We touched on this a little while back when talking about the often brought up subject of social justice and public offence, but today an entirely new example of offence has been spotlighted on social media as Jamie Oliver became the accused in a case of what is known as cultural appropriation. Just quickly, cultural appropriation is basically pointing out that a person has borrowed, used or taken an example of another cultures methods, apparel, music or in this case cooking habits or recipes. Here’s why this is offensive… oh hold on, it isn’t, but it is a fantastic opportunity for people with nothing better to do, who love to claim they’re being oppressed or victimized, to stand up, shout and make a public, or at least social media led attack on an individual for something.

Focusing on the example that’s making headlines today, we have Jamie Oliver, the nations favourite food vigilante, who has spent years campaigning for not only healthier school dinners for children but a healthier diet nationally for us all. As one of the UK’s most talented chefs he has a widely eclectic blend of different recipes and ideas and I’ll admit I’ve used them multiple times. In fact one of the first recipes of his I ever followed was an incredible and festive Jerk ham, which only indulged my love of Jamaican cuisine even more and Jerk chicken remains my all time favourite dish, without question. So upon the reveal/advertising of Jamie Oliver’s new “Punchy Jerk Rice”, available in all good retailers, probably, a voice on Twitter, two days ago called CULTURAL APPROPRIATION! Now, anyone making such a statement seems like an attention seeking, reality-phobe who just wants to be heard making a fuss over absolutely nothing, but hat can only make matters worse is that it’s a Labour MP doing the shouting.

Dawn Butler, the Labour MP for Brent central has created this whole backlash out of absolutely nowhere and it’s such a massive shame to see. As someone who has no political leaning, and certainly doesn;t want to choose one team or another, I must admit I’d normally favour the left and did vote Labour in the most recent elections. Seeing this crap is not only a disappointment but points the party out as a bunch of whining children with nothing better to do with their time, but then that might just be a perfect description of politicians. This isn’t extortion, Oliver hasn’t burst into Jamaica and claimed Jerk Rice as his own, a culture or nation hasn’t been ripped off mercilessly, it’s merely a product, and one you can choose to buy or not. Cultural appropriation is one of the most moronic social justice complaints I’ve ever encountered as it does nothing more than widen the gap between us all, and make that line between us geographically, nationally and culturally, even more visible. The inconsistencies in the argument of cultural appropriation are ridiculous to, as we all, as a species, borrow and trade ideas and perspectives from each other, and damn right as well. I, maybe not as much as Jamie Oliver, love to cook and I enjoy nothing more than experimenting and exploring foreign cuisine, and as I mentioned before, as chance would have it, Jamaican would be my favourite. I’ve cooked it with friends, I’ve cooked it for friends and I’ll continue to do so for the rest of my life, regardless of some pathetic Twitter tirade.

Dawn Butler, reassess your priorities and find perhaps a little more tolerance for the world working together as one and enjoying what we all have to offer.


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