Cultural appropriation

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Why and when did parts of the left become against cultural integration arguing that only certain races can do certain things?
We used to be all aboot this melting pot where we take the best elements of all cultures.

I think it was a slow bleed out from cultural mocking. Don't do black face became don't do yellow face which became don't steal black culture which became don't steal Asian culture which became don't act Black which became don't act Asian which became Cultural appropriation.
And I don't really know where the line is. There was a 'story' over the weekend about some white chick wearing a Chinese dress to prom, and boy howdy did leftist let her have it for 'cultural appropriation' which...its a dress. As long as it wasn't literally stolen from a dead woman's body, isn't it just a dress? Asian people wear suits, but suits are Western cultural clothing, not Asian.

I like to eat Mexican food, but I'm only half European Spanish, so is that appropriation? Likewise I love deepdish pizza, but I'm not from New York?
Also is language part of a culture? Is speaking Spanish cultural? What about English?

The whole thing seems deeply silly to me, and as someone left-of-center I can totally see why the right thinks the left is a bunch of snowflakes.

Silentpony:
I love deepdish pizza, but I'm not from New York?

Deep dish is Chicago's crime against pizza, don't pin that shit on New York, we like proper pizza.

Souplex:

Silentpony:
I love deepdish pizza, but I'm not from New York?

Deep dish is Chicago's crime against pizza, don't pin that shit on New York, we like proper pizza.

Oh was it? Here in STL Chicago is known for thin crust pizza and for forcing saint Louis bread Co to change its name to Panera because oh so precious Chicago wouldn't buy something from Saint Louis.

Because it's always about power and the eternal stuggle of the rebels without causes to find something they can champion because the major societal wars are over, the victors declared, and the morals found. And they can't accept that. Because it might mean that what they (say they) believe and the way they act will have to eventually take a good look at one another and realize that perhaps they aren't going about it in an acceptable or understood way.

Also others are just fucking insane and can't let people have their own corners of the world they go off to from time to time. Maybe they've just got severe abandonment issues, I dunno.

Edit: can't believe I forgot the most important point in this thread, fuck New York and fuck Chicago pizza, both of yous just decided to have a dick-measuring contest on who could make it bigger and less easily consumed.

The less genuine concerns those who virtue signal have to get upset about the more bullshit concerns they will start to invent.

It's bad when other cultures adopt Western attire because that's a sign of the reach of colonialism, it's also bad when Western cultures adopt the attire of other nations because that's cultural appropriation.

Apparently, segregation of Western culture from the rest of the world is the only way to remain progressive.

Honestly, ya just gotta balance cultural appreciation with the lingering aspects of colonialism that still exists.

Basically, we can't tell immigrants they gotta completely integrate into our society, while picking and choosing aspects of foreign cultures to call our own.

tl;dr its fucked up we think mexicans are dirty rapists while binging on tacos sold by a white guy with a manbun.

undeadsuitor:
SNIP

But who decides? Who gets to say what is appropriation and what's appreciation?

For example I'm currently dating a nice Indian woman from Mumbai. One day she told me in her culture one of the hottest things a man can do is cook traditional Indian meals. So I went out and took a cooking class, 3 hours and $120 bucks later I knew how to make Saag Paneer and lamb curry and rice, and the gf loved it and said it was the sweetest thing. Is that cultural appropriation? My GF didn't think so, but is she the authority? Should the Indian chef I learned from have turned me away? Who decides? And when? And why? And how?

Like I'm not trying to be confrontational, but what's the line between taking part in another culture's practices and being accused of stealing from them?
And isn't the whole point of America to be a cultural melting pot? And expression of interchangeable ideas and customs to create something new? I'm a Spanish American who knows how to cook Indian curry, and cajun Gumbo. Isn't that supposed to be a good thing, or have I crossed the cultural line?

Silentpony:

undeadsuitor:
SNIP

But who decides? Who gets to say what is appropriation and what's appreciation?

For example I'm currently dating a nice Indian woman from Mumbai. One day she told me in her culture one of the hottest things a man can do is cook traditional Indian meals. So I went out and took a cooking class, 3 hours and $120 bucks later I knew how to make Saag Paneer and lamb curry and rice, and the gf loved it and said it was the sweetest thing. Is that cultural appropriation? My GF didn't think so, but is she the authority? Should the Indian chef I learned from have turned me away? Who decides? And when? And why? And how?

Like I'm not trying to be confrontational, but what's the line between taking part in another culture's practices and being accused of stealing from them?
And isn't the whole point of America to be a cultural melting pot? And expression of interchangeable ideas and customs to create something new? I'm a Spanish American who knows how to cook Indian curry, and cajun Gumbo. Isn't that supposed to be a good thing, or have I crossed the cultural line?

Did you put kale in the Saag Paneer and charge 200% for it out of a food truck, call it your own, and snub indian chefs for making it cheaper?

Do you consider Saag Paneer the hottest new superfood diet from ~places unknown~ that you only found out about yesterday?

I mean, these examples are pretty obvious.

Let's stop kidding ourselves about the melting pot thing. America, at best, has accepted immigrant culture with gritted teeth until a profit can be made from it. We both want to build a massive wall to stop mexicans from coming here, but worship Cinco de Mayo with reverence of a saint

actually hold on, that's the line

When you go out and get drunk on Cinco de Mayo, are you drinking because it's the Fifth of May, or are you drinking to celebrate the Mexican Army's victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla.

like, are you embracing foreign culture because you understand the context of it, or because it's trendy?

or, you know, just don't worry about it. Because it's a problem that doesn't extend very far outside the internet.

undeadsuitor:

Did you put kale in the Saag Paneer and charge 200% for it out of a food truck, call it your own, and snub indian chefs for making it cheaper?

Do you consider Saag Paneer the hottest new superfood diet from ~places unknown~ that you only found out about yesterday?

I mean, these examples are pretty obvious.

Let's stop kidding ourselves about the melting pot thing. America, at best, has accepted immigrant culture with gritted teeth until a profit can be made from it. We both want to build a massive wall to stop mexicans from coming here, but worship Cinco de Mayo with reverence of a saint

actually hold on, that's the line

When you go out and get drunk on Cinco de Mayo, are you drinking because it's the Fifth of May, or are you drinking to celebrate the Mexican Army's victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla.

like, are you embracing foreign culture because you understand the context of it, or because it's trendy?

or, you know, just don't worry about it. Because it's a problem that doesn't extend very far outside the internet.

So basically...if you add money into the mix and you aren't the right color, it's bad according to you? Because that just sounds bonkers, to put it lightly.

And exactly what is bad about jumping on a holiday because it's trendy? I can understand religious holidays, because you literally do have to be practicing them to be of any significance to begin with, but the example you're putting forth and talking about didn't even happen on May 5th.

But I will indeed challenge you on the melting pot opinion you have on all levels, simply because my wife would have never been born if it were the way you say it is.

Silentpony:
I think it was a slow bleed out from cultural mocking. Don't do black face became don't do yellow face which became don't steal black culture which became don't steal Asian culture which became don't act Black which became don't act Asian which became Cultural appropriation.
And I don't really know where the line is. There was a 'story' over the weekend about some white chick wearing a Chinese dress to prom, and boy howdy did leftist let her have it for 'cultural appropriation' which...its a dress. As long as it wasn't literally stolen from a dead woman's body, isn't it just a dress? Asian people wear suits, but suits are Western cultural clothing, not Asian.

I like to eat Mexican food, but I'm only half European Spanish, so is that appropriation? Likewise I love deepdish pizza, but I'm not from New York?
Also is language part of a culture? Is speaking Spanish cultural? What about English?

The whole thing seems deeply silly to me, and as someone left-of-center I can totally see why the right thinks the left is a bunch of snowflakes.

It got better/worse when it was revealed the guy who was bitching about it said the n-word a few times and talked about how great it is to eat tamales with chopsticks.

Silentpony:
But who decides? Who gets to say what is appropriation and what's appreciation?

No easy way. Generally I'd say it's when you aren't part of the culture, and aren't interested in finding out about that culture. Often it's when someone goes on to act like they do.

But I've yet to come up with a hard and fast definition.

undeadsuitor:
When you go out and get drunk on Cinco de Mayo, are you drinking because it's the Fifth of May, or are you drinking to celebrate the Mexican Army's victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla.

like, are you embracing foreign culture because you understand the context of it, or because it's trendy?

Or, you know, are you just an alcoholic? Getting rat-arsed in fancy dress as an excuse to party isn't cultural appropriation. It might be tacky and disrespectful, but that's not appropriation.

Certain appropriation arguments I can buy into. Tribal tattoes, for instance. Ceremonial headdresses. Saying "you can't wear sombreros" ain't one.

I don't think the idea of cultural appropriation has any merit. It is just regular cultural exchange and some people behaving shitty in rather unrelated ways.

If you steal cultural objects, it is bad because you are stealing them.

If you try to close your market against dirty foreigners working for cheap and stealing your customers, well that also doesn't get better or worse depending on what you actually sell.

And so on.

I think the reason why many Americans have problems understanding Cultural Appropriation is because they have none themselves. :P

Basically, it's like a non-American outfitting themselves in a 180-degree flipped cap, khaki shorts and a white, blue and red-striped shirt, going into a McDonalds and saying stuff like, "America sucks! Hey, what is this bread-beef-cheese-bread sandwich? It's awesome! I'm going to call it meat-toasties from now on and act like I invented them!"

Also, citation needed for the original post.
The Left certainly isn't against cultural integration here.

Souplex:
Why and when did parts of the left become against cultural integration arguing that only certain races can do certain things?
We used to be all aboot this melting pot where we take the best elements of all cultures.

Pretty much no-one's against cultural integration.

Cultural appropriation is more... I suppose a sort of disrespectful borrowing of other people's culture that undermines them and their culture, maintaining harmful stereotypes, etc.

So, like, I remember this story quite a few years ago of this middle class US woman who went to Kenya. She got interested in the Masai, and fancied she'd like to spend a bit of time living like the Masai. But she did it by bribing a small group of Masai to treat her as a Masai warrior (women are not permitted to be a warrior in Masai culture), without apparently bothering to complete all the difficult warrior trials, rituals, etc. Then she went back to the USA to sell a book about it calling herself a "warrior princess" (adding assumed royalty in there too). It's not hard to see that this is quite insulting to the Masai, never mind not remotely experiencing life as a real Masai woman. She basically corrupted them to sell a fantasy to Americans for her own profit.

Honestly, if we're talking about Miley Cyrus twerking or something, "cultural appropriation" is more a complaint from people with too much time on their hands.

Satinavian:
I don't think the idea of cultural appropriation has any merit. It is just regular cultural exchange and some people behaving shitty in rather unrelated ways.

No, they're related ways.

If you take a lawnmower after gaining consent from the owner, it's borrowing; if you take a lawnmower without consent, it's stealing. You can do things in civil and respectful ways or uncivil and disrespectful ways. And taking bits of other people's culture in uncivil and disrespectful ways is what tends to get called cultural appropriation.

I agree with Catnip. I can see how wearing a headdress that's considered a culture's equivalent to a Victoria Cross, or a
Medal of Honor, would be disrespectful. Beyond that, though, it all seems very arbitrary. Who cares if a white American girl wants to wear a Chinese dress to the prom? If it's not harming anyone, then there's no reason to care, and certainly not to harass a teenage girl over social media because of it. Cultures are not monolithic blocks which can be separated neatly from each other and preserved in glass cases for all eternity. Cultures are fluid entities which mix freely, adapt from each other, and never stop evolving. And that's a good thing.

What's meant by cultural appropriation isn't usually the act of using things invented by a different culture, it means taking significant attributes of another culture and treating them as a commodity or, even worse, a fashion statement.

Souplex:
Why and when did parts of the left become against cultural integration arguing that only certain races can do certain things?

Cultural integration or cultural appreciation is not the same thing as cultural appropriation.

As for how we can spot the difference, we need to think about two things which are sometimes a little uncomfortable for white people to think about. Those things are racism and colonialism.

Firstly, we need to understand that we live in a world in which not all cultures are equal, and not all cultures have positive associations. In the 19th century, people could literally arrange these cultures hierarchically, with European cultures at the top (the pinnacle of civilisation). This wasn't simply an abstract prejudice either, it justified materially going over and murdering people whose cultures were inferior in order to take their land and exploit their resources. Ideas like the white man's burden and the civilizing mission openly justified the idea that white people should dominate the world in order to "improve" the inferior cultures they encountered elsewhere.

Accompanying this idea, however, is also mockery or superficial emulation. For example, in British India hunting tigers became very popular for the white elite..

..previously, tiger hunting had been strongly associated with Indian royalty. The British stripped it of this meaning and boiled it down to an example of the "noble savagery" of Indian subcontinent, which they sought to emulate as a way of proving their manliness and dominance and the capacity of civilisation to master the forces of nature. They took all the culturally specific meaning of the act and boiled it down into something they could consume, and they consumed it with such ferocity that they almost wiped out tigers from India altogether.

Now look at the world today. It is not that different. I can find many examples on this forum of people claiming certain cultures are inherently inferior, or that we can't allow people from certain cultural backgrounds to immigrate to "civilized" countries, or that certain groups of people are just culturally inferior. Again, this is not just abstract prejudices, it impacts on material policy and circumstance. Black people in American suburbs routinely get shot by police or local residents even if they actually live there because they are assumed to be criminals. Non-white people and people from poorer countries are systematically discriminated against by immigration systems. In the past few decades, we have seen military interventions around the world driven by a desire to control resource, but also quite specifically to bring "civilization" to people whose indigenous culture is seen as inferior or undesirable.

Cultural appropriation is not just the act of consuming the products of cultures to which you are not indigenous. We all do that constantly. It is a form of consumption which ignores or even participates in the material forms of discrimination which people in those cultures endure for being part of that culture, or even just for being perceived (for racial reasons) as part of that culture. It is the act of stripping all cultural significance from the products of other, stigmatized cultures to turn them into fun accessories for white people to enjoy but which don't say anything about them, as they would if a non-white person did the same thing.

Like with much of "Political Correctness", the psychological motive force of policing this "cultural appropriation" seems to be the same as any old snobbery. Sure, there is an elaborate rationalization involving theories of communal ownership of intangibles, but really people do it just as the threatened Old Money sneered at the "vulgar excesses" of the nouveau riche.

It really struck me when the famous thespian Benedict Cumberbatch made the pitifully out-of-touch faux-pas of going "I say, some of my dearest friends are coloured people!" Man, people loved to pounce on a rich, famous toff for that one, because it's just so sweet to be better than someone like him. And while that wasn't a case of cultural appropriation itself, it was the same appeal of outclassing a rival human being that's involved in "calling out" appropriation as well as dat fool who uses the wrong fork on the salad. You are more sophisticated, and people should hear that!

Of course, reverence for cultural traditions is a very conservative value, and that has its place. It's just something that's been obscured by the one value that unites the current Pop "Left" above all: deeply rooted oikophobia (a crucial term for understanding what's happening, coined in its current usage by Sir Roger Scruton) that fetishizes "Otherness". It is obnoxious when people treat established symbols trivially with no appreciation of their meaning. But we'd find it easier to avoid ridiculous overreactions if we stopped obfuscating the nature of the phenomenon with trendy labels from Tumblr.

