What is Cultural Appropriation?

What is Cultural Appropriation?

The winner is…. Marlon Brando in The Godfather. On March 27th 1973 Apache and Yaqui actress
and activist Sacheen Littlefeather ascended the stage at the Academy Awards. Amidst a mixture of cheers and boos from the
evening’s attendees, Littlefeather read a portion of a prepared statement on behalf
of that year’s best actor winner, Marlon Brando. She declined the award on Brando’s behalf,
stating his reason for turning his back on Hollywood’s highest honor: the movie industry’s
continued misrepresentation of Native American people in film. Littlefeather was there in his stead to draw
attention to the American Indian Movement and to shine light on the issue of cultural
appropriation in film. Cultural appropriation. Although the phrase and the practices it describes
are familiar to most of us, it can feel ambiguous. And that’s primarily because while inappropriate
or offensive uses of other cultures are often quite obvious, the subtleties of the conversation
are usually drowned out by protests that appreciation cannot be appropriation. The actual phrase “cultural appropriation”
first appeared in print in 1945 attributed to the late professor Arthur E Christy, and
it’s been a topic of very heated debate ever since. As a term, cultural appropriation has its
roots in the latter half of the 20th century with its highest usage coming after 1980. Although the concept of stealing or misusing
a culture was on our collective radar form the 19th century onwards. And marginalized groups have been speaking
up against cultural appropriation that either diminishes or sidelines the contributions
of the people who created certain practices. But at the heart of these conversations are
three daunting and often amorphous concepts: First, what even is culture? How does power operate in relationship to
culture? And what are the boundaries between participating
versus appropriating another culture? So before we get into the debate of whether
or not culture can be appropriated and misused, we should start with the basics, namely: what
is culture? Well as a cultural historian myself, I’m
going to tip my hat to 20th century theorist Raymond Williams’ 1976 definition of culture. According to Williams, our modern use of
culture exists largely under three main umbrellas: First there are the “intellectual and spiritual
and aesthetic development” realms of culture that encompass shared ideologies and beliefs. This is probably the least tangible portion
of culture. Two good examples are the concepts of a shared
faith or patriotism. Both have a fixed set of values and ideas
attached to them, and can inspire cultural production. But they are also ideologies that exist even
if they aren’t being actively enacted. So you can feel patriotism, even when you’re
not actively performing a ritual that displays it. Just like you can experience shared faith,
even when you are not engaging in religious ceremonies. Then there’s the portion of culture that
covers the shared way of life of a defined group of people (meaning the way that a fixed
group interacts and lives in accordance with their common ideologies). This can be very specific, like the shared
lifestyle of one finite group of people, or extremely expansive, like a shared reality
that extends between all of humanity. So (as far as we know) all humans share the
earth. All humans, in order to survive, must eat. But the way we live on earth, whether in a
large city or in a rural community, is defined by the people were are directly engaging with
on a daily basis. And the third and final category of culture
that Williams describes (and the one we’ll talk about the most today) is related to shared
creative and artistic productivity. This includes the art, literature, music,
films, songs, and general representation of a given culture or group of people. Cultural production is the most concrete portion
of culture because it gives us objects and often physical items to look at and engage
with. So although this all may seem a bit dense,
it’s helpful to think about culture like a series of concentric circles radiating
outward. from the center. And you’re the center. In the first circle are the things closest
to us, like ideologies, because they exist largely in our minds. Then we have shared ways of life or things
that we engage in with the people directly around us. And in the farthest circle is cultural production,
or the objects, artworks, and creations that express our culture and that we shuttle out
in to the world. And being farthest away from the center, that’s
also the sphere most prone to traveling far away from its original context and therefore
being taken up elsewhere. And now that we’ve briefly waded through
the waters of what exactly culture is, you’ve probably found the underlying connective tissue
of these three spheres. Namely that culture is shared…and big and
constantly occurring. Plus it’s a bit like language because it
needs a collective of people to make a shared meaning. So often when people argue against the existence
of cultural appropriation, the basis of the argument is centered on culture’s shared
nature, since something that is shared isn’t owned by one particular person. But there’s a weakness in this argument
of ownership that stems from the way we think about possession. Some forms of ownership are rather straightforward
and therefore easier to understand. If you go out and purchase a car, you have
sole ownership of the car and are entitled to all of its benefits (like faster and more
convenient transportation) in addition to all of its drawbacks (like pesky car repairs). But ownership of culture doesn’t operate
that way because it belongs to the group that the culture stems from, and not one discrete
person or persons. And as professor Susan Scafidi notes in her
book “Who Owns Culture?” there are legal challenges when thinking of
discrete ownership in relationship to cultural products. Legal protections like copyright or trademarking
rely on a stable cultural product with a set number of creators. Like a song with a fixed list of songwriters. But culture is constantly evolving and changing. So Scafidi warns that patenting an idea that
is shared among a group “may provoke ossification of a culture and its artifacts.” But despite the difficulty of codifying cultural
ownership in legal terms, there are ways that culture can be appropriated or misused once
it’s divorced from its original context. People who are against believing that cultural
appropriation even exists often say that America is a “melting pot” of
various cultures, and therefore no one should be allowed to lay ownership to any particular
form of expression. As Scafidi also notes:
“Indeed, the tension-filled history of American immigration and even internal migration indicates
that the cultural products of others are often easier to accept and assimilate than the individuals
(or huddled masses) themselves.” And that’s because people’s admiration
for the cultural products they consume (like music, art, literature, and fashion) can exist
quite separately from the real world treatment of the people whose culture they’re appropriating
from. Because at the heart of cultural appropriation
isn’t just a cultural object, but power. Appropriation happens when you have a position
of power or are a member of a dominant culture who is able to take the parts of a marginalized
culture that you enjoy; divorce them from their original meaning; and use them for entertainment
value without considering their original context or having to deal with the negative ramifications
that someone from that culture would have to deal with as a result of that same action. So while it may seem benign to the person
who is extracting and enjoying the culture, the resulting damage can have real
world implications for the people whose culture has been misrepresented or misused. So let’s return to the 1973 Academy Awards. Although, in large part, Sacheen Littlefeather’s
disruption of the ceremony and Marlon Brando’s absence were meant to draw attention to the
specific issue of Native American representation in film, the longer statement that the actor
released after the broadcast pointed to larger cultural issues. Brando wrote in the full statement that was
published in newspapers after the ceremony that his decision wasn’t only about the
movies being made and the way that Native American cultures had been appropriated and
distorted, but also the real world issues that arose from this systematic mischaracterization. Of Littlefeather’s appearance at the award
show: “Perhaps at this moment you are saying to
yourself what the hell has all this got to do with the Academy Awards? Why is this woman standing up here, ruining
our evening, invading our lives with things that don’t concern us, and that we don’t care
about? ….. I think the answer to those unspoken
questions is that the motion picture community has been as responsible as any for degrading
the Indian and making a mockery of his character, describing him as savage, hostile and evil. It’s hard enough for children to grow up in
this world. When Indian children watch television, and
they watch films, and when they see their race depicted as they are in films, their
minds become injured in ways we can never know.” Brando also noted that at the time the 1973
Oscars were occurring, the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota had been occupied by American
Indian Movement members, who were met with military forces. The town also has historical significance because it’s
the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890, where an estimated 150-300 Lakota Sioux were
killed by US troops. So the decision to represent Native American
cultures in movies as inherently violent and untamable also served as a way of appropriating
culture and misaligning history. To Littlefeather and Brando’s point: the
pleasure American audiences got from watch old Westerns didn’t outweigh the damage
caused by cultural appropriation and misrepresentation. So what do you think? Have anything to add to this theoretical minefield? Any other details and stories to tack on to
this winding road? Drop those comments down below since I’ll
be following along and answering some of them. And this episode is evidence of that because i have to give a shout out and thank you to Rico
Fly on Youtube who asked after our episode on tattooing if I could cover the history
of cultural appropriation. I hope I answered some of your questions here
today and that you guys liked the video! And if you guys want to keep seeing more of
Origin then make sure you subscribe on Youtube and follow us on Facebook! That’s it for this week Originauts, and I’ll
see you here next time!

