Monday, November 23, 2015

Appropriating a Cultural Image

Lots of debate over "appropriating" another culture (see Eugene Volokh on yoga).  So I was struck by the image here,
which is entitled "Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression". (Image reached from this post at The Junto.) It's a political cartoon published shortly after the Boston Tea Party.  It shows British and Americans as opposing camps, with the Americans represented as Indians. Excerpts from the explanation/text in the cartoon:

12. America represented by a Woman is an Indian queen, with drawn bow about to loose an arrow at Lord North.
Behind her are six Indian warriors. They are:
13. The Sons of Liberty, represented by the Natives of America, in their savage garb. They emerge from the forest, armed with bows and spears, saying “We will secure our freedom, or die in the Attempt”: “ Lead us to Liberty  or Death”; “Lead on, Lead on.”  Above them the shores of America stretch out from Boston to the Delaware. Seated in comfort on these shores, holding a liberty cap on her staff, a tabby cat curled somewhat incongruously at her feet, is:
14. The Goddess of Liberty, addressing herself to Fame and pointing To her Sons, saying proudly “Behold the Ardor of my Sons and let not their brave Actions be buried in Oblivion.”
 Bottom line: much of our history is appropriated imagery.

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