Agema:
So, like, I remember this story quite a few years ago of this middle class US woman who went to Kenya. She got interested in the Masai, and fancied she'd like to spend a bit of time living like the Masai. But she did it by bribing a small group of Masai to treat her as a Masai warrior (women are not permitted to be a warrior in Masai culture), without apparently bothering to complete all the difficult warrior trials, rituals, etc. Then she went back to the USA to sell a book about it calling herself a "warrior princess" (adding assumed royalty in there too). It's not hard to see that this is quite insulting to the Masai, never mind not remotely experiencing life as a real Masai woman. She basically corrupted them to sell a fantasy to Americans for her own profit.

That is kind of stupid. But i don't actually see the wrongness here. How is this any different from 50% of other history related tourism options where tourists get to experience part of the live of whatever fancy group brought them there, but usually only the non difficult parts and simplified into the extreme ?

I mean, you could complain about the corruption involved, if the bribing can be taken serious. You also could complain about the power of wealth and inequality making such a thing possible. But the act itself ? Experiencing some incorrect touristy version of "Masai warrior" and writing a book about it ? No, i don't see the problem with that.

I live in Germany. Germany has hundreds of castles and palaces due to the history of all those small souvereign rulers. To maintain them is expensive. Therefor you can easily buy one, if you are rich. If you are not that rich, you can also easily rent one for some time, live there and pretend to be a prince or knight or whatever. You can also buy assessories for your pseudomedieval experience, you can hire people who treat you like a prince or princess or whatever.

And things like that are done. A lot. With wildly varying accuracy and it is rare that some tourist really forsakes all the nice things of a modern life (but even that happens). Where exactly is the fudamental difference between a rich Chinese pretending to be a German prince in a real castle and with the help of hired staff to this US women pretending to be a Masia warrior with the help of hired locals ?

If you take a lawnmower after gaining consent from the owner, it's borrowing; if you take a lawnmower without consent, it's stealing. You can do things in civil and respectful ways or uncivil and disrespectful ways. And taking bits of other people's culture in uncivil and disrespectful ways is what tends to get called cultural appropriation.

And if i watch my neighboor mowing his lawn and try to imitate him that is not a problem.

Taking bits of other culture is not stealing. "Culture" is not intellectual property.

evilthecat:

..previously, tiger hunting had been strongly associated with Indian royalty. The British stripped it of this meaning and boiled it down to an example of the "noble savagery" of Indian subcontinent, which they sought to emulate as a way of proving their manliness and dominance and the capacity of civilisation to master the forces of nature. They took all the culturally specific meaning of the act and boiled it down into something they could consume, and they consumed it with such ferocity that they almost wiped out tigers from India altogether.

And why was that wrong ?

Because Brits saw the tiger hunting, thought what a nice, gentlemanly challange, let's join in ?

No. It was wrong because they hunted their tigers in India, thus taking royal privileges and resources from the inhatitants of their colonies and for themself. The Indians lost those tigers to their colonial overlords.

Satinavian:
And why was that wrong ?

Well, if you want a pretty concrete reason, because tens of millions of people died as a result of British colonial policy in India.

You perhaps want to believe that you can separate the cultural dimensions of colonialism from its material effects on subjugated people, but the two are closely related. Tiger hunting is particularly easy in this regard because it was a very conscious display of Imperial power, the British elite were extremely aware of the elite connotations of tiger hunting in Indian society. It wasn't just fun, it was a way of asserting, in effect, that white people were the royalty of this colonial society which they had conquered and subjugated through force of arms and which they materially exploited with devastating effects on the local population.

British people of the time believed that Indians and Indian culture were barbaric and inferior. Heck, this belief prevailed well into the 20th century. It justified the British presence in India and all the horrible things that occurred as a result. The British colonial elite did not adopt tiger hunting because they admired Indian culture, because they wanted to be part of it or to share in it as equals, but because they literally owned it, just as they owned the people who embodied it, and the lands they inhabited, and the tigers they hunted. It is all related, whether you wish it to be or not.

The British also outlawed or exterminated parts of Indian culture they did not like, for much the same reason, as the perceived right of superior cultures to dominate inferior ones. We live with the consequences today in terms of Hindu nationalism and the truncated and mutilated sense of Indian identity left behind, in large part, by colonialism.

The problem, ultimately, is that hierarchical sense of cultural superiority from which it is possible to consume "inferior" cultures without acknowledging those cultures as equals or even contemporaries, without acknowledging that their systems of cultural meaning have value or even exist or are in any way different. Let's ignore that other people, of course, have to deal with the consequences of being different, of being associated with a different and possibly very stigmatised culture. They don't own those cultures, they don't get to decide what their culture means and they don't get to step outside of them when it's inconvenient and pretend to be something else. Only white people get to do that, silly.

Look, I get it. Cultural appropriation is a concept that is very hard to understand and often very complicated, including for me, because at the end of the day I'm white and I live in a society where my own cultural background is hegemonic. But I would say, maybe if a POC person calls you out for appropriating elements of a culture which they would be stigmatized for embodying, perhaps listen to what they're saying and give some thought to whether or not you have helped them escape that stigma, or whether you've merely perpetuated it to benefit yourself at their expense.

