- 1 What Is Cultural Appropriation?
- 2 Defining Cultural Appropriation
- 3 Context of Cultural Appropriation
- 4 Examples of Cultural Appropriation
- 5 How to Know If Something Is Cultural Appropriation
- 6 How to Avoid Cultural Appropriation
- 7 A Word From Verywell
- 8 What is cultural appropriation – and how can you spot it?
- 9 What Is Cultural Appropriation?
- 10 What is cultural appropriation, and how does it differ from cultural appreciation?
- 11 What is cultural appropriation?
- 12 Thin line
- 13 Cultures are complex
- 14 How to Recognize Cultural Appropriation — Plus, What to Do
- 15 Cultural Appreciation vs. Cultural Appropriation: Why it Matters
- 16 What is Cultural Appropriation? – NCCJ
What Is Cultural Appropriation?
Alison Czinkota’s Verywell is a work of fiction. Using goods or aspects from a non-dominant culture in a way that does not respect their original meaning, does not give proper acknowledgment to their source, perpetuates stereotypical ideas, or contribute to oppression is known as cultural appropriation (also known as cultural appropriation). As a result, cultural appropriation is a multi-layered and subtle phenomena that many individuals may have difficulty comprehending—or may not even recognize they are engaging in while they are doing so for themselves.
In reality, the fusion of such cultures has resulted in many beautiful innovations and creations, such as country music, that have enriched our lives.
Cultural appropriation may be identified in this manner by asking the non-dominant group the following question: “Does the usage of this part of your culture in this manner disturb you?”
Defining Cultural Appropriation
Consider the question of how we define cultural appropriation from the beginning. Let us first explore what each of the phrases in the phrase means, as well as other related concepts that are critical to comprehending the meaning of the statement.
Anything linked with a group of people based on their ethnicity, religion, location, or social milieu is referred to as their cultural heritage. Beliefs, traditions, language, items, ideas, behaviors, conventions, values, and institutions are all examples of what is meant by “culture.” The majority of the time, culture is assumed to be exclusive to specific ethnic groups.
It is illegal to steal something that does not belong to you, and it is most typically used to describe an exchange that occurs when a dominant group takes or borrows something from a minority population that has traditionally been exploited or oppressed. A lack of awareness or appreciation for the historical context of what is being appropriated is characterized by this lack of understanding or respect for the historical context. For example, taking a precious artefact from a culture and making it into a Halloween costume is a kind of appropriation.
People from another culture are subjected to cultural denigration when someone adopts an element of their culture with the express intention of degrading or putting them down. Probably the most visible example of this is the use of blackface, which developed as a tactic to degrade people of color by portraying them as having undesirable psychological qualities.
It is the polite borrowing of elements from another culture with a desire in exchanging ideas and diversifying one’s own that is referred to as “cultural appreciation.” For example, practicing martial arts from an instructor who has a thorough grasp of the discipline from a cultural viewpoint, or eating Indian food at a genuine Indian restaurant, are both examples of what I mean.
When done effectively, cultural appreciation may result in the creation of innovative hybrids that combine several cultures.
Context of Cultural Appropriation
Understanding the historical background of cultural appropriation is essential to comprehending why it is a serious problem. When adopting a style from another culture, such as wearing your hair in cornrows, you may not think twice about it. However, the non-dominant group has historical experiences that make your actions insensitive to their past and ongoing suffering. However, despite the fact that this is only one example, the history of racism in America, which has been codified into legislation, means that there are still artifacts of racism that survive to this day.
In other words, you’ve hopped on a trend because it appears to be hip, but in doing so, you’ve demonstrated a lack of consideration for the individuals for whom that trend is their way of life rather than just the current craze.
Examples of Cultural Appropriation
What are some examples of cultural appropriation that you can think of? In order to begin, let us examine the sorts of goods that are frequently the object of cultural appropriation.
- Intellectual property, artifacts, dance, clothing and fashion, language, music, food, religious symbols, decorations, medicine, makeup, hairstyle, tattoos, and wellness practices are some of the topics covered.
In this section, we’ll look at the types of people who are most commonly victimized in the United States when it comes to cultural appropriation. They are comprised of the following categories of people:
- African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans are all represented.
For the last question: Can you give any examples of cultural appropriation from popular culture. Here are a few things to think about.
Rock ‘N’ Roll
Rock & roll was “created” in the 1950s by white musicians; nevertheless, the musical style was taken from Black artists who were never given credit for their contributions. Music executives choose to favor white singers over Black musicians, thus supporting the notion that cultural appropriation has negative consequences for a non-dominant group of people.
Following the deaths of three participants in a fake sweat lodge run by motivational entrepreneur James Arthur Ray, Ray was found guilty of three counts of negligent murder and sentenced to prison. This is an extreme example of the cultural appropriation of Native American practices by non-Native Americans.
Did Madonna popularize the “voguing” fad in the 1990s, and do you recall what it was like? Actually, voguing as a dance has its origins in the homosexual bars of New York City, where it was popularized by members of the Black and Latinx populations. Madonna defends her right to artistic expression, but the issue remains as to how many people still believe Madonna was the first to use voguing.
