There’s been a bit in the blogosphere about Cultural Appropriation recently. First, a definition for those of you who are not sure what it is. Basically, it’s the use of one culture’s artifacts by members of another culture. Yes, this has been going on since time immemorial. Nobody seemed to care about this much until recently and most of us thought it a good thing. But, times change so we’re going to give some guidance on the issue.
- No white people playing jazz, blues, R&B, rap, ska, reggae, etc.
- No African-Americans playing basketball. It was invented at all white Springfield College . Dr. James Naismith was Canadian, so it’s unclear whether it should be played in the United States without the approval of some august body of Canadians. Perhaps written approval by anyone on this list will suffice.
- But here’s the kicker. No one of European, African, South East Asian, or East Asian descent may use Arabic numerals. You know them. 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9. For those of European descent, you can use Roman numerals if your place of origin was conquered by the Romans. Those of you of other ethnic origins can consult this list to determine what to use.
Just for giggles, let’s do some arithmetic in Roman numerals. No fair cheating by converting the operands to Arabic, doing the computation in the usual fashion and then converting back to Roman numerals.
Let’s start with an easy one. Let’s add forty-four to sixty-seven. Forty-four is XLIV. Sixty-seven is LXVII. You know the answer is one hundred eleven because you cheated by converting to Arabic, didn’t you?
Let’s do the smaller digits first. Take the IV from forty-four and the VII from sixty-seven. IV + VII = (IV +VI) +I because addition is commutative and associative no matter the number system. You remember that, don’t you? IV+VI = X, so (IV+VI)+I = XI. Now take the X from XI and add it to the larger digits left over. That’s X+XL+LX, the last two terms from the forty-four and sixty-seven respectively. X+XL+LX = (X+XL)+LX = L+LX = CX. Of course you remember that L+L=C. So what do we have now. CX+I from the digits phase or CLI, which is one hundred eleven. You’ll notice that I did not use any Arabic numerals in this description.
Easy, right? Now please divide seven hundred three by nineteen. The answer is XXXVII, but you can work that out easily. Please provide your work on a clean sheet of paper with your name.
Then develop the method for doing long division when the operands are not integers, whole numbers. Ain’t easy, is it?
By the way, I do hope you’re of Anglo Saxon stock if you’re reading this. We’ve had so many case of cultures adopting English without our permission. Oh, those colonies of ours. Hmm, need to think about that.
BTW, here’s a more serious comment on the subject: