One of the most important themes in today's world is diversity, which is the aspect of accepting one another's cultures. It is a prerequisite for organisations to achieve globalization. This is due to the fact that it helps people from different backgrounds to understand and adopt each other's cultural traditions. Cuisine is one of the most traditional mutual cultural practices. - culture has its own distinctive way of cooking foods, and as cultures mix, those traditions begin to be shared. However, in today's world, certain civilizations misuse others by copying and claiming ownership of cuisine. The debate has been rife on whether cultures should stick to making only their cuisine; instead, of copying another. The debate is primarily based on the exploitation aspects regarding ownership of the cuisines. Therefore, since culture is a crucial element that rightly identifies a particular community, it is vital cultures stick to making their cuisines. As such, this paper will illustrate why the cultures should stick to their cuisines.
Copying other culture’s cuisine is prone to culture appropriation. This means it is prone to abuse, theft, or exploitation. In recent times, cases of individuals copying other cultures and owning the cuisines have increased much to the disappointment of the victims. According to Michael Twitty, one of the most renowned African American-Jewish chef, cultural appropriation is an injustice to the founders of the cuisine. The cuisine has symbolic meanings to the culture practicing it, and when it is copied and used to the advantage of the other party, it becomes an injustice. A good example can be elucidated by the Hot Chicken debate. In this incident, The Food Republic website recognized a pair of white chefs from the Hattie B’s restaurant for promoting Nashville hot chicken (Perkins). However, this delicacy has been part and parcel of the black culture for many years. It, therefore, felt like an injustice when the White counterparts are accredited for commercializing it. Therefore, cultures should stick to making their own foods to prevent culture appropriations.
Cultural appropriation is disrespectful to the victimized community. As elucidated earlier, each community has its own unique way of practicing culture, particularly regarding cuisine. Furthermore, the cultures have meanings and the communities practicing them uphold some aspect of their beliefs. It is, therefore, disrespectful when another culture copies the practice, without substantial knowledge of the same and then goes on to own it. This action is similar to colonization, whereby the dominant culture has an utmost say even when the practice is adopted. According to Betsy Phillips, a food writer, “When the black people who have the decades’ long expertise in making hot chicken don’t grow rich off it, but the white kid who got to go to culinary school does, it is not because his hot chicken tastes better” (Perkins). The writer was referring to the Hot Chicken debate and affirmed the fact that it is disrespectful for one culture to copy, own, and make profits out of another culture’s practices.
Cultural appropriation of food has numerous detrimental impacts such as disunity, grudges, etc. among the affected cultures. As such, cultures should stick to their cuisine to avoid these detrimental aspects. Evidently, when one benefits from copying another individual’s culture as illustrated above, the society is destabilized as bad blood between the respective community continues to abound. As per Twitty’ sentiments, cuisine appropriation is an element of injustice that harms the relationship between the different cultures. It is for this reason that he dwells on what is termed as culinary justice (Perkins). When people start hating each other because of the copied cultures, the entire nation is at a loss. Communities ought to live in harmony, and since cuisine appropriation can lead to disturbing aspects like disunity or grudges, it is imperative for cultures to stick to their own cuisines.
Cultures should not be restricted to their own cuisine, particularly since the contemporary globe champions for diversity. In other words, one cannot appreciate another culture without copying some of their practices like cuisine. Instead; the society should champion cultural diffusion that entails; naturally interleaving each other’s cultures for people living in the same environment. In a world that champions diversity, it is paramount that cuisine is inclusive of this. Evidently, it is one of the most crucial elements when it comes to culture, and is highly appreciated by different communities. However, even if sharing cuisine is a fundamental element of diversity, the current society is driven by greed to the extent that they use any means to get rich. As such, they would rather make money than appreciate one another’s cultural practices. In that regard, sticking to one’s cultural cuisine is the best way of negating exploitation among other injustices.
Even though the modern society strives to adopt culturally diverse practices, some elements ought to be regulated. Furthermore, some cultural practices should be left to the respective culture to maintain harmony in a community or global perspective. Since individuals are driven by greed to acquire wealth regardless of the methods, cultures should be shielded from this behavior. Cultural appropriation of cuisine is disrespectful, prone to detrimental impacts, and leads to exploitation and abuse. Therefore, cultures should stick to making their own cuisines to avoid the numerous detrimental impacts.
Perkins, Tom. "Michael Twitty explains the cultural appropriation of food and culinary injustice." 17 April 2017. 15 May 2017.
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