100 thoughts on “What is Cultural Appropriation?

  1. Hey people! Just touching base to say I'm following along with your comments and I'm pretty impressed (as always) with the thoughtful tone everyone on this channel takes when thinking about challenging topics. You've raised a lot of good points. Keeping in mind that the episodes are only around 10 minutes long, there's still so much more we can cover! Keep the comments coming and hats off to you wonderful nerds for your assistance in giving me ideas of what a second part of this episode might look like!


  2. As a non-US citizen, I'm still confused with this whole "cultural appropriation". Especially in the part that says, the 'appropriation' is done by the more powerful/dominant society toward the lesser ones.

    Let's try example outside US, like when Indonesia said that Malaysia steal their culture, does it mean that Indonesia claimed Malaysia doing cultural appropriation? Or what about Japan? As their Kimono is development of Han Chinese traditional clothing called Hanfu, is it safe to say that they appropriate Chinese culture? Eventhough 'the accusers' may claim the 'accused' do steal, but I think subjectively they won't say that the accused ones are more dominant than them. And Hanfu had been 'appropriated' even far before Japan colonized China, so Japan wasn't a dominant toward China when they 'appropriated' it. It's even reversed, the Japanese were like Chinese culture fans like how many countries nowadays are K-Pop fans and then emulate K-Pop fashions.

    But say, a Dutch buffet tradition called Rijsttafel is cultural appropriation toward Indonesian culture, isn't it? Because they were a colonizer (so basically dominant) at the time it was found.

  3. Thanks, Danielle. Your explanation helped me better understand what I see as one of the most complicated topics with respect to addressing racism and white supremacy. Maybe for an addendum to this video, you could take apart a few specific examples and talk about appropriation v appreciation.

  4. Most cultures have taken something from another culture, adopted it, changed it. However, especially the changing part seems to be highly criticised at the moment. Generally, it’s met with ideas such as that you can’t use soemthing from a culture and change it which would remove it’s original origin. But a lot of cultures stems from that idea, just look at the many pantheons of Gods that exist. Nordic, Greek, Roman etc. So if the culture that I’m ”taking from” benefited from taking from another culture, why is that wrong?

  5. How can I , a Hispanic man living in the US can tell a White anglo to not use a Mexican hat because of "cultural appropriation" and then turn around and get in my car , a white anglo invention , use my phone a white anglo invention , dress in white western style clothing and then go eat at McDonalds a white Western style restaurant…It doesn't make any sense to me , just sounds like pure hypocrisy.

  6. WHAT IS CULTURAL APPROPRIATION ? The answer is simple and it doesn't take much for anyone who can think on their own. This is just another one of the many tactics thought out by the extreme left-wing in the USA to divide us all. This tactic is especially guided towards the white race. This doesn't make any sense , I'm a legal immigrant Hispanic and I urge all of those like me to reject this evil , racist and inhuman stupidity.

  7. So when other countries and cultures wear blue denim jeans they are stealing our American culture?! Is that what I’m understanding?! Hmmm. So only Americans can wear blue jeans.

  8. Hi. New to the channel and loved it. You made me already change my mind about the topic. But, there's another side to it. The backlash! People white, Caucasian, religious, etc. Feel that they're stepping on eggshells. You may assume that since my picture is an White Caucasian dude, that I'm WASP. But I'm not! I get confused whenever I have to fill up a form that asks : Are you White, African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, …. At one time I was filling up a form like that and next to me was an Indian (a guy from India). And we both look at each other and said… WTF! I'm from Brazil. I live in Brazil, and as you can see in a short conversation people will assume that I'm American. But I'm not a Hispanic by any means. I'm a native Portuguese speaker. I had to learn Spanish and English as an adult. Even with Brazil being surrounded by Spanish speaking countries we mostly have Portuguese, African, and a "melting pot", as in America. My Indian friend put in his form African American and I put Hispanic even as I don't identify as such. This balance may change, as Venezuelans are fleeing into the country (I welcome refugees), and some of Brazilian culture has affected other nations. Argentinians have Carnaval now! Go figure?

  9. Cultural appropriation is a fashionable myth. And the examples given in the presentation aren't even consistent.

    The Hollywood representation of the Native American has nothing to do with cultural appropriation but with cultural misrepresentation and revisionism.

    The concept of cultural appropriation as it's applied today, or at least as it has infiltrated in the popular imagination, is just silly. Culture by definition is appropriation.

    It's hard to imagine a single culture, not even the insulated early Chinese, as not appropriating the culture of others, whether indigenous tribes, local communities or more global interactions even in cultures of insularity, a reality popularly represented in the musical "The King and I."

    The richness of American culture (but really, of all cultures) is its cross-fertilization, to use a less politically charged equivalent. At a certain point it becomes difficult to tell which culture is dominant and which exploited.