Because of the names of the teams, major sports teams in the United States and Canada have been accused of cultural appropriation and have been fined. The Chicago Blackhawks, the Cleveland Indians, the Washington Redskins, and the Edmonton Eskimos are just a few examples of club names from the past and present. In the meanwhile, both the Redskins and Eskimos are through a rebranding process as of the time of this writing. The epithet “redskin” is used to denigrate indigenous people, while the name “Eskimos” has been rejected by the Inuit population as being disparaging.
Whenever you’re in doubt about whether something constitutes cultural appropriation, go no farther than the reaction of the group whose cultural aspect was appropriated for your own benefit.
How to Know If Something Is Cultural Appropriation
Are you confused of how to determine whether or not something constitutes cultural appropriation? In this case, here are some things you should ask yourself:
- What is your ultimate objective in accomplishing what you are doing? Are you following a fashion trend or researching the history of a culture, for example? Are you attempting to offend someone’s culture on purpose, or are you attempting to be respectful? Are you buying something that is a copy of a culture or something that is an original culture? (e.g., a piece of artwork)
- What would the reactions of individuals from the culture from which you are borrowing an item be to what you are doing
- Does your work contain any preconceptions or preconceived notions about what you do? Are you making light of a sacred object in a mocking or amusing manner? (for example, a headpiece)
- Are you appropriating something from an old civilization and passing it off as something entirely new? In your work, do you give credit to the source or inspiration for what you’re doing? In the event that someone from the original culture did what you are doing, would they be regarded as “cool” or would they be subjected to some form of discrimination? Do you have a costume that reflects a certain culture on? (for example, a Geisha girl or tribal clothing)
- You’re neglecting the cultural value of something in order to keep up with the latest fashion
Consider the answers to these questions, and remember to always maintain cultural sensitivity while incorporating characteristics from another culture. If you understand that what you’ve done is incorrect, it’s perfectly acceptable to acknowledge that you’ve made a mistake and then strive to correct the situation and/or apologize for it.
How to Avoid Cultural Appropriation
What steps should you take to avoid cultural appropriation? The following are some actions to take.
- Asking yourself the questions on the list above can help you begin to understand the underlying motive for what you are doing. It is better to give credit to or acknowledge the origin of objects that you steal or promote from other cultures rather than pretending that they are your own unique ideas
- Prior to appropriating or adopting features of a culture, devote the necessary time to learning about and fully appreciating that culture. Discover a culture through learning from individuals who are already familiar with it, visiting establishments managed by actual members of the culture (such as restaurants), and attending authentic events (such as a real luau). Small enterprises owned and operated by original members of a culture should be supported rather than mass-produced things from large box retailers that are intended to symbolize a culture.
A Word From Verywell
Cultural appropriation is the social counterpart of plagiarism, but with an additional dosage of denigration thrown in for good measure. It is something to be avoided at all costs, and it is something on which you should educate yourself. In addition to being aware of your own behaviors, it is critical to be aware of the acts of companies and to be selective in how you spend your money, as this is another means of assisting members of the non-dominant culture. Do what you can when you can, and improve your performance as you go.
What is cultural appropriation – and how can you spot it?
When Justin Bieber posted an image of his new dreadlock hairdo on Instagram, several people accused him of cultural infringement. The Canadian pop star debuted his new look on social media on Sunday, and then shared another photo of himself wearing it the following day, prompting Stephanie Cohen, co-founder and legal and political organizer at the Halo Collective, a natural hair organization, to claim that he has “no right” to wear it. “When I see a white person in mainstream media with a black hairdo, it makes me upset,” Cohen said in an interview with The Guardian.
“You can’t just put on something that’s historically significant and neglect the difficulties that went into creating what the haircut represents.”
So what exactly is cultural appropriation?
As defined by the Oxford Dictionaries, which only included cultural appropriation in its official lexicon in 2017, cultural appropriation is defined as “the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption by members of another and typically more dominant people or society of the customs, practices, ideas, or other aspects of another people or society.” Simply expressed, it is when someone takes anything from a culture that is not their own – a haircut, a piece of clothing, a manner of speaking, or even a sort of exercise – that is not their own, it is called cultural appropriation (yoga, for example).
The Guardian reports that Justin Bieber, for example, was previously accused of cultural appropriation in 2016 when a photograph of him donning cornrows “provoked widespread indignation on social media.” However, claims theEverydayFeminismwebsite, that’s not the complete story.
It is believed that indigenous peoples of countries with colonial history, such as Canada, Australia, and the United States, were the first to use the term, which was taken from a sociologist’s work in the 1990s, according to The Tablet.
What’s wrong with it?
According to Quartzwriter Jenni Avins, adopting features of another culture is generally acceptable, whether it’s donning espadrilles or brewing coffee with an Italian espresso machine. She describes getting up in the morning as a “daily act of cultural appropriation,” for which she expresses “no remorse whatsoever.” Someone taking something from another less dominant culture and presenting it in a way that members of that culture find objectionable or insulting is seen to be an issue. While the more marginalized group is denied a voice, its legacy is used by someone in a position of greater privilege – sometimes for amusement or fashion, and out of ignorance rather than understanding of that culture – with little or no input from them.
