Cultural appropriation

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RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
Despite not being Gods gift to intellectuality, that roll already being claimed by yourself of course, other people do read books. The "classic marxist" and "Zizek" takes on ideology are different; in fact, Zizek actively rejects the other.

Well, tell you what..

Using your reading, why don't you explain to me how a "classic Marxist" account of ideology can be applied to my argument about cultural appropriation without expanding it?

Another clue. Which of us is consciously defending the prevailing social arrangements of the society we live in?

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
Because even if it was valid critique - I don't think it is for reasons other people have listed a thousand times - its still hard to impossible to turn that into tangible go-to methods for societal conduct and even more so into legislation. Thus it leads nowhere. I am not of the opinion that all our problems need immediate, urgent action but we on the left can no longer allow ourselves the luxury of waxing philosophicals and dreaming up theory if its incredibly unlikely to produce an end product which will actually effect any meaningful number of lives.

Okay, so since you claim you're "on the left" now, for a second I will speak to you as I would someone whose overall intentions are well meaning.

So, again. The problem with cultural appropriation is not one of "offence" or "hurt feelings", and it's not one of the property rights of dead people. The problem of cultural appropriation is that it is one particular manifestation of the prevailing systems of structural racism and cultural supremacy which exist in the present, which do effect millions of lives.

There are 37 million black people in the USA. Due to the history of racism and segregation, black people in the USA have cultural differences to the white population of the USA, going back a very long time. This black culture has had a significant impact on the white culture of the USA, extending right back to the early 20th century when black musicians played in dance halls which ordinary black people were not allowed to enter. The problem, as this example illustrates, is that the consumption of black culture has never been accompanied with actual respect for that culture or for the people who embody it. It has never been an equitable exchange. Black people who want societal respect must constantly prove their fitness to live in a white society, they must constantly prove that they aren't "like other black people". Things that mark them as culturally "black", from accents to hair to musical taste, are scrutinised in the determination of how "well assimilated" they are, and for black people who don't meet the standard or who fail to prove that they "belong", the consequences can be deadly. I believe there's a thread on this right now.

We live in "multicultural" societies, but they are hierarchically multicultural, they are societies in which dominant culture is privileged and where those who do not ethnically belong are obliged to prove that they "deserve" to exist through the rejection or disavowal of their foreign nature or cultural origins. The assumption of cultural inferiority or foreignness is used as a tool to oppress or denigrate actual people who are ethnically associated with those cultures.

So sure, not everyone is going to agree with the "tactics" of critiquing cultural appropriation. Many will point out (correctly) that it's stupid to fixate on being angry with a girl in a Qipao while remaining silent about people wearing clothes made by starving Asian sweatshop workers. Mixed race people will (correctly) worry about the repetition of a linear equation of culture and ethnicity which forms the basis for their own oppression as people who are trapped "between" cultures, and many people (including plenty of non-white people) will argue that the best way to challenge cultural supremacy is through exposure to different cultural forms, even if this exposure initially takes place on an unequal basis, which certainly has some merit.

But you cannot blame people who have been beaten over the head with a stereotype for their entire lives from being angry when a white person adopts that stereotype for fun and "gets away with it" in a way they never could. Hence, my point at the beginning of this thread. Whether you think something is cultural appropriation or not, if you cannot listen to and take seriously when non-white people speak out about the way they have been mistreated and stereotyped, if you cannot give them your solidarity or acknowledge the existence of a perspective you lack, then do you really see them as your equals?

I'm not saying you have to always agree, but I'm also not seeing much listening.

Also, wanting "action" is all well and good, but if your "action" isn't allowed to offend or upset anyone, what action is even possible? Calling out cultural appropriation, whether you like it or not, is action. It's action from people who are frankly tired of waiting for racism to go away and have drawn an ethical line that you don't get to consume cultures at the same time those cultures are used as ideological weapons (in the "classical Marxist" sense) to make a profoundly racist society seem normal or reasonable. As for "not going anywhere", what international discussions on the nature and limits of cultural inclusion and racism have you started?


Cultural Appropriation vs. Cultural Representation. Where is the line?

bastardofmelbourne:
A neat (and timely!) article from the Atlantic on cultural appropriation, for everyone's perusal:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/05/cultural-appropriation/559802/

I wonder if anyone else read this, or if they'd prefer to just not to?

Vendor-Lazarus:

bastardofmelbourne:
A neat (and timely!) article from the Atlantic on cultural appropriation, for everyone's perusal:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/05/cultural-appropriation/559802/

I wonder if anyone else read this, or if they'd prefer to just not to?

I read it, and for the most part agree with David Frum. All cultures are mixtures of interactions with other cultures. Nothing is completely pure, only coming from a single source. I also think that the taking and expansion on or blending of various cultures is a process that enriches the world asa whole. Is everyone going to learn all about the cultures involved, no, most people do not have time for that. But some will be inspired to look at the other cultures and grow their knowledge and appreciation, and the world gains from a new synthesis.