    In any case, in the popular use by the media, the concept is just plain silly. Is a Caucasian American culturally appropriating the Chinese xi-pao, as was recently in the news? Do Asians appropriate Western, specifically Italian culture, by drinking espresso coffee, or at least drinking it in culturally-specific ways or eating Italian food in culturally specific ways (with chopsticks)? Are Americans culturally appropriating Chinese dishes that Chinese reject as authentic, such as chop suey or chow mein, or eating them with spoons?

    Is Scotch on the rocks, such as Americans drink it, cultural appropriation of the beverage? What about drinking refrigerated red wine, or with ice cubes in the glass, or mixed with seltzer? Arguably the most famous example of cultural appropriation is the Christian New Testament. Virgil was similarly a cultural appropriation of Homer, as Dante was of Virgil. We need a Portia to divide the flesh from the blood in an issue such as this, largely made up by the ideology of political correctness.

  10. the acknowledge of the existence of "cultural appropriation" and, therefore, the intent to eliminate it is, essentially, totalitarism. Its tyranny.

  11. The reason why racism happens is because people don't understand and interact with the cultures of other people. By adopting other cultures and traditions it is being acceptance of other people. This whole anti cultural appropriation is only going to create a bigger divide between people, which is going to hurt the world as a whole. I'm chinese and when I see people wearing chi pow or eating moon cake it makes me happy because it feels like they can appreciate elements of my culture.

  12. If cultural appropriation is so bad, then as someone of Italian descent, I demand that the teenage mutant ninja turtles stop eating pizza and change their names to something that isn’t Italian. Lol

  13. OH MY GOD ! is that a traditional turkish hat used as decoration ?! why is she doing cultural apropiation and not showing respect for it ?
    And that Geisha, why is se culturally apropating the Japannese culture as decoration ?! Why is she wearing White Clothes ? Why isn't she wearing Tribal Gear as most blacks did before they first met Europeans ? Why are Black/Asian/Etc wearing Formal Wear ? that is Purely European and should not be apropiated like that ! How can they also listen and play Classical Music ? OH MY GOD ! MY CULTURE !!!

  14. https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=2961602421576785026#editor/target=post;postID=8476649350685226148;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=postname

  15. Isn't it "cultural appropriation" when non-whites use white invented technology like electricity, plumbing, the internet, indoor heating, cell phones, autombiles, jets, etc..etc.. These are all products of white culture. It is an embarrassment and brown washing for non-whites to use something unique to white culture. Imitating whites robs white people of their rich culture and identity, and therefore the only moral thing for non-whites to do is to return to their mud huts and subsistence farming & hunting without any of the modern amenities ALL of which have been brought to the world by the white community.

  16. bottom line I am not responsible for your feelings. If your offened then so what, the law should not in any way be set up so that your feelings are protected. The tyranny of the neurotic and bored. The only oblications I have is to not directly harm you or to call for you to be harmed. That is it. Final. You get no more unless I feeling like extending to you more curticy. And for that you must earn it from me personally. Further the oppresion you are pissed about, I did not inflict nor have i benifited from it in a way that you can messure. Even if I were I am not responsible for your feelings.. . And I can like or dislike or use or change or not use any part of some other culture I so please Unless you can claim a copyright or patent on something, I have done no wrong. The worst you can call me doing so it Tacky and you can boycott it. There are many cultural habits of other people I don't like or do not appove of, yet I have no right to tell you how to practice any of it. Nor can I claim to own any cultural thing forbidden to you. The worst thing that cultural appropriation is, is that it is rude. Rude does not rise to the level of liabilithy or quatifialble harm to warren this much hubub. We are letting the complaining bitchy part of our society take control. And if your thinking that the worded bitchy is code for woman. You would be right on. Insults are not important enough for society to do anything coordinated to fix it. If you upset about a cultural appropriation then you do not have many real problems. I am sure in this nation there are real prolems facecd by minoritues that deserve attention and need change. The justice system, poverty, quality education, drugs and even nutrition. All valid concerns that minorities may have. Hurt feeling over cultural appropration are unimportant. So, shut up. It makes me want to see real oppression happen to you for a short time so you will get the difference. Or maybe ask your grandpaerents, who suffered real oppression. I bet they would agree. You are crying wolf and when there is a real wolf people will not listen.

