11/30: Appropriation Much?

Can we talk about appropriation?  Can we?  Just for a minute.

Our handy online dictionary defines it as "the action of taking something for one's own use, typically without the owner's permission.."

Specifically, what started this idea was cultural appropriation like a yellowface poet getting into Best American Poetry (have you read the poem?  Here, take a look.  Decide for yourself about its merits alone on the page).  Also, you can take a look at a non-appropriation, but questionable all the same poem in the New Yorker (I didn't say racist.  Just read the poem so you can say it yourself).  Not to mention even J.K. Rowling's use of the noble savage.

Let's not even talk about twerking.

So.

Let's write a poem in somebody else's voice.  Let's appropriate in a good cause.  Find something you most obviously are not.  Cultural, sexual, gender, financial, crossgreek.  Something.  Reach a bit.  No, further.

Inhabit that space for a while.  I really don't recommend pen names (see yellowface's example above).  I do recommend digging beneath the surface and setting yourself in a place you shouldn't normally be able to imagine.

See what Patricia Smith did.  Nope, totally not setting the bar too high.  Just get the jet pack and fly.  Totally.