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:

Because even if it was valid critique - I don't think it is for reasons other people have listed a thousand times - its still hard to impossible to turn that into tangible go-to methods for societal conduct and even more so into legislation. Thus it leads nowhere. I am not of the opinion that all our problems need immediate, urgent action but we on the left can no longer allow ourselves the luxury of waxing philosophicals and dreaming up theory if its incredibly unlikely to produce an end product which will actually effect any meaningful number of lives.

I'm 100% certain you can't pass legislation on people becoming more self-aware of their behaviour and beliefs. But then again, when did legislation become the backbone of referentialism? I don't think of my actions in terms of the law. I think of my actions in terms of a milieu of various aspects. Subconscious enculturation, empathy, discipline, the desire to make more intimate contact as a gregarious creature who just so happens to like other people...

What Evil is asking of people is, I assume, self-awareness.

And frankly, why exactly is that a bad trait? I mean, if I were raising children I'd like my kids to be thoughtful, self-aware, empathetic, and prosocial creatures. Putting aside the basic psychological reasons why these aspects actually assist with personal happiness and create strong networks of interpersonal strength ... it's also because it's the keys to true liberty of thought having people not only conceptualize and actively interrogate themselves in order to better understand other people, it's also the best part of our humanity (or mourning its own nature, regardless of which way you're looking at it).

I think it depends on what culture and how it is done.
Let's face it, the US of Aye has a long history of using non-WASP culture as a shortcut to gags and general douche bag levels of 'humor'.
-Black face. Yellow face. Jew as goblins. Etc.

Sometimes folks WAY overreact, like the PC Police bitching about those girls wearing Chinese(?) dresses.
But if feels like most of that comes from a genuine desire not to be a douche but they just take it too far.

Though, there are a LOT of folks out there that end up coming across as PETA in their extremist views on what 'the whites' can do.
-Like the people who raised hell because some white kid wore an Obama mask in SUPPORT of the president.

I think it depends on what culture and how it is done.
Let's face it, the US of Aye has a long history of using non-WASP culture as a shortcut to gags and general douche bag levels of 'humor'.
-Black face. Yellow face. Jew as goblins. Etc.

Sometimes folks WAY overreact, like the PC Police bitching about those girls wearing Chinese(?) dresses.
But if feels like most of that comes from a genuine desire not to be a douche but they just take it too far.

Though, there are a LOT of folks out there that end up coming across as PETA in their extremist views on what 'the whites' can do.
-Like the people who raised hell because some white kid wore an Obama mask in SUPPORT of the president.

bastardofmelbourne:
A neat (and timely!) article from the Atlantic on cultural appropriation, for everyone's perusal:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/05/cultural-appropriation/559802/

What about it? Sorry, but I don't see Enlightenment rationalism as 'tolerance' and 'acceptance'. If anything it seems to bleed an insane lack of self-awareness. Moreover it's trite, Enlightenment rationalism also birthed the Hegelian dialectic, Marxist structuralism, and all those things that he latter decries elsewhere.

Moreover, the idea of the "rise of rationalism" is inherently romantic, not on actual historical evaluation... and quite certainly false in how he presents it.

It's the reason Newton studied Christian apocrypha and spent his life fixated on occultism, mysticism and alchemy. And none of those I would consider 'Western culture' barring perhaps the first, and only in Catholic Deuterocanonical research sense that even the Roman Catholic Church says; "Yeah, this stuff is 'interest' only. Not necessary."

Also the furthest thing from being 'open' and skeptical pursuits.

I mean...

You see this parochialism most clearly when someone living in a Western cultural context seeks to valorize a non-Western practice that might seem oppressive to other Western people. It is then, precisely when they imagine they are departing from Western ways, that they must rely on the Western intellectual tradition to justify their action.

Latent prejudice much?

Moreover, the greatest critique of 'valour' or 'validation' (or any fabricated higher virtues as pertaining to an essentialism of its aspects or transcendence of form as to speak to objective truth and the ideality of things) has its roots in existentialism (or pragmatism).

And that is very much not Enlightenment rationalism.

It is anathema to Enlightenment rationalist values. Guess what else is anathema to Enlightenment rationalist values? Experimental science. You know, that thing that proved microbes existed and why boiling water is important, and how to not die from cholera. Bonus points to him for bringing up Occidentalism, as well, as if missing the point entirely.

It's almost as if current critical theorists would be careful not to do precisely what he pretends they do. Purposefully cheapening the argument to to tailor a 'critique' to a concept that escapes him, and his liable readers. And I don't buy he isn't clever enough to understand that. He went to Yale, has a J.D., and is experienced in political theory.

