal Niedzviecki said literature becomes “exhaustingly white and middle class” when writers are discouraged from writing about other cultures

Via National Post:

The editor of the Writers’ Union of Canada’s magazine has resigned after complaints over an article he wrote in which he said he doesn’t believe in cultural appropriation.

Hal Niedzviecki, editor of Write — a publication for the union’s members — published an opinion piece in the spring 2017 issue titled “Writer’s Prompt.” In the article, in an issue dedicated to indigenous writing, Niedzviecki wrote: “In my opinion, anyone, anywhere, should be encouraged to imagine other peoples, other cultures, other identities.

“I’d go so far as to say there should even be an award for doing so — the Appropriation Prize for best book by an author who writes about people who aren’t even remotely like her or him.”

This apparently was too much for the Writer’s Union of Canada, who on Wednesday issued an apology for the piece and announced Niedzviecki’s resignation.

We’ve written about cultural appropriation—defined as “the adoption or use of the elements of one culture by members of another culture”—on many occasions, noting that it’s getting a bit out of hand.

As the New York Times has pointed out, “It’s a truth only selectively acknowledged that all cultures are mongrel.”

In other words, cultures borrow from one another; they always have. Yet from hoop earrings to dreadlocks (see below), we’ve seen much ado when people of the “wrong” ethnic background choose to express themselves in a particular way.

 

 

It has been argued that this particular type of political correctness has essentially destroyed the idea of America as a melting pot.

Perhaps the greatest irony here is that Niedzviecki’s critique of cultural appropriation was motivated by his belief that it stifled racial, gender, and class diversity (the Holy Trinity of the New Left).

As National Post points out, Niedzviecki complained in his article that Canadian literature is “exhaustingly white and middle class” since writers are discouraged from writing creatively from the perspective of other cultures.

One might be tempted to relish the fact that a perpetuator of identity politics was eaten by his own. Alas, we should not.

There are no winners in a cultural trend that smothers free expression and creativity.  

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Image Credit: alongcametomorrow.com

 

 



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