tbqh tumblr confuses me with its ideas of ‘cultural appropriation’
because there’s a huge difference between trying to respectfully engage in another culture and learn more about their celebrations and customs, which i’m sure a fair number of people do by interacting with local people of that culture (or at least i do. i mean i love local cultural festivals)
commodifying or belittling another culture by not taking the time to learn and appreciate cultural backdrops and customs which is immediately obvious when you don’t recognize a serious breach of propriety (ex. wearing a war bonnet)
the attempts to avoid ‘cultural appropriation’ just end up sounding really segregationist along the lines of ‘don’t EVER try to engage in a culture you aren’t a part of you just won’t GET IT’ which just sounds really unhealthy and not beneficial towards intercultural understanding
but what do i know
Same here. This term doesn’t exist in my language and I really want to understand it, but there are so many conficting sources…
oh man i’m sure it’s definitely made worse by the fact that tumblr loves to argue about what is appropriative
i’ve spent a lot of time working with people from a variety of cultures through intercultural activities, have done a small bit of traveling, live between two cultures, etc. so i’ve developed my own personal understanding of cultural appropriation.
it’s pretty simple: cultural appropriation is adopting elements disrespectfully from and without the understanding of another culture. it requires a level of critical thinking so you can ask yourself “would a reasonable person believe that what I am doing/wearing/etc. is disrespectful to a person of X culture?”
a great way to find out, obviously, is ask people you know from said culture. if they give you a weird look and seem hesitant on the ok, you should probably reconsider.
there are also things that should be unquestionably inappropriate by now (ex. blackface, yellowface, etc.) and things that should be pretty apparently inappropriate if you aren’t part of the culture because it can be reasonably seen as disrespectful (ex. using AAVE, wearing a war bonnet, etc.). some issues like henna tattoos (several cultures) and the mexican day of the dead are pretty contentious here - i’ve attended local festivals held by people of the respective cultures (indian and mexican in this case) and these are things they chose to share with me and let me participate in and learn more about and this is what allows me to draw the conclusion that there is not a majority opinion that finds participation disrespectful.
there’s obviously a double-sided issue where no one person obviously can speak for their entire culture. where one person might think it’s okay, there will be another person that gets very upset and finds it disrespectful - again, it’s really good to discuss and understand the feelings behind their answers.
but being overly-cautious on the other hand leads to cordoning off cultures that any individual doesn’t belong to as ‘off-limits’ and ‘taboo’ - in a sense, i feel like this exoticizes and makes the problem worse because then no one actually gets to learn anything. obviously some cultures may be more secretive of certain aspects of their culture (additionally, things like religious/ritual icons [this ties into culture somewhat] can be very important/sacred and thus should not be used by non-members) and their wishes should be respected. but in a global world, i personally believe that mutual understanding is what brings people together and makes the world a better place, so it’s fantastic when people from different cultures ARE willing to share what’s important and special about them.
i hope this helps somewhat! c’: