Appreciating a different culture doesn’t mean you’re abandoning your own

Just+because+you+enjoy+music%2C+food%2C+art%2C+etc.+from+another+culture+doesn%27t+mean+that+you+wish+you+were+a+part+of+it.+Credit%3A+Lucy+Knowles%2FThe+Foothill+Dragon+Press

Just because you enjoy music, food, art, etc. from another culture doesn’t mean that you wish you were a part of it. Credit: Lucy Knowles/The Foothill Dragon Press

Riley Knouse

Just because you enjoy music, food, art, etc. from another culture doesn't mean that you wish you were a part of it. Credit: Lucy Knowles/The Foothill Dragon Press
Just because you enjoy music, food, art, etc. from another culture doesn’t mean that you wish you were a part of it. Credit: Lucy Knowles/The Foothill Dragon Press

I love Korean pop and anime. Asian dramas and variety shows entertain me much more than what I find in American television. However, as my name and how I look might suggest, no, I am not Asian. Because of my love of Asian pop culture, I have been told a numerous amount times by friends and family how I am a ‘wannabe Asian.’

I was born in America, and multiple generations of my family were also born here in America. I am Irish, German, and have so many other European genes I am not even positive what a lot of them are.

Just because I enjoy listening to or watching something that is not the same language I speak, does not mean I only identify with a culture that is not my own. No, I do not think I am Asian, and yes, I embrace the American/Irish/German genes in me, not shun them.

It is frustrating to be mocked about your taste in music, especially if people are trying to make you out to be something you are not. It is also frustrating to be told you are the only one who likes something, even when you know there are plenty of people everywhere who like the same things.

If you decide that your favorite type of music is mariachi and you love Spanish soap operas, you have that right, even if you are not Hispanic. If you want to learn everything you can about African culture even if you are not from Africa or African American, go ahead. You don’t have to reject your own cultures just to appreciate others.

British pop culture is growing more and more popularity in America. I know a good amount of One Direction and Ed Sheeran fans, and more Whovians (Dr. Who fans) than I can count. None of them claim they are a British person trapped in an American’s body, and no one accuses them of this. Maybe it is because of the shared language that it is ‘acceptable,’ but you do not hear people judging others because of their love for the BBC, and all other things from England.

When Psy’s “Gangnam Style” came to America, the dance and song were well known and well received. When you said you were a fan of k-pop, people assumed you meant “Gangnam Style,” and maybe a few Big Bang and Girls Generation songs here and there. More than that, though, it is automatically assumed you have ‘converted’ to the Korean culture.

We should not be judging people who are merely taking an interest in a culture other than their own. If anything, we should follow their lead and learn more about other parts of the world, even if that means going against the status quo. Try listening to Flogging Molly rather than Miley Cyrus, or Enrique Iglesias instead of Justin Bieber.

I am not telling you to abandon all of your music tastes and listen to something you do not even enjoy for the sake of feeling a sense of being ‘cultured,’ but don’t knock something until you try it. Who knows? Maybe you will find that Swedish music speaks to you in ways other types of music do not, Vietnamese karaoke is your new found passion, or that one song by One Direction swayed you into being their fan, and therefore you find yourself listening to more of them.

We need to stop accusing people of being something they are not just because they do not like ‘normal’ music, or ‘normal’ television.

It is perfectly acceptable to like something that does not match the complexion of your skin, and just because you like something from a different culture does not mean you reject your own.

What do you think?