I am thrilled to be able to be able to share some of my “cultural appreciation” experiences with our Legal Insurrection friends.

In fact, this idea came from a response I was going to make during the social justice brouhaha over 18-year old Keziah Daum’s Chinese cheongsam prom dress. I, too have such a dress.

My husband bought it for me during his first trip to China in 2004.  I had a stunning, sky blue version in high school, so I was thrilled with this lovely, yellow creation.

Eastman Original

I was intending to post it on Twitter, filed under #PunchBackTwiceAsHard.

Instead, inspired by Empty Chair Day and Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day, or team put together this fun celebration.

The key difference between “appreciation” and “appropriation” is intent. Cultural appreciation is an homage to the nation or peoples from which the item or activity is being borrowed. It conveys admiration, respect, and a desire to be part of that cultural..even briefly.

I have had a long history of cultural appreciation, starting with stealing my father’s kimonos that he bought while serving in Japan during the Korean War. Sadly, I had no pictures of those.

When I was in graduate school, I was able to take my dream trip to Egypt. There, I developed a lifelong love of belly dance. Here is a picture during taken one of my few performances.

More recently, I have embraced Indian culture and #Bollywood. I have an entire collection of Indian kurtas and jewelry to go with this new interest.

Dance is not the only thing I have appropriated. A couple of years ago, I crossed off drinking German beer in Germany off the bucket list. As you can plainly see, I appropriated a lot of hefeweizen.

Finally, in a move that is sure to give any social justice warrior an attack of the vapors, I got corn rows during a family trip to Mexico. I felt like Cleopatra in Cancun, clearly appreciating both ancient Egyptian and Mexican cultures at a local cantina.

I am clearly a Cultural Appreciation addict. Now, I have a great excuse for more dance and booze…I will need to collect pictures for next year’s celebration.

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