  17. I think the most annoying thing is that everyone is racist. There is no race. No starting gun. No finish line. Race is a British equivocation fallacy to turn family into competition to justify nepotism and slippery slope for aristocracy.

    This topic is about familial property. It belongs to no one person of a family. No one can copywrite it. Making money off a cultural property as entities of another culture shares nothing with the original family members.

    As long as you're not making money on it, there's no theft. But might be offensive. However, "offensive", isnt a crime even if people choose to find it offensive. Its everyones choice to be offended and can be felt by anyone at will.

  18. https://youtu.be/NNUcR-eMxaE
    Not a real thing, grow up. Everyone takes something from the last generation which takes from the previous one.

  19. It's good to be respectful of other people's cultures, but making a big deal about it soon devolves into endless empty erudition. Just be good to people and enjoy life. And as nice as it was for Brando to make a point about Native Americans, according to these rules he shouldn't have played a role glorifying Italian stereotypes either.

  20. Europeans have officially apologised to the Arab world for emulating their unprecedented slave-trading practices in Africa 🐫🐫🐫☻

  21. Such a ridiculously stupid concept. Cultures have borrowed and shared from eachother since the beginning of civilization and culture itself. It's human nature. Why don't you people stop looking at what makes you different and start looking at what makes you the same, being a human being. The more you divide people by saying "oh this is my culture you can't participate in doing that" the more we divide ourselves and see eachother as separate when in reality we are all one. The same human race, One Race. The sooner society ditches stupid concepts like "cultural appropriation" the better off we will be. Honestly the whole concept of it is so incredibly dumb

  22. position of power? Get the hell out of here with your racist anti white bullsh*t. Its either appropriate for some people to do or not. More PBS bullsh* propaganda. So youre appropriating European technology, european language, German clothing (Adidas).

  23. The background sound track was doing my head in, it really distracts from your speech. Also, you turn a simple explanation into a confusing, complex ramble.

  24. I think it's important to point out harmful instances of cultural appropriation. Like what Brando and Littlefeather did. Those shitty westerns took aspects of Native American culture without any deeper appreciation. However, I also think that cultural appropriation has become a catch-all term to put down all culturally diverse pieces of media. My favorite TV show of all time is Cowboy Bebop. It's an anime that's heavily influenced by all things American. There are characters of several different ethnicities unlike most anime. Many aspects of African-American and Native American cultures are infused into the show. What makes Bebop special is that it has deep appreciation and love for all of the cultures it portrays. It's not shallow like a supermodel wearing a Native American inspired dress without putting any thought into it. And as someone who's not Japanese and wasn't born and raised in America, I can experience this wonderful melting pot of cultures and ideas. I don't want art and media that is genuinely influenced by other cultures to go away. And I hope not all instances of this infusion are put down with cries of "cultural appropriation". I hope people can differentiate shallow and harmful appropriation from respectful homage.

  25. People need to stop being so selfish about their culture and should be happy that people actually look up and enjoy their culture and ways of life so much that they decided to include it in their own daily lives. Now a days all I see is everyone finding any possible little thing to be mad about. Why is everyone so angry?!

  26. Should we be offended when people wear WEAVES ( hair )when one race buys hair off the heads of other races of women ? Answer is no .. but watch how fast people get bent out of shape when other women get hair braided or corn roles

  27. I don't know if I can 100% agree. I mean, of course when a culture is displayed differently than its initial context when it's displayed by another group, but that's the point. It changes, it is memetic. For example: black people were the ORIGINAL blues guitarists. Blues is the predecessor of rock and roll. Is therefore, Stairway to Heaven a black invention? By proxy, maybe, but it was passed on and changed, as is the norm with music for a millennium. I don't say "wow, all these rappers using scotch snaps, cultural appropriation" because that'd be dumb to say. It is now something different.

  28. The far left pretends that they want this melting pot rainbow where there are no borders, no religion, no country (like John Lennon's "Imagine"), yet they have the nerve to say, 'THAT'S CULTURAL APPROPRIATION.' Such hypocrisy. Fake news.

  29. I'd like to add my two-cents but about 4-years ago the people running the Internet flipped their Master Switch on me and as a result, the world isn't allowed to see what I think about these sorts of matters. One day we all have to stand before The Almighty and give an account of our conduct down here, and that includes those deemons at Yahoo and Google and the Daily Mail … that are using a chainsaw against my demographic 24/7.

