SCENE: Mitch BERG is in his car, at the drive-through at Taco John’s in Little Canada.
Suddenly, Moonbeam BIRKENSTOCK steps around the corner and up to BERG’s driver window.
BIRKENSTOCK: Merg! Stop the cultural appropriation!
BERG: What are you talking about?
BIRKENSTOCK: Places like Taco Johns that prepare ethnic food outside its original cultural context are practicing cultural appropriation!
BERG: So? All cultures practice appropriation. And by the way, who are you – a twenty-something graduate of Saint Olaf, and of Camp Wellstone, who works as a telemarketer for “Minnesotans United for All Progressive Causes”, and is as white as the driven snow – doing jabbering about “cultural appropriation”, anyway?
BIRKENSTOCK: I identify as a wise Latina!
BERG: Huh. OK. So no member of a culture can use anything from another culture without, what? An accompanying certificate of authenticity?
BIRKENSTOCK: Don’t be a smart-aleck, Berg. Appropriating other cultures diminishes them!
BERG: Huh. Well, OK, then. In for a dime, in for a dollar.
BIRKENSTOCK: What does that mean?
BERG: Well, people from other cultures should stop appropriating things that are identified with a European cultural context. Universities. Voting. The emphasis on the rights of the individual. The idea of democratic government and one-person, one-vote rule and equality of all people of all classes before a law that is written by consent of those governed. The ideals of free speech, the right to petition for the redress of grievances, fair trials, enumerated powers and unenumerated rights – all of them are Western, “white” ideals, most of them American.
BIRKENSTOCK: Nonsense. All of them were invented by the Iroquois.
BERG: And are you Iroquis?
BIRKENSTOCK: I have always identified as Iroquis.
BERG: Iroquis and Latina?
BIRKENSTOCK: Don’t mansplain!
BERG: Do you also identify as Hindi?
BERG: That toe ring you’re wearing is “appropriated” from South Asia.
BIRKENSTOCK: Check your privilege! You’re a white male who’s trying to mansplain!
BERG: Now you’re appropriating elements of our linguistic heritage; “Privilege” is from the Norman French, while “Check” comes from Saxon roots.
DRIVE-THRU SPEAKER: May I take your order?
BIRKENSTOCK: Just a small Potato Olé, please.
BERG: Hey – I was in line.
BIRKENSTOCK: I identified as ahead of you, so I appropriated your spot.