I think that's all anyone can ask and the first step in turning cultural appropriation into genuine cultural exchange, because if we can't listen to each other, if we can't understand that things that seem trivial to us may mean something very real and indeed life or death for someone else, then what is actually being exchanged in this cultural exchange? Where is the equality in this exchange?

The concept of cultural appropriation is kind of silly. It ironically ends up endorsing the idea of the ethnostate from the opposite side of the spectrum. Of course, that does not mean it's impossible for someone to act disrespectfully against other cultures. When displaying the symbols of other cultures, it should be done with a degree of undrstanding and respect.

evilthecat:

Satinavian:
And why was that wrong ?

Well, if you want a pretty concrete reason, because tens of millions of people died as a result of British colonial policy in India.

You perhaps want to believe that you can separate the cultural dimensions of colonialism from its material effects on subjugated people, but the two are closely related. Tiger hunting is particularly easy in this regard because it was a very conscious display of Imperial power, the British elite were extremely aware of the elite connotations of tiger hunting in Indian society. It wasn't just fun, it was a way of asserting, in effect, that white people were the royalty of this colonial society which they had conquered and subjugated through force of arms and which they materially exploited with devastating effects on the local population.

Sure.

Conquerers taking symbols of rulership from the conquered to demonstrate their power is a thing. It is nothing particularly special.

How has that anything to do with this talk about cultural appropriation ? This concept didn't even exist at the time of the British empire. Nearly every ethnicy has never had anything to do with British colonialism in India. And Indian history consists of thousands of years with British meddling not any more than a short episode. Seeing everything through the colonialism lens is like saying India is only important as a British colony.

Look, I get it. Cultural appropriation is a concept that is very hard to understand and often very complicated, including for me, because at the end of the day I'm white and I live in a society where my own cultural background is hegemonic. But I would say, maybe if a POC person calls you out for appropriating elements of a culture which they would be stigmatized for embodying, perhaps listen to what they're saying and give some thought to whether or not you have helped them escape that stigma, or whether you've merely perpetuated it to benefit yourself at their expense.

It is not hard to understand, it is just rubbish. Also dividing the world into white and POC is idiotic and shows disregard for all involved cultures. As if skin color is a way to group cultures.

Satinavian:
It is not hard to understand, it is just rubbish.

Okay: so would you propose that no culture or subculture (or more strictly, a large part of its members) has ever been upset at the way its traditions and beliefs have been treated by another culture? It seems to me that might be quite a tough claim.

If members of a culture have largely been upset, then there is a real phenomenon that happens where cultures do not like the way their culture may be treated by other cultures. In worst case scenarios, it potentially involves degradation and destruction of that culture.

Perhaps we could call this phenomenon something... how about "cultural appropriation"?

* * *

What we can certainly imagine is that Americans wearing sombreros to a Mexican-themed party is either not cultural appropriation or so trivial as to not really be worth the term. And also that some people grossly overuse the term "cultural appropriation" because it makes their complaint sound much more important and clever than it really is.


"Hey, we're going to pretend your plights don't exist when not actively stamping you out throughout our entire history because it's simpler to avoid any potential of feeling responsible, or - God forbid - actual guilt, but we're going to totally take all the stuff we think looks neat for ourselves, that cool?

What do you mean it isn't?? Fucking Marxist sjw censorship snowflakes assholes! That shit's ours now. And no, your not getting any equal rights either."

But alright, I guess it is easier to ignore that the deeply ingrained systems of colonialism is still harming peoples when you focus on misinterpreting terms in favour of internet strawmen perpetuated by crazy people slapped with Tumblr labels.

Silentpony:

Souplex:

Silentpony:
I love deepdish pizza, but I'm not from New York?

Deep dish is Chicago's crime against pizza, don't pin that shit on New York, we like proper pizza.

Oh was it? Here in STL Chicago is known for thin crust pizza and for forcing saint Louis bread Co to change its name to Panera because oh so precious Chicago wouldn't buy something from Saint Louis.

Let's both agree that Chicago is the worst.

Xsjadoblayde:
SNIP

So...its just cultural PTSD from a few hundred years of colonialism a few hundred years ago? Also what about cultures that weren't part of a colonial push?
Like I'm American, and European Spanish. None of them were involved in the British colonialism in India, so am I immune from Indian cultural appropriation?
Or is it just when there's a political aim, however well justified, that it becomes appropriation?

Souplex:

Silentpony:

Souplex:
Deep dish is Chicago's crime against pizza, don't pin that shit on New York, we like proper pizza.

Oh was it? Here in STL Chicago is known for thin crust pizza and for forcing saint Louis bread Co to change its name to Panera because oh so precious Chicago wouldn't buy something from Saint Louis.

Let's both agree that Chicago is the worst.

Chicago is the absolute worst!

Satinavian:
How has that anything to do with this talk about cultural appropriation ? This concept didn't even exist at the time of the British empire.

Okay, so if you read my original post, you will probably be able to figure out why this is relevant to cultural appropriation. But just in case, let's go in tiny, tiny baby steps.

* There is nothing inherently wrong with the exchange or sharing of cultural information and practices. Noone talking about cultural appropriation actually has a problem with that.

* Cultural appropriation describes a situation in which products of a subordinate culture are taken and adopted as commodities for the amusement and benefit of a dominant culture.

* European colonialism was one example, but not the only example, of the material concequences of a pattern of racist, hierarchical ordering of cultures which positioned some as dominant over others and which was imposed globally through the practice of colonialism itself.

* Despite the fact that explicit imperialism has, for the most part, ended. Racism, and the hierarchical ordering of cultures which justified the existence of European imperialism remains largely intact. We still live in a world where "Western" (European and settler) culture is seen by most people as the pinnacle of human civilisation, and where inhabitants of other cultures are both materially exploited and ideologically conceived of as inferior.

* This includes ethnic minorities in Europe and other white settler societies, which continue to bear the labels of cultural association which they cannot escape. Again, black people get literally shot for being outside in their own neighbourhoods.

* So, because we continue to live in a profoundly unequal world and because certain cultures continue to be stigmatised in comparison to a globally dominant form of white European/settler culture, cultural exchange cannot take place on equal terms, and invariably takes the form of the appropriation of the very symbols and labels which continue to be used to discriminate against people from subordinate cultures and ethnic groups to this day.

* This is a problem because we live in a society which concieves of itself as better and more equal than the past and which holds on paper that everyone is equal regardless of their ethnicity or cultural background, and yet that equality is still not accessible for people who are seen as culturally marked. For example, for many black people, having "black hair" is a source of ridicule, prejudice and negative stereotyping. For Asian women, stereotypes about traditional Asian culture, exaggerated femininity and submissiveness are something they deal with every day. A white person can put on these cultural associations for fun and then take them off, but those who are actually culturally marked by their ethnicity can never take them off. That is because we still live in a world where culture is hierarchically organised.

* In short, colonialism is an important chapter in history because it never actually ended. The material reality of India being a British colony ended, but the hierarchical arrangement of global cultures which justified the conquest and subordination of Indians "for their own good" as part of a civilising mission never actually ended, and continues as a racist ideology latent within "Western" culture.

Xsjadoblayde:


"Hey, we're going to pretend your plights don't exist when not actively stamping you out throughout our entire history because it's simpler to avoid any potential of feeling responsible, or - God forbid - actual guilt, but we're going to totally take all the stuff we think looks neat for ourselves, that cool?

Why should i feel responsibility or guilt about something people i have nothing to do did to other people i have nothing to do a century or more ago ?

Or, to stay in Indian history, why does it matter that some Brit crouned herself empress of India but does not matter that some central Asian did pretty much the same when establishing the Mughal Saltanat ? I am neither Brit nor Mongol nor Indian and none of my ancestors had anything to do with any of this. Not that feeling guilt for ancestors would be that much more sensible.

evilthecat:

Okay, so if you read my original post, you will probably be able to figure out why this is relevant to cultural appropriation. But just in case, let's go in tiny, tiny baby steps.

Sure. Maybe we can pinpoint the source of disagreement.

* There is nothing inherently wrong with the exchange or sharing of cultural information and practices. Noone talking about cultural appropriation actually has a problem with that.

Good

* Cultural appropriation describes a situation in which products of a subordinate culture are taken and adopted as commodities for the amusement and benefit of a dominant culture.

Kinda have a problem with this whole subordinate and dominent culture thing. That might make some sense for several subcultures in the same nation when one of them fills all the positions of power. But i don't think this can apply cross border if you don't have puppet regimes.

* European colonialism was one example, but not the only example, of the material concequences of a pattern of racist, hierarchical ordering of cultures which positioned some as dominant over others and which was imposed globally through the practice of colonialism itself.

I would argue that it was the other way around. Racist, heirarchical ordering of cultures as backward justification for the colonial conquests. OTOH their is a lot of "our culture is best and everyone else is barbarians" in most of the world history, usually not acted on.
But whatever, racist, hierarchical ordering of cultures is bad. Sure.

* Despite the fact that explicit imperialism has, for the most part, ended. Racism, and the hierarchical ordering of cultures which justified the existence of European imperialism remains largely intact. We still live in a world where "Western" (European and settler) culture is seen by most people as the pinnacle of human civilisation, and where inhabitants of other cultures are both materially exploited and ideologically conceived of as inferior.

Disagree. Especially in most of Asia that is simply not true. Ask any Chinese, Japanese or Korean if they really think that their own culture is actually inferior to western ones. I would guess that nearly the only places that place "Western" culture that high see themself as western.

* This includes ethnic minorities in Europe and other white settler societies, which continue to bear the labels of cultural association which they cannot escape. Again, black people get literally shot for being outside in their own neighbourhoods.

Black people getting shot in Europe for being outside their own neighbourhood ? Well, no. Simply not true.

But yes, minorities have it often harder than majorities. Everywhere in the world. Yes, that is bad.

* So, because we continue to live in a profoundly unequal world and because certain cultures continue to be stigmatised in comparison to a globally dominant form of white European/settler culture, cultural exchange cannot take place on equal terms, and invariably takes the form of the appropriation of the very symbols and labels which continue to be used to discriminate against people from subordinate cultures and ethnic groups to this day.

So unequality existing transforms cultural exchange into that cultural appropriation ?

If so, i don't see why the very same thing is suddenly bad. Also still can't see why China, the second most powerful nation in the world gets lumped into subordinate cultures

* In short, colonialism is an important chapter in history because it never actually ended. The material reality of India being a British colony ended, but the hierarchical arrangement of global cultures which justified the conquest and subordination of Indians "for their own good" as part of a civilising mission never actually ended, and continues as a racist ideology latent within "Western" culture.

Colonialism ended. And the global power distribution is far different from the time of the British empire. The UK are just some unimportant islands near Europe. India is the one Great Power in south Asia.

And yes, racist idiots exist. I still don't see the connection between racist idiots and this so called appropriation.

Satinavian:
Why should i feel responsibility or guilt about something people i have nothing to do did to other people i have nothing to do a century or more ago ?

Going to repeat evil's post (snipped a bit) for you because you clearly missed it or ignored it if you're asking this question.

You don't even have to necessarily experience "guilt" or "responsible," but you do need to recognize how you still benefit and others still suffer because of those past structures.

evilthecat:
* Despite the fact that explicit imperialism has, for the most part, ended. Racism, and the hierarchical ordering of cultures which justified the existence of European imperialism remains largely intact. We still live in a world where "Western" (European and settler) culture is seen by most people as the pinnacle of human civilisation, and where inhabitants of other cultures are both materially exploited and ideologically conceived of as inferior.

* This includes ethnic minorities in Europe and other white settler societies, which continue to bear the labels of cultural association which they cannot escape. Again, black people get literally shot for being outside in their own neighbourhoods.

* So, because we continue to live in a profoundly unequal world and because certain cultures continue to be stigmatised in comparison to a globally dominant form of white European/settler culture, cultural exchange cannot take place on equal terms, and invariably takes the form of the appropriation of the very symbols and labels which continue to be used to discriminate against people from subordinate cultures and ethnic groups to this day.

* This is a problem because we live in a society which concieves of itself as better and more equal than the past and which holds on paper that everyone is equal regardless of their ethnicity or cultural background, and yet that equality is still not accessible for people who are seen as culturally marked. For example, for many black people, having "black hair" is a source of ridicule, prejudice and negative stereotyping. For Asian women, stereotypes about traditional Asian culture, exaggerated femininity and submissiveness are something they deal with every day. A white person can put on these cultural associations for fun and then take them off, but those who are actually culturally marked by their ethnicity can never take them off. That is because we still live in a world where culture is hierarchically organised.

* In short, colonialism is an important chapter in history because it never actually ended. The material reality of India being a British colony ended, but the hierarchical arrangement of global cultures which justified the conquest and subordination of Indians "for their own good" as part of a civilising mission never actually ended, and continues as a racist ideology latent within "Western" culture.

Avnger:

Satinavian:
Why should i feel responsibility or guilt about something people i have nothing to do did to other people i have nothing to do a century or more ago ?

Going to repeat evil's post (snipped a bit) for you because you clearly missed it or ignored it if you're asking this question.

Nope, was just busy writing point by point comments.

The problem i have with evilthecats argumentation is that it is basically only complaints about colonialism and racism. Which is valid. But that the explaination on how the existence of colonial history and racist idiots somehow turn cultural exchange into something bad is missing. And that is my major problem with the whole "cultural appropriation" mess. (My minor problem is about dividing the world into western white and POC rest and postulating dominant/subordinate cultures)

You don't even have to necessarily experience "guilt" or "responsible," but you do need to recognize how you still benefit and others still suffer because of those past structures.

Oh, please go on and explain how i somehow still benefit from colonial structures at the cost of other. Please keep in mind that i live in Europe, my ancestors lived also in Europe in small landlocked countries nearly all the time colonialism was a thing and i grew up in a Soviet controlled puppet state.
Take your time. But don't start to list things that are not actually linked to colonialism. I am pretty aware that Europe benefited from having the industrial revolution start here.

Satinavian:
Kinda have a problem with this whole subordinate and dominent culture thing. That might make some sense for several subcultures in the same nation when one of them fills all the positions of power. But i don't think this can apply cross border if you don't have puppet regimes.

Uhu. So tell me, what do you think of Arabic culture? Say of the Saudi Arabian variety? What's the general consensus in the Western world about Saudi culture? How about the culture of Tchad or Botswana? (And if you, at this point, feel that you know very little about the culture of Tchad or Botswana, that's absolutely a part of the point)

Evilthecat's point can probably best be summed up with an image, an image so pervasive that it is in all countries of the earth and that everyone but the most isolated will recognize it:
image

Coca-Cola, just like many parts of American culture, is everywhere. American culture is globally hegemonic at this point, which is best exemplified by how Coca-Cola and MacDonalds is everywhere, and that just about everyone in the world has heard of Miley Cyrus and Tom Cruise.

Satinavian:
Disagree. Especially in most of Asia that is simply not true. Ask any Chinese, Japanese or Korean if they really think that their own culture is actually inferior to western ones. I would guess that nearly the only places that place "Western" culture that high see themself as western.