  30. I think one of the things that makes cultural appropriation controversial is that while the concept is easy to define, specific examples can VERY much fall in an ambiguous grey zone, so much that people who fully accept the idea of appropriation will argue over those examples. I read an article today that said the hippies adopting eastern spirituality was an example of appropriation. I feel when a mass movement like that dabbles in foreign ideas, some level of simplification and misrepresentation is just inevitable, however, should it inhibit us from practicing our versions of yoga or buddhist mindfulness? Surely we should better educate ourselves on its original context, however, I also fear a cultural stagnancy that might come out of being too afraid to approach non-western ideas for fear of appropriation.

  31. Answer: No. If it is true, then I should stop speaking English because either I'm offending English people for stealing their language or offending my people for not using our native tongue. This is stupid.

  32. The idea of cultural appropriation is foolish because it suggests in order to adopt new culture you need to have permission. If people really feel this way about adopting new culture than they should stay in their own countries. I feel like you as a black woman or appropriating my country as a native of the United States.

  33. Cultural Appropriation is BS term invented by people that have nothing else todo. People have the feedom to do what the want so it is a non-problem. The lines between cultures are very grey.

  34. Cultural appropriation, at times also phrased cultural misappropriation, is the adoption of elements of one culture by members of another culture. This can be controversial when members of a dominant culture appropriate from disadvantaged minority cultures.

  35. Funny that the same people who tell us we are all the same, and that race doesn't matter; are also the same people telling me what to wear based on my skin colour. It is clear that people `against` cultural appropriation are racist people looking for a position of power over others. Terrible people cloaked under reverse racism.

  36. My favorite old Kpop group Chakra (2000s) is getting some “cultural appropriation” bullshit comments by these Koreaboos who happened to stumble upon their performance. Koreans aren’t aware of African/Indian culture and this group was influenced by them. And I honestly think this brought more appreciation of these two cultures by kpop fans, even if they weren’t 100% accurate. I tell these idiotic “cultural appropriation” idiots that by their logic, you don’t get to use any Korean culture if you’re not Korean. It’s the intention that matters— if you’re using culture to compare superiorities then yes, that is inappropriate, though sometimes even making fun of or criticizing a culture isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Like how I think it’s hilarious how some Korean words are really bastardized version of English words

  37. So, whining snowflakes have given their self-importance and hypocrisy an important sounding name? Pam Anderson is catching all kinds of flack for a Halloween photo-shoot where she's wearing a Native American head dress. The hypocrisy is astonishing! You can go to the Dakota's where you can buy Native American head dresses FROM… (…wait for it…) …Native Americans. Seems they don't mind someone wearing them if they sell them to BE WORN. (duh?) There are probably thousands of examples of this hypocrisy. So, what's the problem with people these days? Get over yourselves!

  38. I'm British. I guess I can only do British culture stuff. Oh wait that's racist. But I want to accept and embrace other cultures. Can someone please explain what I can wear today!?

  39. I hate to break it to everyone but cultural appropriation is a western concept, created in western countries, to discribe western actions. Don't expect a Han person living in China to understand Wtf you're talking about when you explain to them why you can't participate in any of their Chinese cultural practices they want to share with you.

  40. Besides the obvious question of who decides what is appropriate, I would point to the question of who even belongs to a certain group? Do you get to appropriate black culture if you are half black? A quarter black? Are we following the one drop rule? Do I have to look black?

    How about we just stick to discouraging the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes regardless of the color of your skin rather than yelling at people for their halloween costumes or choice of prom dress.

  41. You can’t dress up in a Thor costume because I am registered in The association of Norse mythology in Iceland and I say you can’t😤😤😤😂

  42. The one solid example of controversy over cultural "appropriation" you used in this video is I think better described as cultural misrepresentation. I agree that that's a bad thing. That seems separate from, say, Katy Perry using Egyptian iconography in a video without understanding its meaning (and calling the video "Dark Horse" without understanding that phrase's meaning either. (BTW, check out Key of Awesome's parody of Dark Horse) Good point pointing out the commonality of culture and language. I think looking at the (mis)-use of culture the way you would a similar misuse of language would be an enlightening way to think about the issue.