Of course, this is the guy that penned the 'Axis of Evil' rhetoric and other neoconservative war propaganda nonsense. So seeing the sense in a neocon reactionary pool is akin to trying to find the ocean's deep blue in a roadside puddle.

evilthecat:
Well, tell you what..

Using your reading, why don't you explain to me how a "classic Marxist" account of ideology can be applied to my argument about cultural appropriation without expanding it?

It can't, not without being extremely disengenious and using conservative mental gymnastics anyway.

evilthecat:
Another clue. Which of us is consciously defending the prevailing social arrangements of the society we live in?

Neither

evilthecat:
Okay, so since you claim you're "on the left" now, for a second I will speak to you as I would someone whose overall intentions are well meaning.

I don't just claim to be and I've always been. Nice gatekeeping though. I also enjoy the subtle implication that my overall intentions are usually evviiillll! Even most full on national socialists aren't just in it to watch the world burn.

evilthecat:
So, again. The problem with cultural appropriation is not one of "offence" or "hurt feelings", and it's not one of the property rights of dead people. The problem of cultural appropriation is that it is one particular manifestation of the prevailing systems of structural racism and cultural supremacy which exist in the present, which do effect millions of lives.

There are 37 million black people in the USA. Due to the history of racism and segregation, black people in the USA have cultural differences to the white population of the USA, going back a very long time. This black culture has had a significant impact on the white culture of the USA, extending right back to the early 20th century when black musicians played in dance halls which ordinary black people were not allowed to enter. The problem, as this example illustrates, is that the consumption of black culture has never been accompanied with actual respect for that culture or for the people who embody it. It has never been an equitable exchange. Black people who want societal respect must constantly prove their fitness to live in a white society, they must constantly prove that they aren't "like other black people". Things that mark them as culturally "black", from accents to hair to musical taste, are scrutinised in the determination of how "well assimilated" they are, and for black people who don't meet the standard or who fail to prove that they "belong", the consequences can be deadly. I believe there's a thread on this right now.

We live in "multicultural" societies, but they are hierarchically multicultural, they are societies in which dominant culture is privileged and where those who do not ethnically belong are obliged to prove that they "deserve" to exist through the rejection or disavowal of their foreign nature or cultural origins. The assumption of cultural inferiority or foreignness is used as a tool to oppress or denigrate actual people who are ethnically associated with those cultures.

So sure, not everyone is going to agree with the "tactics" of critiquing cultural appropriation. Many will point out (correctly) that it's stupid to fixate on being angry with a girl in a Qipao while remaining silent about people wearing clothes made by starving Asian sweatshop workers. Mixed race people will (correctly) worry about the repetition of a linear equation of culture and ethnicity which forms the basis for their own oppression as people who are trapped "between" cultures, and many people (including plenty of non-white people) will argue that the best way to challenge cultural supremacy is through exposure to different cultural forms, even if this exposure initially takes place on an unequal basis, which certainly has some merit.

But you cannot blame people who have been beaten over the head with a stereotype for their entire lives from being angry when a white person adopts that stereotype for fun and "gets away with it" in a way they never could. Hence, my point at the beginning of this thread. Whether you think something is cultural appropriation or not, if you cannot listen to and take seriously when non-white people speak out about the way they have been mistreated and stereotyped, if you cannot give them your solidarity or acknowledge the existence of a perspective you lack, then do you really see them as your equals?

I'm not saying you have to always agree, but I'm also not seeing much listening.

Also, wanting "action" is all well and good, but if your "action" isn't allowed to offend or upset anyone, what action is even possible? Calling out cultural appropriation, whether you like it or not, is action. It's action from people who are frankly tired of waiting for racism to go away and have drawn an ethical line that you don't get to consume cultures at the same time those cultures are used as ideological weapons (in the "classical Marxist" sense) to make a profoundly racist society seem normal or reasonable. As for "not going anywhere", what international discussions on the nature and limits of cultural inclusion and racism have you started?

Blabla, yes, its all very problematic and tragic, I know. (Disagreed of course, but previous experience has taught me that if I write more than a sentence here you'll snip one half of my text away and intentionally misread the other so I'm not going to bother.)

Anyway, I'm still not seeing any solutions. The step from theory to execution is missing, see my post in the Jordan Peterson thread.

Addendum_Forthcoming:
I'm 100% certain you can't pass legislation on people becoming more self-aware of their behaviour and beliefs. But then again, when did legislation become the backbone of referentialism? I don't think of my actions in terms of the law. I think of my actions in terms of a milieu of various aspects. Subconscious enculturation, empathy, discipline, the desire to make more intimate contact as a gregarious creature who just so happens to like other people...

What Evil is asking of people is, I assume, self-awareness.