And yet, how much of Chinese, Japanese or Korean culture has spread to the west (and if you say Manga/Anime, that's a clear example of cultural appropriation)? How much of our culture has spread to them? Once again, Coca-Cola and MacDonalds exist in all three of those countries. How many Chinese fast food restaurants or candy brands have become ubiquitous in the west? The simple fact is that China is desperately trying to copy the Western middle class, down to wanting authentic IKEA furniture because that's big in Europe. The Chinese might like their own culture (that's generally the case), but it has nowhere near the sway that Western culture has, as made obvious by the lack of Chinese traditions in the West and China adopting Western mannerisms domestically.

Satinavian:
So unequality existing transforms cultural exchange into that cultural appropriation ?

If so, i don't see why the very same thing is suddenly bad. Also still can't see why China, the second most powerful nation in the world gets lumped into subordinate cultures

Regarding China: see above.

Regarding inequality, let's take the example of Gangsta Rap. If a white dude listens to it and adopts the mannerisms and style associated with the subculture, he's at best a bit geeky and lame. But that's also all. He can go around singing Gangsta Rap songs and at worst he'll get laughed at. A black guy who listens to Gangsta Rap doesn't have that luxury, because if he's seen in the street in the trapping of the Gangsta Rapper while listening to Nas, you can bet your ass that he'll be profiled as a hood thug. That's cultural appropriation. The white guy can listen to it without repercussion because to him it is just a little bit of fun and some good music. For the black guy it is a much bigger statement, not just within a black subculture, but in society at large, because his ethnicity makes the implications of listening to Gangsta Rap so much more than just listening to good music. With it comes all the prejudices about what it means to be black and listening to NWA.

I'm likely gonna come back and read this more later when I have time, but the whole thing sounds like a mess to me. :s

Like, on one hand, it sucks when you have traditional cuisine, but your culture isn't really respected and people think your food is weird and you can't get it made traditionally where you live....only for someone to take it, shake it up and then sell it to you americanized in a way that doesn't treat the source with any respect...

On the other hand, "american style" pizza is better than the original italian style. Seriously, have you had traditional italian pizza? It's bread with a bit of oil and like 4 big giant pepperonis on it.

Gethsemani:
Uhu. So tell me, what do you think of Arabic culture? Say of the Saudi Arabian variety? What's the general consensus in the Western world about Saudi culture? How about the culture of Tchad or Botswana? (And if you, at this point, feel that you know very little about the culture of Tchad or Botswana, that's absolutely a part of the point)

Arabic culture ? I value the tradition of poetry, don't like their lack of directness and can't really understand their system of politeness. As for Saudi Arabia, it is a corrupt disfunctional regime of nepotism based on oil money, but i don't fault Arab culture for that.

And yes, i don't know much about Tchad or Botswana in terms of culture but how is that part of the point ?

Coca-Cola, just like many parts of American culture, is everywhere. American culture is globally hegemonic at this point, which is best exemplified by how Coca-Cola and MacDonalds is everywhere, and that just about everyone in the world has heard of Miley Cyrus and Tom Cruise.

I don't actually know who Miley Cyrus is aside from some celebrity sometimes in headlines when i look for English language news.

But more important : My culture is not American. When i grew up, there was no Coca Cola or McDonalds in our little communist state and i still see those as some foreign influences. For me they are not icons of some shared western cultural thing, they are just something out of the US.

And yet, how much of Chinese, Japanese or Korean culture has spread to the west (and if you say Manga/Anime, that's a clear example of cultural appropriation)?

My first answer would have been porcelain which basically replaced all prior European materials for certain uses and is in Europe still predominantly made with designs and motives that imitate the orignal Chinese style. Second answer would be literature as at least some of the Chinese and Japanese texts are well known all over the world at least by name. Third answer would be architecture. There are quite a lot of European styles from the 18th and 19th century trying to imitate Chinese buildings with local materials. Yes, that was before the Qing got humiliated, but still. I admit there is next to nothing from Korea.

Once again, Coca-Cola and MacDonalds exist in all three of those countries. How many Chinese fast food restaurants or candy brands have become ubiquitous in the west?

Chinese fast food ? A lot. Chinese fast food chains not so much but that is because those franchise chains are also an American thing that only got slowly and reluctedly adapted elsewhere.

Regarding inequality, let's take the example of Gangsta Rap. If a white dude listens to it and adopts the mannerisms and style associated with the subculture, he's at best a bit geeky and lame. But that's also all. He can go around singing Gangsta Rap songs and at worst he'll get laughed at. A black guy who listens to Gangsta Rap doesn't have that luxury, because if he's seen in the street in the trapping of the Gangsta Rapper while listening to Nas, you can bet your ass that he'll be profiled as a hood thug. That's cultural appropriation. The white guy can listen to it without repercussion because to him it is just a little bit of fun and some good music. For the black guy it is a much bigger statement, not just within a black subculture, but in society at large, because his ethnicity makes the implications of listening to Gangsta Rap so much more than just listening to good music. With it comes all the prejudices about what it means to be black and listening to NWA.

I don't know enough about American culture to really understand any of that. Here Gangsta Rap is usually sung by white people and either in German or Turkish. And no one cares about how people across the ocean think about it.

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