Perhaps the idea of “cultural appropriation” is itself an example of cultural imperialism—part of the social-justice warriors’ effort to assert world-wide ideological supremacy.
When Anthony Bourdain took us to places like Libya and Venezuela and West Virginia, he let the locals shine. His vocation was about more than food. It was about people—understanding their cultures and their lives, lifting them up and making their dishes. The anonymous street vendors were culinary geniuses.
It was knowing that we could partake in beauty even when we feel isolated from it inside ourselves. It was understanding, however fleetingly, that as empty as we may sometimes feel, food made with others’ love can be filling and nourishing.
If that’s what “cultural appropriation” means, serve me up a large plate, and hold the social justice.