And frankly, why exactly is that a bad trait? I mean, if I were raising children I'd like my kids to be thoughtful, self-aware, empathetic, and prosocial creatures. Putting aside the basic psychological reasons why these aspects actually assist with personal happiness and create strong networks of interpersonal strength ... it's also because it's the keys to true liberty of thought having people not only conceptualize and actively interrogate themselves in order to better understand other people, it's also the best part of our humanity (or mourning its own nature, regardless of which way you're looking at it).

Alright, I can agree with that, I'm 100% with you on the first paragraph.

What Evil is asking though is not self-awareness, its asking to follow some arbitrary line made all the more wavy by the prominence of globalism. And since he doesn't have authority over everyone else, everyone else will draw their arbitrary line at another point.

And also judging from posts in this thread made in reply to someone else, much of the supposed obligation white people specifically have to tip toe around cultural appropration comes from historical guilt which is a bullshit concept in the first place.

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:

Alright, I can agree with that, I'm 100% with you on the first paragraph.

What Evil is asking though is not self-awareness, its asking to follow some arbitrary line made all the more wavy by the prominence of globalism. And since he doesn't have authority over everyone else, everyone else will draw their arbitrary line at another point.

And also judging from posts in this thread made in reply to someone else, much of the supposed obligation white people specifically have to tip toe around cultural appropration comes from historical guilt which is a bullshit concept in the first place.

That is a gross oversimplification of what EtC said. They outlined the mechanics of cultural appropriation perfectly. And no... it's not about 'historical guilt', it's about evident racism and the inequal dynamics of power and cultural trade.

Time to cool it in this thread. Remember to be polite and respectful to other posters. Next person I catch with any form of insult (no matter how beautifully veiled) or passive aggressiveness in this thread gets a warning.

Addendum_Forthcoming:
snip

I suppose you want me to preface my approval with the statement that I disagree with David Frum on his coining of the term "axis of evil", so...I do. There.

Anyway. I thought it was neat because it focused on dissecting the historical origins of three examples of cultural appropriation, and as a former history student, I appreciate that. Fundamentally, all cultures that interact with other cultures exchange ideas, fashions and trends over time. The Indians are stereotyped as cricket lovers today, but they got cricket from Britain; the British are stereotyped as lovers of tea, which they got from India. There are certainly strong criticisms one can level against the British for their colonial actions in India, but I would hardly count the adoption of tea as one of them.

The thing is that some people identify very strongly with their culture. Their cultural identity is almost as important to them as their personal identity, and they lay claim to their culture as strongly as they would lay claim to any material object they possessed. When they see someone else adopting bits and pieces of that culture, their instinct is to react as if their identity is being violated - as if this person has physically stolen their culture from them. This possessive instinct leads to an emotional outburst, where they say "you can't have that, that's Indian/Mexican/Vietnamese/Chinese/British, it's not for you." They want to reassert control over their cultural identity, because identity is largely about asserting possession of distinctive elements about yourself to help distinguish yourself from others, which ironically becomes much more important when you're living in a foreign country where the distinction is drawn in sharp relief every day. I act more Australian around Americans than I do with other Australians; it's a reflex. Their American-ness prompts me to reassert my Australian-ness.

So they see a white girl in a cheongsam, and they snap into "YOU CAN'T WEAR THAT" mode, because to them the cheongsam represents their culture and part of their identity that this white girl does not deserve to possess. But historically speaking, this attitude - while understandable - is batshit stupid. All cultures change over time; often, what prompts that change is interaction with other cultures. Humans instinctively imitate other humans; monkey see, monkey do. The British start drinking tea; the Indians start playing cricket. Chinese women in the 1920s see a European dress, say "Good God, that's pretty," and then make their own dress that looks like it. A white girl sees a cheongsam and says "Good God, that's pretty," and decides to wear it to prom. It's natural. It's good. It's largely unavoidable. So don't fight it! Don't try to possess something you cannot ever hope to control. You'll just always be angry at your failure to control it.

bastardofmelbourne:

Addendum_Forthcoming:
snip

-snip-

I agree with you and the article for the most part. There is one thing I think you ..missed, left out, overlooked.
Your argument does not include people not from that culture who take offense, on their behalf.
I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts about them as well.

bastardofmelbourne:

I suppose you want me to preface my approval with the statement that I disagree with David Frum on his coining of the term "axis of evil", so...I do. There.

More so recognize who the guy is and what political slant he comes from. It's, like, critical theory or something.

I mean, look ... would you rather me just assume he didn't mean Enlightenment rationalism despite his neoconservative politics that would suggest an appeal to traditionalist religious argumentation as if synonymous with idealism of a 'purer' Western intellectual tradition? Or judge it in the same context as the rest of the stuff he writes?

Because it seems like a tall ask to pretend like people should ignore context and character of the person, and their history of works, when they are clearly well-educated enough to write far more accurately if that was their intention to relay a genuinely humanist ideal of cultural exchange.

Because an appeal to Occidentalist Enlightenment-era rationalism ain't a nice fucking message. Is the bar set that fucking low already that actually needs to be said?

Anyway. I thought it was neat because it focused on dissecting the historical origins of three examples of cultural appropriation, and as a former history student, I appreciate that. Fundamentally, all cultures that interact with other cultures exchange ideas, fashions and trends over time. The Indians are stereotyped as cricket lovers today, but they got cricket from Britain; the British are stereotyped as lovers of tea, which they got from India. There are certainly strong criticisms one can level against the British for their colonial actions in India, but I would hardly count the adoption of tea as one of them.

Which misses the point entirely. British sports played across the former Empire into the 20th century was all about an inequal exchange of culture. It's a form of 'acceptable resistance' that draws away from actual desires for independence. A veritable 'opiate of the masses'. In the same way Australians and New Zealanders take a perverse pleasure in stomping the 'pommie bastards' in rugby and cricket, so too do we not talk about the ridiculous amount of money we spend on sport just so we can stomp on 'pommie bastards'.

And if you go to India, or you go to New Zealand, there is almost a playful tone in rivalry between eachother (barring the sledging by actual players, though there is a monetary incentive to that) ... but the average tone when remarking the British 'opposition' is somewhat darker and the rhetoric takes on greater cultural intertextuality due a shared chapter of our consciousness we can relate to.

Which might explain as Australia goes further from Federation and the harsh treatment received during (especially) the Great War, but also the first years of North African/Arabian theatre of WW2, and the Pacific War (and especially the Fall of Malaya), and has accrued a much larger non-Anglo cultural base into its cultural mainstream, that total interest in sports we could beat the 'pommie bastards at their own game' is routinely fading.

The slow rise of football, like the A-League, is driven by non-Anglo cultural dynamics in its stead. And from the 1950s onwards, AFL quickly rose to dominance.

Also the reason why perhaps baseball will never be big here given that different relationship than to sports of the British Empire that it purposefully disseminated throughout its lands. Moreover, it ignores how the British viewed sports like cricket and rugby in history and cultural ideas of being 'English', as if an aspirational goal of one's Englishness of civilization (being one and the same thing).

Also, you can level a metric fuckton of problems at the tea trade. After all, it was very much a symbol of colonialism where people were forced to grow a product solely for a foreign market at their own regional expense. It is not only a very clear cut of inequal power and cultural exchange, but also very much a symbol of imperialism.

The thing is that some people identify very strongly with their culture. Their cultural identity is almost as important to them as their personal identity, and they lay claim to their culture as strongly as they would lay claim to any material object they possessed. When they see someone else adopting bits and pieces of that culture, their instinct is to react as if their identity is being violated - as if this person has physically stolen their culture from them. This possessive instinct leads to an emotional outburst, where they say "you can't have that, that's Indian/Mexican/Vietnamese/Chinese/British, it's not for you." They want to reassert control over their cultural identity, because identity is largely about asserting possession of distinctive elements about yourself to help distinguish yourself from others, which ironically becomes much more important when you're living in a foreign country where the distinction is drawn in sharp relief every day. I act more Australian around Americans than I do with other Australians; it's a reflex. Their American-ness prompts me to reassert my Australian-ness.

So they see a white girl in a cheongsam, and they snap into "YOU CAN'T WEAR THAT" mode, because to them the cheongsam represents their culture and part of their identity that this white girl does not deserve to possess. But historically speaking, this attitude - while understandable - is batshit stupid. All cultures change over time; often, what prompts that change is interaction with other cultures. Humans instinctively imitate other humans; monkey see, monkey do. The British start drinking tea; the Indians start playing cricket. Chinese women in the 1920s see a European dress, say "Good God, that's pretty," and then make their own dress that looks like it. A white girl sees a cheongsam and says "Good God, that's pretty," and decides to wear it to prom. It's natural. It's good. It's largely unavoidable.

But none of that precludes property rights of the dead, as EtC pointed out. To coin a term, let's call it 'cultural artefaction' ... For example, having spent a lot of time as a kid in the Philippines visiting the second half of my family there, how insulting it might be if people just assumed I knew how to cook lechon if I told people my mother is from the Philippines. That means nothing to me if I never spent time in the Philippines. If I only grew up hanging around the milieu of whatever people assume is Australian.

People don't feel defensive about their culture, they fear an inequal exchange of cultural and historical trade. I can't have as much power *if* all people who meet me depersonalize aspects of myself into fashionable commodity items. In a very Foucaultian sense, history and its ownership is power. If you dictate its discourse, you can dictate its consumption and reference through all other symbolism.

I don't fear the idea of people equating my 'culture' as if a static construct of personal history to lechon. Because I grew up predominantly in an Anglo-Australian background, I look merely like I've had a tan given my dad is Anglo through and through. So most people wouldn't assume I'm anything but Anglo that's been out in the sun a bit too long.