In the words of Dr Adrienne Keene of Native Appropriations to EverydayFeminism, “You’re preying on prejudices by claiming to be a race that you’re not, and you’re doing it using stereotypes.”
Can it work the other way around?
Yes, it can and does happen — but in a somewhat different manner. Often, a culture that is more marginalized would absorb features of a stronger culture in order to blend in rather than stick out. For example, black women commonly say that they are unwilling to leave their hair in its natural form due to social pressure. The BBC cites examples of women who have been told by their employers that their appearance is “unprofessional.” According to HuffPost, some people believe they must invest time and money to make their hair seem more like “white hair.” In the end, it all boils down to a power differential.
All of this boils down to cultural power, both historical and contemporary.
What Is Cultural Appropriation?
Image courtesy of GoodLifeStudio–iStock/Getty Images It makes headlines on Twitter, appears in news headlines, and is discussed over Thanksgiving dinner. But, first and foremost, what is cultural appropriation? It is not an idea that is intended to deceive you. The phrase “cultural appropriation” initially appeared in academic circles in the 1980s, when it was used to analyze themes such as colonialism and the interactions between majority and minority groups in societies. Cultural appropriation, like many other concepts of this nature, finally made its way out of the academic and into popular culture.
- It can take place in any setting.
- Historically, determining what culture one belongs to has not been a simple task.
- Tylor emphasizes that culture is not something that can be passed down genetically.
- Taking Tylor’s description at face value, it may not be immediately apparent why incorporating features of another culture might be detrimental.
Let’s take a look at a few various ways that cultural appropriation can be maintained, all of which are drawn from a predominantly American context: Cultural appropriation occurs when a member of a majority group makes a financial or social profit from the culture of a minority group, which is illegal.
- Despite the fact that Madonna employed drag performers in the video, allegedly to pay homage to the dance’s origins, she was the one who reaped the rewards when “Vogue” reached double platinum in the United Kingdom.
- Cultural appropriation occurs when a member of a majority group oversimplifies the culture of a minority group, or when the culture of a minority group is treated as if it were a joke.
- They are considered cultural appropriation because they make use of racial caricatures and promote erroneous perceptions of Native Americans.
- The advent of music festivals such as Coachella in the 2010s generated a slew of new trends in festival fashion, including the wearing of Native American warbonnets as headdresses.
- Within Plains Indian villages, warbonnets are reserved for community leaders on important occasions; in other communities, warbonnets are an earned honor, similar to that of a military decoration.
- Cultural appropriation is defined as a member of a majority group adopting an aspect of a minority culture without penalty while members of the minority group experience negative repercussions for adopting the same cultural element.
The history of Black individuals sporting historically Black hairstyles, such as locs, is rife with discrimination: Black people with locs have been prevented from walking at high-school graduations, denied employment opportunities, falsely connected with drug usage, and generally discriminated against.
It is considered cultural appropriation when non-Black individuals wear their hair in dreadlocks.
As these cases demonstrate, the ramifications of cultural appropriation may be quite wide-ranging. However, they are all ultimately the outcome of a more powerful person’s failure to connect with others in a thoughtful and courteous manner—a dynamic that is destructive whether it is intended or not.
What is cultural appropriation, and how does it differ from cultural appreciation?
Traditional Indigenous attire is becoming increasingly popular, and fashion businesses are being called out for selling pricey replicas of it. Gucci’s kaftans retailed for US$3,500, which is far more than the $10 that Indians spend for a traditional kurta that looks quite similar to the Gucci design. This year’s $700 Louis Vuitton scarves were inspired by the keiffyeh, which is seen as a symbol of Palestinian identity and is widely available in most of the Arab world for a far lower price. Both fashion names came under fire, but not simply for their high costs, which appeared to be the case.
It is also an accusation that has been hurled against a number of well-known people.
These are just a few examples of a growing worldwide problem in which individuals, institutions, and enterprises are being held accountable for stealing cultures that are not their own.
Students frequently ask me how they can distinguish between race and ethnic relations in the United States since I am conducting academic study on the subject.
What is cultural appropriation?
After the release of Edward Said’s seminal book “Orientalism,” a debate about cultural appropriation erupted in the corridors of academia during the late 1970s. Throughout this study, Said explored how Western cultural ideas of the “orient” constantly assisted and encouraged the material and cultural pillage of Asia, particularly in the twentieth century. As research into the history of Western cultural exploitation of Indigenous peoples grew in popularity, the work and research of American historian and cultural theorist George Lipsitzcame to be regarded as laying the groundwork for today’s debates about what constitutes and does not constitute cultural appropriation.
Theoretically, however, the academic community has long recognized that the distinction between cultural appreciation and appropriation can be difficult to distinguish in real time, particularly given the current social media-driven zeitgeist.
The release of Edward Said’s famous book “Orientalism” in the late 1970s prompted a debate about cultural appropriation in the corridors of academia. Throughout this study, Said explored how Western cultural concepts of the “orient” constantly assisted and encouraged the material and cultural pillage of Asia, particularly in the nineteenth century. In recent years, as research into the history of Western cultural exploitation of Indigenous peoples has exploded, the work and research of American historian and cultural theorist George Lipsitz has come to be seen as laying the groundwork for today’s discussions about what constitutes cultural appropriation and what does not.
