On Cultural Appropriation

I feel torn about the idea of “cultural appropriation”. On one hand, I feel cultures should freely mix, but on the other hand, I can see how certain groups of people can exploit it to unfairly profit from it.

The episode of “Ugly Delicious” about tacos featured this famous white chef from Copenhagen opening a restaurant in Tulum Mexico after several months of learning from the locals how to use their unique ingredients which obviously took generations to perfect. He then proceeds to charge $600 a person for his new creation.

This unfairness is particularly painful in the world of food because you cannot patent or copyright recipes. If that were possible, this chef would have been sued left and right.

The problem isn’t the exchange of cultures; it’s the economics of it that unfairly benefits the privileged. Although these local Mexicans generously shared their knowledge for free, when they need, for instance, Western inventions like medicine, they have to pay up because they are conveniently protected by the patent laws.

From this perspective, I would advocate for abolishing intellectual property laws altogether. It’s too impractical to fairly enforce them.