Right until I've actually been out in the sun too long...

I had a ruthlessly Australian 'country kid' upbringing. Including working in a horse breeder's stable when I was 11 as a weekend/afterschool job. But none of that of that was really internalized or enculturated. I can't really be defensive of my 'Australian-ness' because it's not like I've ever had to risk anything by not appearing Australian nor not being able to appear 'Australian'.

In a lot of ways it's a pretty blessed state. At least in my opinion. But the problem lay in what if I couldn't be seen as entirely Australian and my culture was depersonalized and commodified by a dominant cultural hierarchy?

I'd imagine my upbringing would be worse. In the ways I can relate is, however, the endless lectures of being 'effeminant' and being a 'fairy'and teasing over that, but that's a separate issue though has some correlation in terms of how the discourse of gender and the dynamics of power that are transposed by the powerful who can commodify, and those with reduced power that always feel their right to their discourse of self under threat.

So they see a white girl in a cheongsam, and they snap into "YOU CAN'T WEAR THAT" mode, because to them the cheongsam represents their culture and part of their identity that this white girl does not deserve to possess. But historically speaking, this attitude - while understandable - is batshit stupid. All cultures change over time; often, what prompts that change is interaction with other cultures. Humans instinctively imitate other humans; monkey see, monkey do. The British start drinking tea; the Indians start playing cricket. Chinese women in the 1920s see a European dress, say "Good God, that's pretty," and then make their own dress that looks like it. A white girl sees a cheongsam and says "Good God, that's pretty," and decides to wear it to prom. It's natural. It's good. It's largely unavoidable. So don't fight it! Don't try to possess something you cannot ever hope to control. You'll just always be angry at your failure to control it.

If it's understandable, it's not stupid. EtC has done a pretty wonderful job in describing power dynamics and better than I'll ever do so, but I will say that I have observed a casual racism towards people like my mother that Anglocentric Australians spout off forgetting that, hey, I'm related to one directly. The thing is that if people spend their entire lives facing the same shades of their disempowerment to cultural commodification and unequal discourse of it, people are going to get defensive about it.

While I agree, and perhaps even celebrate the idea of transmutational aspects ofthings like fashion being able to remove cultural hierarchies altogether in a hypothetical state of total, yet equal, consumerism ... at the same time, people should take onboard discourse like this and couch it in terms of how they view people. The best possible future in my eyes is being40 something and still being comfortable walking around in a MLP t-shirt and denim shorts.

People should own their self-expression (including owning the ugliness of their rhetoric and recognizing that ugliness through self-awareness) ...

No one is legitimately saying the aesthetics of cultural appropriation can't happen, or even shouldn't ... but then again cultural appropriation is socially critiqued in terms of the inequal exchange of power and consumption. And that is blatantly obvious in the same way racism is still a thing in Australia.

No one is telling people specifically how they dress, in truth they're asking people to keep in mind the power dynamics involved. And everyone could use a dose of self-awareness ... even if they're not personally guilty of perpetuating an inequal cultural exchange, people are asking to recognize that it happens. In the same way an 7 year old doing blackface for MLK Day isn't knowingly participating in an inequal display of commodification of cultural exchange given the U.S. sordid history of minstrelsy ... at the same time, if every adult was self-aware of those power dynamics and history and truly made peace with that, it wouldn't be a problem.

You know what I find is a really fucking stupid example of cultural appropriation?

Remember that 'advertisement scandal' of the KFC ad of one Australian offering KFC to the Windies supporters that was shown in preparation for the upcoming cricket game between Australia v. West Indies and Americans blasted it for racism?

Do you remember how fucking stupid that was?

Australia had no background of slavery in the West Indies, KFC Australia was a partner of Cricket Australia and was self-promoting both, we didn't have all that cultural baggage... It was an ad of an Australian native offering their own bucket of fried chicken to West Indies sports tourists and supporters in Australia.

Now it's kind ofobvious why Americans took exception, but it's a pretty good example of what I called 'cultural artefaction'. Because the ad was made by Australians, who lived in Australia, for Australian audiences to promote the event and 'friendliness through sport', who should have known better but only in terms of the understanding of an American cultural psyche ... but it does represent an angle of commodification of culture.

In discussions like this there is often no winners, but the dialogue of power and commodification of culture is still important to address. And that concept of the importance of recognizing cultural appropriation is a thing that happens, even if seemingly obtrusive, does not make itstupid on its own. Because it is something that happens, and it is very easily an observable mechanic of aspectsof legitimate racism.

bastardofmelbourne:
The Indians are stereotyped as cricket lovers today, but they got cricket from Britain; the British are stereotyped as lovers of tea, which they got from India.

Actually, ironically, the tea India is now famous for was brought by the British. India had its own native teas, but the great plantations in places like Assam were grown with seeds the British imported from China.

Agema:

bastardofmelbourne:
The Indians are stereotyped as cricket lovers today, but they got cricket from Britain; the British are stereotyped as lovers of tea, which they got from India.

Actually, ironically, the tea India is now famous for was brought by the British. India had its own native teas, but the great plantations in places like Assam were grown with seeds the British imported from China.

And China uses trains that were developed by the British.

Everyone copies everyone else for such varied reasons that attempting any sort of committee to gatekeep what is acceptable and what is not is just absurd.

bastardofmelbourne:
The Indians are stereotyped as cricket lovers today, but they got cricket from Britain; the British are stereotyped as lovers of tea, which they got from India.

Yes, but clearly the difference here is, one is cultural appropriation, and the other is the result of colonialism therefore acceptable, and really we ought to be apologising to the Indians for introducing them to cricket...

Abomination:

Everyone copies everyone else for such varied reasons that attempting any sort of committee to gatekeep what is acceptable and what is not is just absurd.

Given this thread is 5 pages in with plenty of nuance, interesting and important consideration of why it is not necessarily quite that simple to think about, I'd rather not just act like none of the preceding 150+ comments had been made.

What seems to me is that some people will pretty much never be on the worse end of cultural appropriation, and that unsurprisingly the overlap between them and the people who don't believe in cultural appropriation is very high indeed.

Catnip1024:

bastardofmelbourne:
The Indians are stereotyped as cricket lovers today, but they got cricket from Britain; the British are stereotyped as lovers of tea, which they got from India.

Yes, but clearly the difference here is, one is cultural appropriation, and the other is the result of colonialism therefore acceptable, and really we ought to be apologising to the Indians for introducing them to cricket...

That last bit is very true, no-one should be subjected to cricket. Can we get it listed as a cruel and unusual punishment at some point?

Agema:

Abomination:

Everyone copies everyone else for such varied reasons that attempting any sort of committee to gatekeep what is acceptable and what is not is just absurd.

Given this thread is 5 pages in with plenty of nuance, interesting and important consideration of why it is not necessarily quite that simple to think about, I'd rather not just act like none of the preceding 150+ comments had been made.

What seems to me is that some people will pretty much never be on the worse end of cultural appropriation, and that unsurprisingly the overlap between them and the people who don't believe in cultural appropriation is very high indeed.

People will never be on the "worse end" of it because it doesn't directly harm anyone.

If someone dresses up in a damn native american headdress to a prom or something it doesn't damn well matter.

Any time it does matter it isn't a matter of cultural appropriation, it's a matter of genuine theft of a physical object.

Five pages or not, it's an absurd topic that deserves all the ridicule it gets.

Culture isn't sacred, it's not "rich", it's just diverse. It's as open to scrutiny as any other aspect of society. Getting upset or offended at others doing things that do not directly impact others in a practical way is just lunacy.

Gethsemani:

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.

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)?

So...it's a bad thing when American icons go global...but also a bad thing when Japanese icons go global...?

Why don't you admit you just want ethnic/cultural blockades? Be honest with your racism.

RikuoAmero:

So...it's a bad thing when American icons go global...but also a bad thing when Japanese icons go global...?

Why don't you admit you just want ethnic/cultural blockades? Be honest with your racism.

First off, calling someone a racist is still an infraction worthy offense on this forum, just something to keep in mind for future posting.

Second, you obviously didn't get my point, nor cared enough to continue reading my further replies on this topic that elaborated that point. So please, go do your homework if you want to have a discussion and not just fling personal attacks on other users.

Reasonable Atheist:
I think I can boil this down pretty far.

The cultural appropriation side thinks that white people are enjoying aspects of cultures that are not their own, while the people whose culture that originally belongs to have a harder time enjoying those same things, resulting in a Feeling that something has been taken away from them.

The anti cultural appropriation side thinks, they understand this concept but it is stupid and doesn't matter, and your feelings are worth nothing. They ask about it to make sure there is nothing of actual substance they are overlooking.

The cultural appropriation side then explains, and the anti side says "yeah....So?

I'm pretty sure it all stems from something I have noticed over the years, a general perception people seem to have that if something good or enjoyable is happening for one person, but not another person, somehow the second person is harmed by the lack of goodness.

For instance if I ask my boss for a raise, and get it, I cannot tell anyone because they will see it as a slight against them that they did not also receive a raise. Despite the fact that nothing bad has actually happened for them, only something nice for me.

Is this resonating for anyone?

The general perception you have is called the Zero Sum Game, which boils down to where if Person A gets something, this necessarily requires Person B to lose out.

Ryotknife:

erttheking:

Ryotknife:

except it happens to all cultures, and everyone joins in the revelry (not just whites)

Yeah, it's just that in an age of globalization "everyone does it" falls flat as an argument because it doesn't have nearly the same impact when less influential cultures do it.

which does not refute anything i said.

Which cultures are influential? which ones are not?

Is german culture influential? French? English? Irish? Scottish? All of those have been "watered down" for easy consumption.

About the only white culture i can think of that is not watered down is Amish, and they are hardly influential. The only reason theirs has not is because they are recluses and have formed separate societies.

While there are shallow takes on white culture, a lot of white countries have enough influence and impact to where more legitimate forms of their culture can reach other countries. Not so much with non-white ones, outside of very niche groups.

okay, this clears things up a bit. Its okay for it to happen so long as an "original" copy exists so to speak. With globalism though, nothing exists in a vacuum, as such it is unreasonable to assume any culture will remain unchanged over time.

Us Irish have watered down our OWN culture, to the point I, an Irish man living in Ireland all his life, actively refuse to partake in them.
Peeps here probably don't know but there is a literal LEPRECHAUN museum in Dublin.

Seanchaidh:
Cultural appropriation
or
What capitalism does to culture

I see an item related to some culture. I take it, copy it, change it (or not), market it to a larger audience and keep the profit for myself because in capitalism we reward the last person in the chain of production by far the most (or in this case, exclusively). The objects produced by the art and creativity of your culture? They are now, shorn of their context, recognizable as cheap replica mass-market consumer goods for people feeling like they want a touch of "the exotic". And I, humble imitator of your culture, get all the profit.

Okay, so you have an issue with the imitator taking the profit. Okay, let's run through this shall we?

Let's say I'm a person living in a civilisation on a small island somewhere. I live there all my life. So do my people. We tend to stay there (not all of us, but generally speaking, we tend not to go anywhere). We have a cultural icon, that is tied to my people. We tend to only make it for ourselves, we don't make more copies than we generally need for ourselves.

Then one day, you come along, and see my people and the icon. You go back home to wherever it is you came from, copy the icon and mass produce it and sell it to your own people.

Why do I or my people deserve to have your profits? What did we do to earn them? Shouldn't you get to keep the profits? Did my people produce the icons you sold? Did we take on any of the risk (financially speaking)?

Gethsemani:

RikuoAmero:

So...it's a bad thing when American icons go global...but also a bad thing when Japanese icons go global...?

Why don't you admit you just want ethnic/cultural blockades? Be honest with your racism.

First off, calling someone a racist is still an infraction worthy offense on this forum, just something to keep in mind for future posting.

Second, you obviously didn't get my point, nor cared enough to continue reading my further replies on this topic that elaborated that point. So please, go do your homework if you want to have a discussion and not just fling personal attacks on other users.

Duly noted, thank you.
As for getting your point...no I think I got it. Boiled down, you think its bad when cultures go global.

RikuoAmero:

As for getting your point...no I think I got it. Boiled down, you think its bad when cultures go global.

Since you seemed to have missed the part when I explicitly refuted that part, I'll re-post it here for clarity:

As a fan of the current hegemonic culture (American), I can't say I feel bad about adopting things like barbecues, cola floats or American fast food culture (as unhealthy as it is, hamburgers are still damn nice). Without that prevailing American cultural hegemony I would not have discovered the glory of the banjo, nor had a very easy time getting an actual American-made one when I started playing it. As I said, it is not necessarily bad, but those of us who live in the dominant cultures, those that impose on other cultures in an uneven cultural exchange, need to be mindful of that.

Abomination:
People will never be on the "worse end" of it because it doesn't directly harm anyone.

[citation needed]

If someone dresses up in a damn native american headdress to a prom or something it doesn't damn well matter.

Why not? Because you think so? When did you get to speak for everyone on the planet?

For the most part, you're partially right in one sense. People busy screaming about cultural appropriation often barely understand it, never mind their political opponents. So wild and uninformed accusations go out, counter-attacks go back, and we end in a bizarre situation where everyone's furiously arguing over what they're unaware is a straw man.

Any time it does matter it isn't a matter of cultural appropriation, it's a matter of genuine theft of a physical object.

If you think the only things that can be stolen are material goods, have you ever heard of intellectual property?

Culture isn't sacred, it's not "rich", it's just diverse. It's as open to scrutiny as any other aspect of society. Getting upset or offended at others doing things that do not directly impact others in a practical way is just lunacy.

But culture does matter. It matters to both to individual people and to societies as a whole. Traditions, ways of lives, customs etc. are important to people and form a sense of social identity. When people are busy fuming at immigrants, much of it is discomfort and anger at perceived threat to their culture.

The objection to cultural appropriation is not that cultures borrow from each other or that some Austrian girl thinks a Malaysian dress looks nice. It's that it can be a tool of power for the strong to dominate or attack the weak. And that's why a lot of cultures (such as Native Americans) don't like the way people of European descent use their cultural imagery. To you it's fun, I'm sure. To them it's another nail in the coffin of their social identity. But you're not the one losing anything, so it's much easier for you to not care.

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