From the Concord College Concordian:
BY JOHNNY WAGNER / IN COLUMNS, OPINIONS / MARCH 17, 2016
Similar to the way many non-Mexicans celebrate“Cinco de Mayo,”most of the people who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day are not Irish. St. Patrick’s Day seems like just a harmless day on which people go to parades and drink lots of beer, but is it actually an example of subtle cultural appropriation?
… The question, then, is why are some forms of cultural appropriation frowned upon while others are celebrated?
Everyday Feminism Magazine offers a deeper understanding of cultural appropriation: “a particular power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group.” Basically, for there to be cultural appropriation, there must be a majority party that is taking important, celebrated aspects of another, more oppressed party. It is impossible for a person from an oppressed culture to practice cultural appropriation because, more times than not, oppressed people have to adopt aspects of the majority culture whether they want to or not. When Irish people first came to the United States, especially after the potato famine, they were oppressed and marginalized by the other people who already lived here. Furthermore, most of the people who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day now do not understand its cultural significance. Thus, St. Patrick’s Day is, in fact, an example of subtle cultural appropriation. …
Overall, whether one’s cultural appropriation is acceptable or not comes down to one simple question: is somebody from the culture you are appropriating offended by what you are wearing, doing or saying? If the answer is yes, then you are wrong. In this sense, St. Patrick’s Day is a difficult subject. Per sonally, I’ve not heard of an Irish person being offended by the way Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day — but that doesn’t mean every Irish person feels the same way.
Q. What if you are 5/16th Irish and are offended, but a person who is 17/32nd Irish isn’t offended?
A. The offended person is always right.