As a result of this, scholarly agreement on cultural appropriation has long recognized that the limits between cultural appreciation and appropriation may be difficult to distinguish in real time, particularly in the context of today’s social media-driven zeitgeist.
Cultures are complex
The reality is that distinguishing between cultural appreciation and appropriation is seldom straightforward, and this is due to the fact that cultures are large, complicated, historically driven, and always changing. With regard to Kardashian and Jordan, I believe that if either of them had attempted to build genuine cultural awareness for the cultures from which they were taking inspiration, the allegations and improper usage of cultural symbols might have been avoided. This may have been accomplished by extensive immersion and in-depth understanding of the cultures’ histories and contemporary expressions over a lengthy period of time and over many years.
Sharing in each other’s cultures is not only beneficial; when done properly, it is also crucial and contributes to the development of a sense of community.
And when it comes to cultural appreciation, it is better when it is not fleeting or influenced by fads.
How to Recognize Cultural Appropriation — Plus, What to Do
The concept of cultural appropriation might be difficult to grasp at first. While most people are acquainted with the phrase and understand that it is something to avoid, there may still be some questions about where the line between appropriation and appreciation is drawn in their minds. For example, you may be aware that cultural Halloween costumes and blackface are racist and should never be tolerated, but what about the effect of fashion trends? What about cuisine and art from other cultures?
Inquire of several folks, and you’ll most likely receive a variety of responses.
Are you looking for help on how to tell when admiration for another culture crosses the line?
The traditions, habits, beliefs, and practices of any specific ethnic, racial, or religious group are referred to as the culture of that group.
- Language, art, music, and literature
- Social norms, conventions, and values
- History and governance
- Religion and festivals
- And many other subjects are covered.
In its most fundamental definition, to appropriate implies to steal something without permission. Therefore, cultural appropriation occurs when another culture “borrows” any of these cultural characteristics without first obtaining permission from or acknowledging the original culture. Appropriation is also associated with certain misappropriation of cultural components. Instead, those who appropriate tend to cherry-pick only the aspects that appeal to them while ignoring the remainder of the piece as well as any significant cultural context that may have been present when those pieces were chosen.
- It was initially intended to keep the hands and feet cool in hot areas, and it continues to be used for this purpose today.
- In Hindu, Sikh, and Muslim wedding rituals, traditional designs are used to signify wealth, love, and health, among other things.
- However, when you use henna for atypical purposes and fail to recognize its true significance and significance, you are appropriating rather than appreciating the art form.
- If you do utilize any components from that culture, you must obtain permission from the author or source and provide appropriate acknowledgment.
- In the case of white people, this entails undertaking certain potentially unpleasant tasks.
- There are subtleties and nuances in every culture that contribute to, yet go well beyond, its art and jewelry.
- You can’t completely enjoy anything unless you have a greater understanding of it.
- Here’s an excellent rule of thumb to keep in mind: The act of participating in a culture and using or sharing select components with permission does not constitute cultural appropriation.
- These people will urge you to dress in traditional Japanese summer clothes (yukata), and they will assist you in putting it on properly.
- Then there’s the option of wearing the yukata about your house at home and claiming that “Japanese folks dress like this every day.” Because this is a misrepresentation of Japanese culture, it would be considered appropriation.
- Appropriation is typically associated with the exploitation of other cultures and the reinforcement of stereotypes.
A few examples are included in the chart below to assist show the distinction. The presence of cultural appropriation in popular culture and on social media may be discovered with little effort. Consider the following examples:
The movie ‘La La Land’
Sebastian, the white male main character in the film “La La Land,” is presented as a jazz specialist by the director, Damien Chazelle. He even goes so far as to explain jazz, a music form originated by Black musicians, to a Black character, and to play the part of “white savior” in his attempts to keep jazz alive in the United States of America. Yes, white individuals may enjoy, adore, and even produce jazz music, despite their race. However, they should take the time to recognize the cultural roots of the movement.
J.K. Rowling’s stereotyping, appropriation, and erasure of Native American beliefs
There has been a lot of criticism directed towards Rowling’s “History of Magic in North America” stories because of the way they portray Native American culture. Native American beliefs and rituals from multiple distinct Indigenous tribes are lumped together in her depiction, reducing these cultural traditions to caricatures and fantasy rather than recognising them as true cultural practices that are still part of Native American society today. She also employs the problematic cliché of the white savior.
In order to create the school, she is assisted by other white characters (not Native American figures).
Kendall Jenner’s tequila brand
A number of individuals have expressed their displeasure with 818, a new tequila brand founded by Kendall Jenner. Specifically, her lack of awareness and respect for Mexican culture, the people who really create the tequila but do not receive much of the benefit, and agave shortages in Mexico are the focus of most of this criticism. As well as the typographical issue on the bottle (which says “blanco tequila” when it should properly read “tequila blanco”), social media users have pointed out the grammatical fault on the label.
Nonetheless, investing a little more time to research and better understand a culture and its language, as well as communicating with individuals from that society, might easily assist avoid such errors.
Adele’s Bantu knots
Bantu knots are an African hairstyle that has been around for a long time. Adele used this haircut, as well as a bikini decorated with the Jamaican flag, to commemorate the cancellation of the 2020 Notting Hill Carnival, an annual event that was initially designed to showcase Caribbean culture and encourage multiculturalism in the United Kingdom. Not everyone was critical of this appearance. Some individuals pointed out that, because she grew up in the area, her hair and dress were merely a sign of respect for the community.
- Adele may wear her hair in a variety of styles since she is a white lady and will not be judged or criticised for doing so.
- Bantu knots were only worn as part of a costume, not as a regular fashion statement.
- They not only aid in the protection of natural hair, but they also serve as symbols of identity and culture.
- Natural hairstyles are even prohibited or restricted in certain schools and workplaces.
Chet Hanks’ answer was also a source of contention. He expressed his appreciation for the photograph and requested that Adele contact him — all while speaking in Jamaican Patois.
The Renegade dance
Have you ever heard of the Renegade? It first gained popularity on the video-sharing app TikTok in 2020, but that wasn’t where it all began. This dance was invented by Jalaiah Harmon, a teen who initially posted it on Instagram as a video. Influencers on TikTok later began to post videos of themselves executing the dance without mentioning Harmon or giving him credit. When the Renegade video went viral, Harmon was not given any credit.
Food blog Half Baked Harvest’s recipe for ‘easy weeknight’ pho
Many readers of Half Baked Harvest, a well-known culinary blog, expressed dissatisfaction with a recent dish posted on the blog. “Weeknight Ginger Chicken Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Soup)” was the recipe’s initial title, and it offered a “fusion” version of pho that failed to recognise essential components of the meal, such as crucial ingredients, the labor and time necessary to prepare it, or even its traditional presentation. In summary, true pho is not a “quick” dish that can be prepared in under an hour and served immediately.
- Many of the most popular food bloggers are of white ethnicity.
- There is absolutely nothing wrong with wishing to create or eat cuisine from a different cultural tradition.
- Obtaining a cookbook or recipe from a member of that culture, or, at the absolute least, a recipe from someone who has learnt to prepare it authentically, may be necessary to achieve this goal.
- The problem is that white food bloggers continue to rename and “blend” foods from different cultures, which is a concern for the industry.
- These individuals subsequently receive credit, acclaim, and financial compensation for their recipes, whilst people of color continue to fight for the same level of recognition and success.
- Exploitation of individuals from different cultures will continue indefinitely.
- By contributing to the spread of false and harmful preconceptions, it hinders the development of genuine understanding and cultural exchange possibilities.
It’s also very uncommon for them to neglect to give credit when credit is due.
As a result, white people continue to reap the benefits and retain positions of authority.
As a result, if someone who has been called out for appropriation responds by claiming that people of color who dress in Western apparel and haircuts, speak English, or consume fast food are also “appropriating,” be aware that these claims are both highly disrespectful and entirely false.
Failure to adapt can have severe ramifications, including lower job chances and professional progression opportunities, as well as racial violence or threats against oneself or others.
Many individuals have unwittingly participated in cultural appropriation without realizing they were doing so.
It’s quite OK to make errors, but it’s also critical to educate oneself in order to avoid such appropriation in the future.
Accept the following as your first clue: When someone of color accuses you of cultural appropriation, take their words at their value. It can also assist to keep your acts within the domain of gratitude if you ask yourself some questions like the ones below:
- Numerous readers of the popular culinary blog Half Baked Harvest expressed their dissatisfaction with a recent dish on the blog. “Weeknight Ginger Chicken Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Soup)” was the recipe’s original title, and it presented a “fusion” version of pho that failed to acknowledge actual elements of the dish, such as key ingredients, the effort and time required to prepare it, or even how the dish is traditionally presented in Vietnam. Pho is not a “easy” dish that can be prepared in under an hour and served immediately. Many blog readers believe that renaming the meal does not provide an acceptable reaction, even though it has been changed since the original title. Many of the most successful food bloggers are of European descent. There are sometimes “lighter” or “easier,” versions of traditional foods from various cultures to be found among the recipes on their website. If you wish to cook or consume cuisine from a different culture, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. When done properly, this is a fantastic way to learn about and respect that culture. Obtaining a cookbook or recipe from a member of that culture, or, at the absolute least, a recipe from someone who has learnt to prepare it authentically, may be necessary to accomplish this goal. If you have a basic grasp of the cultural context of the food, you may make necessary alterations to the recipe, while still paying respect to the culture in question. Because white food bloggers continue to rename and “blend” foods from different cultures, the problem is that they are contributing to the issue. These modifications do not take into account the original cultures and render “genuine” cuisine unrecognizable. These individuals subsequently receive credit, acclaim, and financial reward for their recipes, whilst people of color continue to fight for the same level of recognition and success. Ultimately, what happened was People from diverse cultures are still being exploited today. Because it leads to the continued oppression and exploitation of other cultures, cultural appropriation is harmful. Through its involvement in the propagation of false and harmful preconceptions, it undermines prospects for genuine understanding and cross-cultural contact. These individuals do not realize or acknowledge the genuine significance or intent of the cultural aspects they take from another culture. Aside from that, they neglect to acknowledge debts when they are owed. People of color are marginalized as a result of this misrepresentation, as they do not have the same prospects for recognition, success, and