In August of 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., the iconic civil rights activist, spoke these immortal words: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of the creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.’’ Under recent academic meddling, however, this dream has little likelihood of coming true. Not because we didn’t have Brown v. Board of Education (1954-school integration) or Loving v. Virginia (1967-interracial marriage), but because there still exits a stream of thought which judges people not by “the content of their character,” but “by the color of their skin.” Bent upon regressing towards a separated, stratified society, this group continues to fan the flames of suspicion and division across racial lines, all under the guise of “sensitivity,” “openness” and “diversity.” Calling themselves “Progressives,” in actuality, they progress towards nothing, but only regress backwards to a racist, suspicious and violent time in our nation’s history. Using the terms “cultural appropriation” and “unity among the African Diaspora,” the Regressives seek to separate our nation into piles, as with dirty laundry. For in doing so, they break the collective power of the people to bind together and to positively effect change. They have found a way to disenfranchise the citizen’s voice in order to grant themselves the awe-inspiring task of ideological control.
Experts define cultural appropriation as adopting parts of a culture or ethnic group without the permission of the originating culture thereby “violating” their collective intellectual property rights. It has now become a popular way for a person to claim “rights” to fashion, customs, food and culture. Yet, claiming “rights” to customs, transforms us into tribalistic groups which refuse to acknowledge the reality of our blended world: that for all time, we have shared and “borrowed” ideas, thoughts and traditions to which no one owns the patent or trademark.
Recently, Kooks Burritos, a Mexican food truck in Portland Oregon was forced to close because opponents claimed that the two white woman owners “appropriated” the recipes from Puerto Nuevo, Mexico. The two women traveled to Mexico on vacation, asking the cooks how they made their burritos and watched them through the windows. They used these recipes to make their burritos for their food truck. However, under the pressure of the community, they stopped their business.
In the case of Kooks Burritos, the cultural appropriation police did not clearly define their terms. Would this have been different if the owners were Mexican or Mexican heritage? What if they had received the recipes from their friend’s grandmother? Perhaps in order to sell ethnic food, you need to be of that ethnicity.
By this standard, Julia Child, the American chef whose monumental work, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which brought hidden French recipes to the American market, would be counted among the worst cultural appropriators in modern times. Her autobiography, My Life in France, tells of how she made friends with French people, went to their cooking school and learned their methods. Only to turn around and (gasp!) write a cookbook and start a cooking show. Yet, everyone applauds Julia Child’s cookbook not as cultural “stealing” but rather cultural sharing which benefits everyone.
Another recent example took place at Pitzer College in Claremont California. In March of this year, the wall of free speech, where students can write whatever they want, read “White girl, take off your hoops!!!” This statement referenced hoop earrings, which, according to the artist of the statement, belonged exclusively to non-white people. She stated in an email thread sent to the entire student body that “white people have exploited the culture and made it fashion.” She fails, however to note that hoop earrings have historically been worn by Roman women in the first century, as well as Russian and Swiss women in the 18th century. In addition to the emphasis on cultural appropriation, the Regressives have revived segregation (yes, really). Recently, the New York chapter of Black Lives Matter hosted a “black only” Memorial Day party. Harvard hosted a black graduate school graduation initiated by black members of the class of 2017, to celebrate the achievements of black students and those from the “African Diaspora.” Several universities across the country including California State University, Los Angeles, University of Connecticut, University of California, Davis, University of California, Berkeley and University of Colorado, Boulder now offer segregated black dorms as “safe” and “protected” spaces.
The Regressives do not have to separate people based on race, but rather have cleverly convinced people to separate themselves. In that separation and isolation, there exists no unity on basis of family, faith or values but rather a unity in the hatred of those who disagree…unified in the hatred of dissidents, all in a disingenuous effort to be “sensitive.” In reality, we are now seeing the true colors of the diversity movement which assumes that ethnicity determines ideology while denying people the freedom to think on their own, to unite with others and to be citizens for a positive future.
Roman: In 1760, archeologists uncovered the fresco, “Woman with Wax Tablets and Stylus” also known as “Sappho” among the ruins of Pompeii, the city destroyed by the Mount Vesuvius volcano in 79 A.D. The piece is dated 55-79 A.D. and depicts a wealthy girl with tablets, stylus and adorned in fine clothing and jewelry. Note her earrings are hoop earrings.
French painter, Elisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun (1755-1842) did a series of sketches of the women and children of the Russian court. This sketch depicts Princess Catherine Chikovskoy. The Princess wears hoop earrings.
Elisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun (1755-1842). Princess Catherine Chikovskoy from Sketchbook Comprising Thrity-Eight Portrait Drawings of Women and Children of the Russian Court, c. 1801. Graphite and chalk on paper, 7 x 4 3/8 in. (17.8 x 11.1 cm).
Swiss artist: Angelica Kauffman (1740-1807.) A Bust of Girl with an Earring, 1770. Etching on paper, 5 x 4.75 in. (12.7 x 12.1 cm). Scroll down to “Artwork” section of the webpage. The young girl wears hoop earrings.
For more information on Vigée-Lebrun (p. 52) and Angelica Kauffman (p. 61) see the book, by Susan Fisher Sterling. Woman Artists: National Museum of Women in the Arts. Second Edition. New York: Abbeville Press Publishers, 2010.
Photo credit: hussainkin/Bigstock
Originally published on Patriot Post, June 15, 2017
If you grew up watching Captain Planet, you would know that the greatest threat to the environment is the human species. And the worst culprits among these humans are, of course, business owners. The job of planet heroes, then, is to fight against the evil capitalists and to be a voice for the voiceless rivers, oceans and clouds.
While this propagandistic narrative works well for a cartoon series (ok, it was atrocious there too), in real life, capitalism and private property incentivize clean air, water and reforestation. Let’s say, for example, that you own a timber farm that harvests wood every seven years. You would take care of your land and the nearby water sources because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t have the robust healthy trees for the next harvest seven years later and your renewable resource would no longer be renewable.
Barack Obama based his Captain Planet environmental policy on the incorrect assumption that business deliberately pollutes the environment. Thus, rather than dealing with, say, lead in the soil or toxins in the air, he focused on regulating businesses out of business and thereby bolstering bureaucratic power. This flawed theory casts private sector businesses as top polluters, and government-run companies as charitable saviors. Of course, look no further than the exceptionally managed $535 million federal loan to the now defunct Solyndra to see the truth. One report estimated that the total taxpayer cost may be as high as $845 million. The crony capitalist government “start-ups” that benefit bureaucrats and cost the taxpayer millions are nobody’s charity.
While Obama busied himself with failed government start-ups, he ignored the larger issues like air quality and Superfund. The EPA manages a program called “Superfund,” which cleans up some of the nation’s most hazardously contaminated sites. These sites can contain toxic and hazardous chemicals and require remediation by the EPA. The EPA establishes a National Priorities List (NPL) of the top U.S. sites in need of Superfund clean-up or remediation. Yet some of these sites have stayed on the list due to lack of action by the EPA for years, even decades.
Take, for example, the West Lake Landfill Superfund site near St. Louis, Missouri. In 1973, 38,000 tons of solid waste were mixed with 8,700 tons of leached barium sulfate (a uranium ore processing residue) left over from the Manhattan Project, a World War II era government (ahem) program which developed nuclear bombs. In 1990, the EPA designated it as a Superfund site on the NPL. Yet, under Obama, nothing happened except “investigations” and “studies.” Meanwhile, the residents of St. Louis live with this unacceptable level of toxicity. Despite Obama’s claims to be “for” the environment, 1,322 Superfund sites like this still remain around the country (more than when he came into office).
And then there’s air quality. The EPA sets air quality standards, called the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), which put limits on six air pollutants (sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, lead, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and particle pollution). There are currently 34 states that do not meet the EPA’s air quality requirements, 10 more than when Obama first took office. Ignoring the obvious needs of our country to deal with toxic waste, soil and water contaminants irresponsibly puts public health at risk.
So how did Obama, so lauded by the media as an environmental crusader, fail on such an epic level?
Well, because for him, a business-killing, highly regulatory EPA was a success. While it failed in protecting the environment, it succeeded in massive regulations on manufacturing and other businesses.
The good news is that we are saying goodbye to the fictional assumptions of Captain Planet and saying hello to real leadership at the EPA. President Donald Trump’s new EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, has recommitted the agency to actually focusing on the environment while also supporting economic growth. Last month, Pruitt issued a memo that prioritizes the cleanup of the toxic 1,322 Superfund sites across the country. Under his leadership, the EPA is planning to roll back needless regulations, which will save an estimated 1.4 million U.S. jobs. Pruitt’s commitment to the Constitution, the Rule of Law, and the process by which administrative rules are made means that the agency won’t be abused by special-interest groups who seek to change policy though a “sue-and-settle” strategy. Additionally, the new leadership has already begun to restore relationships with the states, as opposed to Obama’s modus operandi of dictating from Washington.
Finally, President Trump’s recent decision to exit the Paris Accord not only preserves our sovereignty to establish our own environmental priorities (which are cleaner than most in the world), but frees us from the obligation to pay for the remediation of other countries (namely India and China).
Obama’s failed leadership co-opted the environment issue as a way to concentrate government power by killing manufacturing and energy businesses, while simultaneously ignoring the real issues of air quality and toxic Superfund site cleanup. Trump’s and Pruitt’s leadership prioritizes the environment while also supporting business, jobs and the American worker. This new team seeks to achieve what we all want: clean water, air and soil, clean places to live and removal of toxic substances in order to provide a clean environment for the humans, plants and animals of the next generation.
Originally published on Patriot Post, June 8, 2017
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