A delegation of Democrat congressional leaders – including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – showed up for the announcement of their police reform legislation wearing Kente scarfs. It was an example of political pandering and showboating at the same time.
Kente designs are incorporated into the fabrics associated with the Ashanti people of central Ghana. The Democrats donning the fabric is a prime example of cultural appropriation. They get apoplectic if a Mexican cooks Chinese food, but have no problem dressing up in Ghana garb. And why Ghana?
Left-wing Democrats started using distinctive Ghana cloth as an expression of black culture in America – even though those displaying the clothing generally have no known ties to Ghana. A lot of black Americans likely had roots in any number of African nations – including Kenya, which is in the Obama family tree (and no, I am not suggesting he was not American born), or Nigeria, where, according to my DNA results, I have some ancestors. It is likely that Schumer and Pelosi do not even have any ties to Africa – at least not since the dawn of mankind. In fact, their wearing the Kente scarf could be viewed as an haute couture version of blackface.
If you think my old white man (one percent Nigerian) statement is too harsh, consider the opinion of prominent African writer Nanjala Nyabola, who blasted the Democrats in a tweet, saying, “Stop using Africans and African cultures as props to deflect criticism. We are not your props.” Ouch! Props? That would seem to make Democrats accusing President Trump of using the Bible as a prop a bit hypocritical. At least the Bible represented his religion and a significant part of the American culture – and he was drawing attention to a vandalized Christian church.
I ran across a site that specializes in Afro-centric products. They sell a variety of Kente cloth items. The one that looked closest to what Schumer, Pelosi, et al, were wearing was advertised as making “wonderful table runners.” Oddly, the sales information stated that these fabrics were made in … India. If Democrats want to go full-blown and wear a Dashiki, I bet the online store could find them a tablecloth made in Jakarta to repurpose.
I like the Dashiki as a colorful garment – with kudos to the ancient designers who created the style. I actually wore one in my more youthful days. It was not a political statement, just something I liked. Maybe it was that one percent Nigerian blood.
Of course, at the time I had no idea that was appropriating another culture. I considered it a bit of a compliment. I also wore a Nehru Jacket for a time. I must confess, I go around south Florida with one of those distinctive Cuban shirts. I am an unrepentant serial cultural appropriator.
The Democrats, however, were not donning the Kente scarf because they like the style. It was meant as a political statement. It was the uniform of the day – ordered by the Congressional Black Caucus, which distributed them to their white colleagues.
Following in the tradition of the day, when an Irish cop is killed, can we expect to see the Democrat leadership appear in a show of symbolic sympathy dressed as Leprechauns? Oh …. I forget. Dead cops are not to be memorialized according to Democrats.
But you must give Democrats credit. They sure know how to engage in symbolism as a substitution for solutions. Is that why life in the Democrat-controlled ghettoes has hardly improved in more than 100 years?
So, there ‘tis.