profit as white people. So white people continue to gain from and maintain positions of power as a result. It is only “white folks” that are excluded from this statement. It has an impact on persons who come from exploited or underprivileged societies. When someone who has been called out for appropriation responds by asserting that people of color who wear Western attire and haircuts, who speak English, or who consume fast food are likewise “appropriating,” be aware that these assertions are both disrespectful and entirely incorrect. Those from different cultures are frequently compelled to integrate or adopt features of the dominant culture in order to prosper, if not to survive, according to this view, which is incorrect. Refusal to adapt can result in severe consequences, such as reduced employment or promotion chances, racial violence or threats, and other negative outcomes. In a nutshell, “white culture” cannot be taken over. Why? Because white people have long been the oppressors, denying other ethnic groups their language and customs while pressuring them to integrate and conform to the dominant culture, Without even recognizing it, a large number of people have engaged in cultural appropriation. You might not recognize that your activities have gone beyond the point of appreciation because many trends are derived from elements copied from other civilizations. Even if it’s perfectly OK to make errors, it’s equally critical to educate oneself in order to avoid future appropriation. Accept the following as your first clue: When someone of color accuses you of cultural appropriation, take their words at their value. It can also assist to keep your activities within the domain of appreciation if you ask yourself these questions before you do anything:
Please keep in mind that some individuals are divided on whether some practices are culturally appropriative or merely inappropriate. It’s important to remember that you may easily say or do insensitive and racist things without necessarily appropriating anything from a culture or taking anything away from it. Investing the necessary time to learn more about various cultures while keeping the questions listed above in mind will assist you in your efforts to promote anti-racism and greater sensitivity throughout society.
First and foremost, please accept my apologies.
Put on a different outfit, take off the item, and eliminate the term from your lexicon.
Don’t do the following:
- Declare that everything is good since you have a friend who is from that culture
- “They can’t speak for every member of their culture,” says the author, so confront them. Inform them that you had no intention of causing them any damage, or tell them that they are being overly sensitive
When someone from a certain culture explains to you that your acts are bad, you should take note that they are detrimental. There is no more to say. The only sensible course of action is to pay attention, learn, and alter your conduct. Prepare yourself to do your own study. Someone who has offended you may provide an explanation, but you should not expect them to thoroughly educate you on what constitutes appropriation and why it is prohibited. If anybody else was witness to the appropriation — whether they spotted your attire or saw your social media post — you might want to reach out to them to share your findings and lessons learned.
- Currently, there is a great deal of intense debate over cultural appropriation and what activities fall under this classification.
- Is it really your place to say anything if it isn’t your culture that is being hijacked in the first place?
- A microaggression against people of color, appropriation, is already in place.
- While publicly condemning or criticizing someone seldom has the desired effect, calling someone out instead of naming them may be a better option in this situation.
- As an illustration:
- You can be sure that your actions are harmful when someone from another culture explains why they are harmful. There is no more to say about this. To be effective, you must first listen to what is being said, then learn from it and modify your conduct. Take the initiative and do your own investigation. Someone who has offended you may offer an explanation, but you should not expect them to fully educate you on what constitutes appropriation and why it is wrong. If anybody else was witness to the appropriation — perhaps they noticed your attire or saw your social media post — you might want to reach out to them to share your findings and educate them. These actions may be uncomfortable, but they are necessary in order to prevent appropriation of their ideas and materials from others. There is a great deal of heated debate about cultural appropriation and what actions fall into this category of behavior. In the event that you witness a friend or loved one appropriating someone else’s culture, you may wonder whether it is best to remain silent about it. Are you really in a position to say anything if your culture is not being appropriated? Definitely bring it up, as it is something that should be discussed. A microaggression against people of color, appropriation, already exists. Only makes matters worse when we add to the burden by relying on members of that culture to call out the appropriation and explain why it is wrong. While publicly shaming or criticizing someone rarely has the desired effect, calling someone out instead of naming them may be more effective. Remove yourself from the situation, or send them a quick text or DM explaining what you observed and why it may be harmful. As an illustration, consider:
It is possible that your desire to participate in caring and polite dialogue with others will inspire them to seek out further information on their own.
Cultural Appreciation vs. Cultural Appropriation: Why it Matters
Kelsey Holmes, Greenheart Club Program Assistant, contributed to this article. Greenheart Club’s primary ideals include cultural interchange and appreciation, which are reflected in its name. Learning to comprehend a culture that is different from your own is extremely crucial in order to become a global citizen and leader in today’s world. We’ve heard so many beautiful tales of individuals from all walks of life getting together to exchange ideas via service, thanks to our participation. It is critical to recognize, however, that there is a distinction between admiration and appropriation of anything.
A more straightforward definition of appropriation is the simple act of stealing one part of a culture that is not your own and exploiting it for your own personal gain.
It may be as simple as snapping a snapshot of a traditional rite for the sole purpose of garnering as many likes as possible on Facebook.
So, how can you learn about and participate in a culture without taking advantage of it for your personal gain? Here are a few fantastic ideas!
