The Thief by S. M. Hutchens

The Thief

Having in recent years encountered yet another new sin, I here lay before our readers my confession, complete with dust and ashes: I have been guilty my whole life of participating in what is now called "cultural appropriation."

We had a name for this back in the dark old days: we called it education. In our unwoke depravity we thought it good to get as much as we could. In this regard I blush to think how many wicked hours I spent in my white Americanness learning Greek, playing Mozart and W. C. Handy, and reading Sung Dynasty novellas, shamelessly stealing from ancient peoples who were powerless to stop me, from black Americans, Germans, and Chinese.

With this kind of thievery afoot, it is little wonder there is so little understanding and so much ethnic ill-will in the world, for as everyone now knows, understanding is an attitude that precedes learning, not a possible result of it.

S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.

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