Why Cultural Appropriation Is Real, And Wrong
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Why Cultural Appropriation Is Real, And Wrong

And it's not just people being angry for no reason.

771
Why Cultural Appropriation Is Real, And Wrong

Cultural appropriation is something that a lot of people have a hard time understanding. Many can only understand some instances of cultural appropriation, but not others. We as a society can't pick and choose instances where we think it is right, and times where we think it is wrong based on what we agree with. Any instance that offends the culture you are claiming to be "appreciating" is not right.

Cultural appropriation is defined as, "When a person takes something with cultural significance from another culture for their own, but doesn't respect or understand the cultural significance that something has. Instead they only claim to 'like' the culture because of what they can gain from it." It's important to understand the context behind why people get offended by this.

Cultural appropriation is not cultural appreciation.


When you're culturally appreciating a culture or an aspect of a culture, you'd go to a friend who is a different culture's wedding and wear their traditional dress.

You'll never be in their shoes.

Unless you are a part of the culture, you will never have a full understanding of it unless you're around the people who are. Society can't claim to understand why a culture is upset by appropriation if they're not willing to have a conversation with the people they are representing.

A culture should not be a mascot.

This is one of the most difficult aspects for people to understand. The most popular culture-to-mascot example is between Native Americans and sports teams. Terms like "redsk*n" have a background definition of the time when colonies, state governments and companies paid white people to kill Native Americans and used their scalps or even genitalia, as proof of their “Indian kill.” Many people are supporting the campaign #NotYourMascot to change this aspect because people from the actual culture do not approve of their culture being mascots.

It shouldn't be just for fun.


If the sole aspect to borrowing something from another culture is because, "it's just a costume" or "it's sexy," chances are you are appropriating and don't need to be wearing the cultural aspect. There are real people that have these aspects of their culture for specific reasons and not for Halloween costumes.

Why it's a problem.

It may not be intentional, but people view those who appropriate in a better light than the people whose culture they borrowed. The reason people are getting so upset with appropriation is because the people who are going around and wearing their own culture are seen as lazy or other negative stereotypes, while the people who are appropriating are seen as being cutting edge and viewed in a positive light. It's hard to not get upset when people are getting praised for your culture, while the culture it belongs to is being ridiculed.


So, the next time you're deciding to borrow an aspect of another person's culture, it's not a bad idea to ask yourself if it's the right thing to do. Have a conversation with people in the culture and see if you may or may not be going too far. It only hurts to assume, but never to ask questions.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

Leaving My Backpack In The Library

Views about society and the stranger sitting right across from me

4542
https://unsplash.com/photos/O0T1SIgHAfM

As a college student, my backpack is an extension of myself in many ways. It contains my notes, pens, and computer vital for my success in college. It contains the snacks and water bottle I need to survive long days on campus. It also contains the "in-case" items that help put my mind at rest if I forgot something from home: extra hair ties, masks, and that backup-backup snack. With so much in my backpack important to me and my life on campus, it is no wonder that I can get apprehensive about it when it is not with me or in my line of sight. And that makes me wonder.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

5 Cool Gadgets To Make Your Car Smart

Don't let this stop you from making your car smart. You can change the one you have using smart gadgets that transform your car into a smart car.

80869

Cars are no longer just a mode of transport, where you only worry about the engine and how beautiful its interior is. These days, everyone wants to make their cars smarter, those with advanced technology systems. It makes sense for several reasons. It can make your vehicle more efficient and safer when you need to drive.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Inevitable Truth of Loss

You're going to be okay.

110320

As we humans face loss and grief on a daily basis, it's challenging to see the good in all the change. Here's a better perspective on how we can deal with this inevitable feeling and why it could help us grow.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

'Venom: Let There Be Carnage' Film Review

Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson lead a tigher, more fun sequel to 2018's 'Venom'

94701
Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FmWuCgJmxo

When Sony announced that Venom would be getting a stand-alone movie, outside of the Tom Holland MCU Spider-Man films, and intended to start its own separate shared universe of films, the reactions were generally not that kind. Even if Tom Hardy was going to take on the role, why would you take Venom, so intrinsically connected to Spider-Man's comic book roots, and remove all of that for cheap action spectacle?

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

'The Addams Family 2' Film Review

The sequel to the 2019 reboot is an enjoyable, but unremarkable start to the Halloween movie season

62404
Photo Credit: MGM – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd82bSBDE84

There's a reason why the Addams Family have become icons of the American cartoon pantheon (although having one of the catchiest theme songs in television history doesn't hinder them).

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments