Cultural appropriation, the adoption of aspects of another culture by members of a dominant culture, is not a new phenomenon. Today, wearing an insensitive Halloween costume or sporting a certain hairstyle can draw accusations of cultural appropriation. But what is cultural appropriation? A form of neo-colonialism? Racism? Cultural theft? Political correctness gone too far? Or is cultural appropriation actually cultural appreciation?
Political correctness gone too far
Western culture has a long history of borrowing from other cultures. Our cooking, art, and music demonstrates a rich blend of cultural influences. Yet all of a sudden, Western culture is not allowed to borrow from any other cultures.
Fashion and art has always borrowed from other cultures
Western fashion and art have always been influenced by minority cultures and designs. Why is it suddenly such an issue?
We are no longer allowed to enjoy other cultures
Cultural appropriation prevents us from enjoying and celebrating each others' cultures.
Its only unacceptable when white people do it
If the act of cultural appropriation was genuinely offensive, it would be offensive when everyone does it, not just white people.
A cultural appreciation
Borrowing aspects of another culture is a sign of respect. It indicates others want to emulate that culture, which is fundamentally a compliment.
Emulation is a form of appreciation
Emulating another culture should be a source of flattery as it indicates that citizens of another culture like elements of another culture so much that want to incorporate it into their culture.
Cultural appropriation is the theft or exploitation of a culture to which you do not belong.
Cultural appropriation is the exploitation or theft of elements of another culture
Borrowing elements from another culture is not cultural appropriation. But leveraging them or exploiting them for financial gain is cultural appropriation.
Racism through aesthetic
Cultural appropriation refers to a very specific form of cultural borrowing that seeks to erase the people. This is racist.
My culture is not your fashion
Appropriating another culture is to undermine it and treat it as little more than a fashion trend or fad.
Cultural appropriation is a form of colonialism
Power balances are at play in instances of cultural appropriation. When a dominant culture steals parts of another culture, they are stealing part of their identity and attempting to assimilate it into the dominant culture, removing their unique cultural identities.
Cultural appropriation is a form of erasure
Cultural appropriation values culture above people.
Cultural appropriation is a meaningless term
Cultural appropriation is at best an imprecise term, and at worse, outright meaningless.
Cultural appropriation isn't the act but the how
Cultural appropriation refers to the act of appropriating another culture. This fails to differentiate between respectful cultural exchanges and damaging cultural thefts.
Cultural appropriation fails to include class
Class appropriation is as damaging as cultural appropriation but is not called out in the same way.
Cultural colonization would be a better term
Cultural appropriation only takes place when a dominant culture appropriates a minority culture. Cultural colonization would be a better term to encapsulate this phenomenon.
This page was last edited on Wednesday, 12 Feb 2020 at 14:53 UTC