Appropriating Culture

The awareness of cultural appropriation has recently increased amongst society due to the increasing instances of it. The Cambridge Dictionary defines cultural appropriation as “the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture:”. In other words, cultural appropriation is when cultures borrow from others culture without acknowledging their source. A recent instance of cultural appropriation can be seen right here in AU. Recently Sigma Alpha Mu Delta Beta Chapter at American University (AU) was forced by the school to shut down their much-awaited philanthropy event “Bad(minton) and Boujee.” The event was organized to raise money for their philanthropic partner, Armor Down, a reintegration program for US veterans. The event is a play on words of the popular song ‘Bad and Boujee’ by Migos’s that was though of to generate excitement for an event that has a rather unexciting sport, Badminton. The fraternity soon received  an email from Colin Gerker,  Assistant Director for Fraternity and Sorority Life, asking the chapter to rename the event because the term “boujee” is considered to be a form of cultural appropriation. The fraternity argued that the coloquial term loosely meaning high class was not in any way related to the event so it was not appropriative. However, the school insisted that for approval the event’s name would have to change so in response the fraternity decided to cancel the event and release a statement on their Facebook Page. When talking to one of the officiated brothers in the AU chapter he pointed out that plenty of American University events can be accussed of cultural appropriation but the school doesn’t shut down their events. He gave me the example of an event hosted by American University for its students, Final Perk: Tiki Time. The event revolves around a Tiki Hawaiian theme that could be called out for being appropriative. The Delta Beta chapter was so appalled at the events transferred that they decided to shed a light on AU’s hypocrisy and were able to get a televised interview with WUSA9 and an article published on the newsletter, Campus Reform.


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