  43. I still don't get it. Can someone please explain to me using very simple words that my tiny little brain can understand, why cultural appropriation is a bad thing?

  44. Marlon Brando was born in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A. and he had no right whatsoever to dye his hair blonde and assume a German accent to play a German soldier (The Young Lions) nor to play an Italian mob leader (Godfather). Both blond Germans and Italian Mafia Godfathers are minorities!
    Social appropriation of the worst kind!

  45. I am an American, American culture is made up of appropriating the foods, fashions and customs of other cultures. Since all cultures are equal and our American culture is to appropriate other cultures, so, anyone that disparages any American for cultural appropriation is, therefore, disrespecting and oppressing American culture, which makes them cultural imperialists, bigots, racists and worse than Hitler.

  46. Cultural Appropriation was never a problem until its false narratives were force fed to our young…….. It is nothing but a method to cause division and chaos. And sadly I would say it seems to be working.

  47. Cultural appropiation is just a thing in USA and we the rest of the world have a hard time understanding why it bothers you so much

  48. My only problem with the modern take on cultural appropriation is that it denies that all modern cultures exist in their current state because of cultural appropriation. Here are two examples following. Italian culture is now synonymous with pasta but pasta was appropriated from China. Should we demand Italians stop using pasta? Cornrolls are now associated with Island and African culture but the oldest examples found in archaeology are in Celtic art and culture. Should we then state that African and all those of African descent now not wear them? Cultures evolve through contact with other cultures so to say all cultural appropriation is bad is to try and rewrite every culture on earth.

  49. Cultural appropriation generally refers to the adoption of traditional practices, objects, or images by a person or group that is not part of the originating culture. That is sociology definition of it, the conversation isn't about what is it. We talk about how can cultural appropriation been used in a ethical and moral way. The line where it is morally and ethically wrong is not hard to draw we all must use common sense when drawing the line.

  50. One example cultural appropriation is when studios in America say they're making an anime when we all know anime comes from Japan

  51. When you put on clothes of a different culture you celebrate that culture. Especially at Halloween or Karneval. And even if its a joke. Take the goddam joke and stop beeing a child. This whole thing is just ridiculous…

  52. The definition "taking something without the owners permission" is difficult to tie into culture directly, like outlined in the video. Culture is full of nuances. I am not an expert like the host in this video, however I am a scholar and I do have a few problems with how cut and dry these definitions are. After all, defining is the first step in having a relevant philosophical debate about anything. The reciprocal circle that was used to outline culture in this video is great, but the lines are too straight, and in some instances layers of that circle would cross and overlap. Using one simplified model for something so diverse is kind of a detour from the truth. Not to mention it would be hard to define, especially in the US, where exactly to draw the lines between one culture and the next.

    As a white gay man, before I open my mouth when I am not with my partner I would be considered by most to be part of the dominant "culture" of white people in the US. However if I am with my partner, or if someone hears the way I speaks and suspects me of being gay, I am no longer part of that dominant culture, and I am seen as low by many cultures including other minority cultures larger than the LGBTQ+ community. In my experience, gay culture has been 'appropriated' throughout all human culture. Slang, fashion and style, pop culture and gossip, (as stereotypical as it may seem) have all been heavily influenced in all cultures throughout human history by their respective gay communities. Even cultures where gays are demonized and killed reap the benefits that gays bring to culture, style, and language. Not even fifteen years ago we were still having lynchings of gays in the US, albeit they were not legal like other lynchings have been, and they resulted in policy change. However, we as gays cant really complain that people are 'stealing' our culture, because we perpetuate it. Gay culture has been inspiring humanity since the times of the greeks, and gays have been accepted and subsequently shunned throughout human history, giving them a long struggle. However this is a communal sense of pride I think all gays have, we inspire culture and change. Black culture started heavily influencing gay culture around the 60's and 70's, when the struggles of these minority groups became similar, not to mention the gay community is a mix of cultures intrinsically. The black community still largely demonizes the gay community, especially those who are members of both communities. This, however doesn't effect the fact that the communities continue to grow closer and closer intwined. This could be due to the continuing lax behavior toward gays, and acceptingness of the black community; contributing to growing numbers of black LGBTQ+, influencing the scene. Regardless of the reasoning, we could argue that the resulting gay culture has influenced pop culture (Nicki Manaj, Janelle Monae, Lil Nas X, Tyler, The Creator), which subsequently ends in culture being a general mix of ideals, tastes, likes, dislikes, shared memories, etc. In that way we could see all Americans as one culture, and stop using appropriation as another way to separate and single out people for individual expression.

