College Op-Ed: St. Patrick’s Day Partying Is Cultural Appropriation

(Timoty A. Clary/AFP/Getty)
Remember: The offended person is always right.

According to a piece in the Concordian, Concordia College’s official student newspaper, St. Patrick’s Day partying can amount to “subtle cultural appropriation,” and people should be very careful about how they celebrate it.

“Most of the people who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day now do not understand its cultural significance,” student Johnny Wagner writes. “Thus, St. Patrick’s Day is, in fact, an example of subtle cultural appropriation.”

Now, to be fair, Wagner explains that this does not necessarily mean “that we shouldn’t celebrate at all, though,” and that there are certain things people can do in order to celebrate sensitively.

For example: “Unless you understand who St. Patrick was and what he really did, don’t mention him at all.”

Yes, that’s right! If you plan to even “mention” St. Patrick “at all” (emphasis added) on St. Patrick’s Day, you had better make sure to spend some time hitting the books before hitting the bar.

Among Wagner’s other advice: “Don’t wear Ireland’s flag” and “unless it’s specially made by some secret Irish brewing recipe that distorts the color, don’t drink green beer and say it’s Irish” because “the Irish like their amber beer just fine.”

(Yikes. I guess you have to research brewing recipes, too!)

Of course, there would be no way for Wagner to outline every potential cultural-sensitivity pitfall in just one short piece — so, thankfully, he also offers a general rule:

“Is somebody from the culture you are appropriating offended by what you are wearing, doing or saying? If the answer is yes, then you are wrong.”

#share#Yep . . . anyone who is offended is automatically right, and anyone who offends is automatically racist. Going by this logic, if an Irish person were to tell a non-Irish person that he was offended to see the non-Irish person drinking beer at all on St. Patrick’s Day, the non-Irish person would automatically be “wrong” for doing so. He’d have to beg forgiveness and switch to water.

#related#Recently, I’ve been thinking that it seems like the social-justice warriors have basically gained control over all permissible speech and expression on college campuses. I’ve been thinking that it seems like a person being offended basically makes that person automatically “correct,”  regardless of logic or reality.

But apparently, I’ve been wrong — at least according to Wagner.

After all, if you listen to Wagner’s point of view, there is no “seems” or “basically” about it. He actually goes so far as to state, point-blank, that anyone who offends another person is, without exception, “wrong” just because that other person was offended.  And that, my friends, is a frighteningly stupid thought.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online


The Latest