The Canon


What is the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural learning? How do we navigate it at Columbia?

  • Illustration by Dan Garisto

    In light of the controversy surrounding Kappa Alpha Theta and Chicano Caucus, we allocated the space for this week’s Canon to discuss cultural appropriation and cultural learning. We leave this one no more decided than when we began. 

    But that is not necessarily a problem. There are questions that are more valuable than answers. How do we foster empathy? What exactly is it that offends us? 

    They have also proffered their own experiences—not as answers, but as a touchstone for thought. 

    There is no doubt that the door should, and will close on this particular incident. But these questions will remain, and we hope this week’s Canon will play its part in an ongoing dialogue about navigating the myriad of cultures at Columbia.

    Emma Finder and Dan Garisto
    Editorial Page Editors


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    Anonymous posted on

    Columbia University and Bollinger himself do not foster empathy. They protect violent perps and inject the university into adjudicating processes where it does not belong. Their motivation for doing so is transparent. They want in the worst way to protect and to build alumni giving at all costs. They do not have the interests of students at heart. Themselves they do not have any empathy, and so they cannot foster empathy in others. Yet they pretend, hypocritically and criminally.

    Marco posted on

    One's culture has become to general of a term today, like beliefs, political persuasion, philosophy. For example, if I said Arab Culture, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Egyptians were not Arabs, nor did they speak Arabic. Syrians were not Arabs, nor did they speak Arabic, Moroccans were not Arabs, nor did they speak Arabic, Iraqis were not Arabs not did they speak Arabic, Libya was not Arab, nor did they speak Arabic, the Sudan was not Arab, nor did they speak Arabic, Tunisia was not Arab, nor did they speak Arabic, Sudan was not Arab, nor did they speak Arabic. Why are they all called Arab Countries, speak Arabic, and belong to the league of Arab Nations?
    Russia, China, India have have hundreds of ethnic groups that fall under one national umbrella and one passport.
    When we talk about Africans, Africa has 2,000 ethnic groups with 2,000 distinct languages.