    We also need to investigate the degree of the harm of the expression. The power question is undeniable, cultures who have more power have the ability to take, and use lower power cultures items for themselves, thereby devaluing the original cultural practice, item etc. However, sometimes actions that maybe should be investigated for harmfulness by higher cultures, are not that large of an issue in the grand scheme of things. Like for instance, I am a Canadian. Southpark, a popular American TV show uses Canadians as a fictitious comic culture in their series, more than often in an unsavory and stereotypical light. However as a citizen of a less powerful country than the US. I in no way feel that Americans have appropriated my culture even though they are making money off of it, and getting a laugh at my countries expense. And there is really no harm done except for the few who take the show too literally. Additionally, the entire American culture is stronger and has more power than the entire Canadian culture, however subcultures in either culture also have social discrepancies. So would it be appropriation for a black American to steal a distinctly different cultural practice/item from a black Canadian? And vice versa. Would it not be fine for the Canadian black person to steal the traditions of American since America is the dominant culture, or does it matter because both describe themselves belonging to the larger black community? Take that same instance with a white person in the US and a white person in Canada. The cultures are distinctly different, but does it really matter if one 'steals' a practice from the other, and if they do, who is wrong and why? So where does appropriation begin and end? Is copying an English accent as an American appropriation? When done by actors on TV, should we not give those roles to actual english people who would love the chance at American cinema? Is it appropriation when I cook traditional Japanese, Honduran, and Philippine foods (all taught to me by actual members of the culture) as a white person? I think that there may need to be a different word for what we call cultural appropriation, or a different definition for it as it is.

    HOWEVER. There does exist cultural appropriation that would fit the current definition fairly well. My argument above is not that it cultural appropriation doesn't exist; simply that we as people who live in America have the responsibility as part of a mixed culture to educate ourselves about the nuances of living in a community of mixed cultures and how to traverse it correctly, respectfully, and appropriately. For example, Hollywood using traditional depictions of Native Americans as savages is definitely inappropriate, disrespectful, and incorrect. Additionally an instagram influencer who decides to wear brades or blackfish, for likes, subscribes, or money is also wrong. However, if a culture is thoroughly inspected, and the items being used from that culture are not ones of cultural significance, then I think the action is harmless. For example, wearing a lace-front or braids for style should be harmless if its not being used to degrade or mock, or make money off of a culture. I know the argument for brades has to do with the fact that the original use was utilitarian, and exemplified class, status, etc. in the communities those who traditionally wore brades. However I think that the cultural significance, meaning, and use has changed after a long division from that history. So as long as it is done for personal taste, and is not disrespectful, it's fine. I think it has a lot to do with intention, and sometimes intention is not incredibly obvious, so compassion helps when understanding is hard to find.

    Now that doesn't mean I would necessarily approve of someone wearing full geisha garb out in the daylight here in the US just because they love it and have researched it and it is something that is very important to them although it may not have stemmed from their families distant history. That would probably be inappropriate today in Japan for a Japanese person, so there are cultural lines that you should always be respectful of. I think if you were not raised in that culture, then ceremonial garb/ traditional cultural garb etc. is off limits for any casual wear, and is especially off limits for commercial capitol. This, however is different if you are being invited into that culture to experience it for a limited time, or possibly permanently by marriage or devotion. I think food is free rein, we share food from all cultures and I think that it is intrinsic to share food so it does not stagnate.

    So yea, sorry for rant. I researched this because it was taking a toll on my brain, and I just don't think we need to set ourselves up for failure and plant so many social landmines in order to progress as a human society. I think this issue is good to investigate and have a dialogue about, however in some renditions of this conversation, the dialogue can be anything but constructive.

  53. It's only cultural appropriation if you take something for a culture and claim that it's from your own.So most of the time the concept is misused.When a country occupy another country they try their best to erase the culture of the occupied country and not adopting the culture.

  54. As far as her comparing black women wearing weave. First let’s be very clear we are NOT of even playing grounds. At what point was WHITE HAIR ever oppressed?. appropriation involves pieces of an oppressed culture being taken out of context by a people who have historically oppressed those they are taking from, and make it their own.

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