- Take a look at your own cultural background. Your ability to perceive distinctions and discern what is significant in cultures throughout the world will improve as a result of your self-reflective efforts. It’s important to remember that while you may be aware that a specific aspect of your own cultural background is important to your identity and that you would be offended if someone used it without fully understanding what it means, people all over the world and in cultures other than your own may feel exactly the same way
- For example, consider the following: Would I be outraged if someone donned an important religious symbol from my culture without understanding what it genuinely signified?
- First and foremost, pay attention. Listening to individuals who are a part of the fabric of a society is one of the most effective methods to learn and appreciate another culture. To learn more about their cultures, listen to their experiences, comprehend the consequences of the components of their culture that interest you, and apply that knowledge to widen your viewpoint
- Consider the following scenario: I recently acquired a stunning piece of handcrafted jewelry. Has the artist who produced the item been interviewed to discover more about his or her history, what their work means to them, and how it fits into the culture of the location where it was made? I might be appropriating instead of appreciating if this is the case.
- Take into consideration the surrounding circumstances. When it comes to a certain culture, what does a given sign represent? When and when is it suitable to make use of this technique? Understanding the numerous characteristics of a culture, as well as what they represent, is extremely vital to success. As long as you show genuine interest in someone’s life, they are more than likely to share with you their thoughts and feelings about the things that are important to them.
- Consider this: Did I just grab a bit of someone’s culture and utilize it for my personal gain without understanding the significance of what I was taking? Is it possible that I forgot to inquire about the origins of the custom, item, or symbol? This is extremely significant in terms of comprehending and enjoying a culture
- Share a little bit about your own culture. One of the most fundamental aspects of cultural exchange – and what most separates it from appropriation – is that it is a mutually beneficial trade. When you express gratitude and interact with others, you have the opportunity to share something about yourself, learn something about someone else, and participate in a mutual knowledge of one another’s background and culture, among other things.
- Consider this: Would I be equally interested in sharing a bit of my own language, food, customs, and traditions with someone from another country? It’s likely that this individual is just as enthusiastic in learning about my culture as I am about theirs. It’s astonishing how important this is to the sharing and appreciation of cultures.
Are you still unsure? Make use of the infographic below to examine your own behavior and ensure that you are showing adequate respect and appreciation for various cultures! Our participants at Greenheart Club are actively involved in intercultural interaction and cultural appreciation, and we encourage them to do so as well. What are some of the ways in which you express your admiration for different cultures?
What is Cultural Appropriation? – NCCJ
On the subject of Cultural Appropriation, we will be talking about it in this broadcast. This bulletin contains definitions, basic information, history, articles/handouts, videos, and resources for teaching about this problem. It also has materials for teaching about other issues. This bulletin may be utilized in organizations, courses, and businesses, or it can be distributed to friends and family members. DEFINITIONS The term “cultural appropriation” refers to the act of appropriating intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artifacts from another culture without their consent.
- Most often, it is damaging when the originating community is a minority group that has been oppressed or exploited in other ways, or when the item of appropriation is particularly sensitive, as in the case of religious objects.” (Who Is the Owner of Culture?
- Appropriation is defined as the act of stealing something for one’s own use without the permission of the original owner.
- It is known as Internalized Dominance when the members of the agent group embrace their group’s socially superior status as normal and deserving of it.
- It is the process of a person or group’s culture, language, and/or customs becoming more similar to those of another person or group after being exposed to them.
- Despite the fact that certain schools and institutions are taking a proactive approach to Halloween costumes this year, not everyone appreciates the necessity of avoiding culturally inappropriate attire.
- This commercial emphasizes the need of recognizing how even one night of dressing up in a “costume” may have a harmful influence on one’s health.
- “I will be stigmatized for the rest of my life.” The second stage is to not be afraid of the difficult talks that may arise as a result of the often politically heated attitudes that are frequently encountered within these dialogues, as well as the nature of the topic.
You may use some of the following questions and discussion starters to get get the topic going in the classroom: What methods do you use to appreciate a culture that you are not a part of?
Sincere comprehension leads to appreciation, and understanding requires stepping beyond the pages of a book.
After that, ask students to relate their own personal experiences to the concept of cultural appropriation, and then seek for instances from their own lives or media sources to support their claims.
Is it possible that the culture is urging you to celebrate it?
We, as Americans, have a sense of entitlement when it comes to the notion of “the melting pot,” which frequently brings with it the presumption that, since we have such a varied range of cultural traditions in our nation, they all belong to all of us.
Instruct them to speak solely about their own personal experiences and cultural identities, and not about anybody else’s.
Inappropriation occurs when you alter a component of your own identity in order to more closely “fit” or “claim” a certain culture.
Finally, consider how some people may express or have a preference for one or a few cultures within their interests, and that being fascinated by anything does not qualify as having an ideological or personal viewpoint.
Allow persons who are members of a target group that has been appropriated (e.g., students of color, religious minorities) to speak about their experiences if they feel safe doing so.
Make careful to maintain a sense of balance among the students in your classroom.
In addition to eerie enjoyment and excitement, Halloween is also a time for horrible instances of cultural appropriation.
The debate over Halloween costumes and cultural appropriation has been raging for at least the last decade, according to some estimates.
