A Utah mom inadvertently sparked a fire when she threw a Japanese-themed birthday party for her daughter, Caitlyn, and posted about it on her blog. Tumblr somehow got a hold of it, and some users started dragging the mom for encouraging racism. One commentator, who happened to be Japanese, however, came in to set the record straight, and it was pretty much the mic drop of the century.
The mom in question, who runs a party planning blog called The Gala Gals, is just one of the latest people to enter the fierce modern debate on cultural appropriation, and when it is and isn’t okay. Do you dress up as people from other countries in order to make fun of them? You’re probably a racist. Do you like wearing a kimono because you appreciate its beauty and historical significance to Japan? Go right ahead. A strong argument can be made, after all, that stigmatizing the sharing of cultural elements only creates more distance between us.