Brian Otoya grew up in D.C. and knows firsthand just how delicious culture can be. His mom makes amazing Peruvian food. Perhaps then, it’s no surprise that Brian came up with the idea for The Etymology of Yum. Just as words have origins (or etymologies) so do dishes. The Etymology of Yum is a feature Brian will be heading up at Mixed Mental Arts that reveals the same lesson over and over again: deliciousness comes from cultures having #ideasex.
Dishes like the taco, the pizza, BBQ ribs, pad thai, sushi, banh mi, peri peri chicken, lomo saltado and more aren’t the result of a single culture. They’re what happens when cultures trade and combine ingredients, cooking techniques and much, much more. That’s why anyone (like Lena Dunham) who wants to end cultural appropriation has completely missed the point of human progress. Human progress is about taking ideas from other cultures to make your own culture more awesome. The real issue with cultural appropriation is power. Is the transfer of information from one culture to another done between people with more or less equal power and done with consent or is it coercive? The problem isn’t #ideasex. It’s #idearape. The issue isn’t the exchange of cultural tools. It’s the abuse of power.
And power is something that growing up in D.C. is on Brian Otoya’s mind. Brian has a dream. That dream is to Make Government Great Again. With all the technologies that have appeared in the last few decades, the opportunity to make government better serve the people is here. It will take a mass of the people acting together and demanding those updates. If you also want a better, more efficient and more streamlined government, then you should talk to Brian Otoya. You will find lots and lots of other people do too. The more of us gang up on the problem instead of each other the faster we fix the system.