The first thing to know about the word “catholics” is that the word is the title of a movie.
A few days ago, I watched “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly”, in which the main character (Tom Hiddleston) was an immigrant from the Caribbean, who found himself in a place where he did not belong.
It is a film which, in its very essence, is an indictment of racism, and it’s not hard to understand why: it’s a movie about the experiences of a single American black man.
The only difference between it and a lot of films on the topic of cultural appropriateness is that this film does not feature white actors playing white characters.
The second thing to realise about the term is that it is not a label.
It doesn’t mean that you are either white, male or cisgendered.
It means that you want to be considered to be “in this together”.
Cultural appropriation is a term used to describe actions by the use of cultural, historical or cultural artefacts to exploit or harm someone else.
This can range from using someone else’s music or film to promote your own, or to use the colour of their skin to represent something.
A person who appropriates another person’s cultural artefact does so because they do not recognise or understand the cultural significance of it.
The term is a bit like the words “nigger” and “black”.
These are terms that are used to identify someone who is “not white”, or who has a black skin colour, or who is not considered to have a certain level of social or economic status.
They are not used to refer to the individual.
The fact that “cis” is a racial slur is not going to make it any less offensive to someone who identifies as cisgender.
The word “black” is not used as a slur, and so it is clear that, when it comes to the issue of cultural or historical appropriation, we do not have a binary that defines who is in or out.
The way we refer to people as “ciccic” and the way we call someone “cacic” can both be offensive to people who are not white, cisgender, heterosexual, straight, cis, trans or queer.
In the words of the British National Party’s Cathy Newman, “When we speak of someone being a member of a particular race, we’re actually talking about a person being of a certain skin colour”.
It is not enough to simply point out that there are “cultural appropriation” issues around using or appropriating a cultural item, or that we need to stop “white” people from using or using a cultural icon.
There is also a real possibility that the terms are misused.
It’s easy to use “cicc” and to call someone who has “cianc” tattooed on their arm “a cisgenderer”.
But it is also very difficult to use a term that has been around for a long time and has come to be associated with many different groups of people.
We can only be clear when we acknowledge that we don’t have a “white identity”, and that we are all in the same boat.
This is why we need more diverse representations of different cultures in films, books, television, music and theatre.
We need to recognise and celebrate those who have chosen to celebrate their identities in a way that is not associated with racism.
If we do that, we will all be better off.