Because of negative news in the past, several schools and universities are taking a more proactive approach to combating culturally appropriated costumes. For example:
- University of Massachusetts, Amherst
- Eastern Michigan University
- Oregon State University and the University of Oregon
- Northwestern University
Putting Misconceptions to Rest Is your outfit obscene in any way? Consider thinking outside of the box:
- Whether students are conscious of it or not, they have all been placed by society at some time into a box of preconceived assumptions based on their cultural identity, which is often viewed based on their external appearance. Organize groups of students to tackle this issue on a variety of degrees of severity, whether it is dealing with discrimination or basic misunderstandings about the subject. Solicit their thorough sketch of what a strategy that integrates a textual and visual aspect of their choosing might look like.
The celebration of other cultures while maintaining a respect for their linguistic uniqueness and traditional practices:
- Examine how language and inflection can be used to bridge the gap between races and socioeconomic classes, as well as how the intentions behind certain words, phrases, vocal patterns, and false accents can transform seemingly innocent conversations into environments conducive to dangerous environments. By having students share their personal and vicarious experiences of this behavior with the class, you may help them understand it better.
Examine how language and inflection can be used to bridge the gap between races and socioeconomic classes, as well as how the intentions behind certain words, phrases, vocal patterns, and false accents can transform seemingly innocent conversations into environments conducive to dangerous situations. Students should be encouraged to share their own and vicarious experiences of this conduct with the class.
- A great focus on language should be placed on the examination of films and other visual arts by students, as should the ways in which popular fashion has influenced their view of cultural appropriation and appropriation of others’ ideas. To pique curiosity, engage in a debate about how other cultures are depicted in all types of media, followed by an analysis that incorporates historical context and personal reflection. Discuss the role of media and pop culture as an influence on and perpetuator of the misunderstandings many people have about cultural identity, as well as the ways in which cultural appropriation is modeled and taught to the general public. Then, after demonstrating some direct examples of cultural appropriation to students, have them create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the stereotypes and cultural theft perpetuated by society with the reality of societal and personal experiences that are centered around cultural appropriation.
VIDEO Why Your Pocahontas Costume Isn’t OK: Cultural Appropriation Aaliyah Jihad is a Muslim woman who lives in the United States. Twerking Has a Long and Interesting History (Slam Poetry) Appropriation of Cultural Symbols in Music Videos CostumeFails Catching Racism with the Name of the Redskins This Is Something to ConsiderEvaluation within a group discussion can frequently be based on participation points and other areas of involvement. In order to foster a higher degree of thought on these concerns, the following discussion questions should be used.
- When it comes to the media (television, publications, music, etc.), what instances of cultural appropriation have you witnessed? So, if you were in the situation of witnessing someone wearing or doing anything that was considered culturally insensitive, what would you do? Is what I’m doing or what I’m wearing contributing to the perpetuation of any racial or religious stereotype? Is it fair to say that I am reducing anyone or any culture to a caricature? When you’re out shopping, consider whether or not the item you wish to buy is associated with a certain culture. Is it correctly portraying that culture or is it stereotyping it? Consider your favorite artist and whether or not you have ever witnessed them wearing or doing something that was considered cultural appropriation on the part of the artist. Consider the celebrity status of this individual and the influence they have on their followers. Many people believe that if they do something, it is acceptable. This is something to think about. (WOULD YOU LIKE TO GIVE AN EXAMPLE HERE?)
Is it possible that you have worn something just because you wanted to make a “fashion statement” without recognizing that it is from another culture and so constitutes cultural appropriation? Are you truly enjoying a culture when it is represented by anything you purchase from a commercialized chain shop such as Target, Wal-Mart, or another commercialized chain store such as Walmart? Students should ask themselves the following questions to determine whether or not what they are doing or wearing is appropriate:
- Do you think it’s offensive to any particular race, religion, culture, creed, or group of people, for example? Is it intended to criticize, make fun of, or represent a certain group of people, culture, belief, or other such thing in any way? If so, does it encourage stereotypical thinking? Is it possible that people from the other culture have had terrible experiences that individuals from your culture have not had? Are you wearing it just for the reason that it “looks cute?” What makes you believe it’s appropriate to wear something just because your favorite celebrity/icon/whoever is wearing it
- Do you remember your buddy, who is a member of the culture from which it came, telling you that they don’t care if you wear anything since it won’t upset them? Is this to imply that it doesn’t matter?
If a student replies “yes” to any of these questions, then they should not proceed with the activity. Even if one person isn’t offended, it doesn’t rule out the possibility that others will be. Students should be gently reminded to use caution and consideration. A CONCLUSION IS REQUIRED: We could go through why it is vital to address this issue in the classroom once more. Articles and handouts to be distributed following the discussion: A Guide on Cultural Appropriation, Featuring Geisha. Kim Kardashian and the Great Wave of Asian Influence We’re a group of people with a shared culture.
A Brief Overview of Celebrity Cultural Appropriation in the Recent Past The distinction between cultural exchange and cultural appropriation is important to understand.
Resources in addition to the ones listed above: Halloween costumes that are culturally appropriate are offensive to the groups that they depictIt is past time to have a serious discussion about culturally appropriate Halloween costumes.
Parts of the work were adapted from the ” Cultural Appropriation ” resource from the NCCJ Monthly Bulletin Series, which was used with full permission. This material is also available as a weblog on the Global Learning blog of EdWeek.