Appropriating Cultures

In my last post I was lamenting the hipsterization of New Orleans and then the PBS ideas channel on You Tube posted this:

We are all guilty of cultural appropriation, even if we aren’t trying to do it in ironic ways.  I full on admit that it probably can come across as obnoxious that when I am out in the country I wear Barbour coats and Le Chameau boots.  I am not a British aristocrat. In fact, for those of you that are as big of fans of David Hackett Fischer’s classic Albion’s Seed as I am, I know I am a descendent of two of the four primary British migrations to colonial America — the Virginia Cavaliers of the mid 1600s and the borderlands migration (mostly Scottish, northern England, and Northern Ireland) of the early to mid 1700s. Excluding a couple of more prominent family lines, my ancestors were either dirt poor indentured servants that first had to work to pay their way to freedom or Scottish farmers of middling to no status. Even the families like the Campbells who shared names with prominent aristocrats (like the Duke of Argyll) were far removed from those illustrious families. They came to America because they wanted land and space of their own which wasn’t available to them in Britain because they weren’t landed aristocrats.

And generations later, that same desire for open spaces and land of our own is what makes our family’s Mississippi non-pile beloved. We are the offspring mostly of those hardscrabble folk. And even for the ones that came from a more landed background probably wouldn’t claim us now.

The most likely thing that we still have in common with our far removed relatives in the UK is our love of dogs and our enjoyment of walks in the country (with or without a rifle).

But we have fun anyway.

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I love that picture of David and Knightley because Knightley certainly looks capable of being a real aristocrat’s dog.

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That picture above is more of the extend Street clan, and this picture below is of my dad and his two living siblings:

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We also really enjoy everything having to do with a good fire, which I think was cuturally appropriated from the cavemen.

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2 thoughts on “Appropriating Cultures

  1. You are the only other person I know who has read Albion’s Seed! I thought that book was fascinating and couldn’t shut up about it after I read it until I finally realized that not everyone I meet wants a run-down of early British immigration groups and cultural traditions. Such an interesting book.

    1. I am not surprised at all that you would have read it! Seriously, that book is so fascinating, it really is a shame that everyone hasn’t read it! I love that we can revel in our nerdiness together!

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