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Cultural exchange across various continents has become a common occurrence in the current world of progressively rampant globalization supported by rapid advancements in technology and transportation. This cultural exchange has, however, received a lot of criticism in recent years. The phrase cultural appropriation is commonly used and adopted to summarize this surge of cultural exchange disapproval. Cultural appropriation also termed as cultural misappropriation, refers to the adoption of aspects of an outside culture, including symbols, knowledge, and practices without respecting or understanding the original context and culture. Some view it as a type of cultural and social exploitative crime, while others believe cultural appropriation is another form of positive interaction in today’s modernized world (Ziff & Rao 1997).

Cultures have adapted and borrowed ideas from one another since the first developments of civilization. While cultural appropriation is considered unacceptable, it is not primarily the appropriation that is wrong; but then it is the context in which it is applied, the lack of understanding, as well as the double standards that exist behind it that are inappropriate (Young & Brunk 2012). I believe cultural appropriation between cultures can be enjoyable and beneficial. For example, western cultures appreciate and enjoy traditional Chinese dishes like Peking duck, which is continually being modified and reinvented to fit into the Western taste. In turn, China has also developed a favorable taste for Western dishes. The two cultures are borrowing and adapting certain aspects of their food cultures without devaluing or stealing each other’s culture. This essay explains that cultural appropriation is two-way and beneficial between cultures as relates to a traditional Chinese dish known as pecking duck.

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I agree that potentially destructive consequences might arise from appropriating the intellectual or physical property of a culture. That is if the goal of the cultural exchange is a detrimental caricature of the ideals of a culture, the mockery of a culture’s beliefs, or when the cultural appropriation results from the theft of a cultural artifact as well as insensitive and disrespectful use of a culture’s sacred symbol. All these activities are unethical, and reprehensible and should be disapproved and condemned. However, cultural appropriation is not entirely negative. It can sometimes come as a form of tribute, admiration, or having the intention to learn and adopt certain interesting values of another culture.

Therefore, I believe authenticity alone is not a sufficient criterion for criticizing or passing negative judgments about cultural appropriation particularly in food or dishes. In the current globalized world, one cannot deny or attack diversity. Globalization has the potential to create exciting uniformity. I think it is good for cultures to connect and share elements of their values and culture, but they should not rename or take over each other’s ideas. I will support my point of view by basing my argument on a traditional Chinese dish known as Peking duck.

Pecking duck describes an iconic Chinese dish that consists of thin, tender roasted pieces of duck meat wrapped in a crispy skin-thin crepe together with sliced cucumbers, spring onions, and sweet bean or hoisin sauce. There is an excellent reason why pecking duck is among the most popular dishes in China. This is because the dish traces its roots back approximately more than 700 years to the nation’s royal lineage. Pecking duck, also termed as Beijing duck or Chinese duck became a popular main dish in the country during the Yuan Dynasty when China was ruled by Mongol empires (1271 to 1378).  

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