Cultural Appropriation: The Real Victims

Cultural

As another festivity comes swiftly upon us, once again the liberals and leftists will use this opportunity to stand before the crowds with faux outrage at the plight of minorities. They invariably politicise public holidays and the high tides of the cultural calendar in order to signal to the world – and of course, their minority voter base – that they’re on the side of the downtrodden, the dispossessed and the victims of discrimination. In practise, what this means is that they’re nailing their colours to the mast in a war they themselves have created, fighting the cause of minority (non-white) ethnic groups against white Europe – or native Europe, as a term that I prefer.

The charge? That we, the racist white folk of Europe and the lands of European diaspora, are somehow appropriating the cultures of minority groups with the costumes we wear or the rites and rituals that we perform at such times as Halloween. The notion of dressing up for Halloween has become perhaps the most politicised entry in the West’s cultural calendar, in no small part down to the excessive airtime given to those who arbitrarily dictate that a European wearing sombrero hats or an Afro wig is grossly offensive.

First and foremost, this entire debate is founded on a myth: that Europeans are a majority group. It is statistically obvious and beyond all measure of doubt that Europeans and Americans, Canadians Australians etc. of European origin are a tiny minority of the world’s population, accounting for just 6.5% of the planet’s human life. To put this into perspective, there are more Chinese people in China than there are peoples of European origin in the entire world. The same is true of India, which has more Indians within its borders than there are Europeans in the entire world. In fact, we’re only just the majority in many of our own countries!

But there’s a deeper, perhaps less understood element of this debate that nobody is willing to speak about. Those who pervade the public and intellectual spheres with this strange perversion of social justice are either historically illiterate or willingly ignorant in an attempt to frame the facts to suit their political goals. For the reality is that the major festivals of our cultural calendar – Christmas, Halloween and Easter – are inherently European in nature and origin, predating the advent of universalist Abrahamic religions by a long time. All three of these festivals find their origins in Northern European and, specifically, Northern European folk traditions and Pagan religious rites and rituals.

Christmas (Yuletide) may now focus on the birth of Christ, but all the associated traditions that one would reasonably associate with the festival can be traced back to Northern European Pagan traditions, including the use of coniferous tress in the home, the burning of fires (Yule log), gift giving and a great feast. Similarly, Easter (Ostara) is named after a holy period of the Germanic Pagan calendar called Ēostremōnaþ, and the festival was associated with fertility and springtime, which is the origin of the Easter Bunny, Easter Eggs and the giving of flowers at this time. The fact that Christ was supposedly crucified at this time is merely coincidental, but the connection between the crucifixion as resurrection of Christ and the festival of Easter have been interwoven in modern times.

And then there’s Halloween, or Winternights (Germanic) or Samhain (Celtic) as it was originally known. I wrote recently about the Pagan origins of Halloween and, whilst the modern festival Allhallowtide is most definitely Christian, it was created on the back of Pagan traditions and folklore that had been practised for centuries prior to Christianity arriving in Northern Europe. The entire concept of the departed spirits roaming where they once lived, or the wearing of masks and even children asking the community for treats, are all derived from the Pagan roots of our continent.

One may be asking the perfectly reasonable question as to what the ancient roots of these festivals means for the issue of cultural appropriation? Quite simply, these festivals came from Northern Europe and were invented by the native peoples of this region. More than that, they are the last surviving elements of the last true “blood religions”. By definition, anybody who celebrates Halloween but is not of Northern European origin is practising cultural appropriation on a scale that relates “wearing a sombrero” to relative obscurity.

However, much to our detriment, Europeans are a very accommodating group. We share our land, our wealth, and our enlightened values with the rest of the world, even when it negatively affects us in return – this extends to our folklore and traditional customs. In our overwhelmingly naïve generosity, we gladly invite and actively encourage the rest of the world to partake in our cultural activities, even changing them time and again to suit foreign sensibilities.

This generosity will only extend so far, and our patience is wearing thin. Fine, celebrate our traditions, enjoy what our ancestors created – what’s ours is yours… But it is Ours! Our culture. Our tradition. Our past and our future. Perhaps some gratitude for bringing the world such joyous periods of celebration and festivity wouldn’t go amiss, instead of the constant barrage of whining and complaining that little Jimmy doing blackface is hurting your overly privileged feelings.

William is a writer based in England, Great Britain.