What cultures are affected today by cultural appropriation?
How are the cultures affected when someone appropriates it?
What’s the difference between cultural appropriation and culture appreciation?
What is the definition of cultural appropriation? In the article “What’s Wrong with Cultural Appropriation?” by Maisha Z. Johnson she defines cultural appropriation as Cultural appropriation is when somebody adopts aspects of a culture that’s not their own.” as a basic definition. She also says “A deeper understanding of cultural appropriation also refers to a particular power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group.”
How do people appropriate cultures today? In the same article, Maisha Z. Johnson gives an example of how people appropriate other people’s cultures today. She says “For example, standards of professionalism hold back all kinds of people who aren’t white men. As a black woman, there are many jobs that would bar me if I wore cornrows, dreadlocks, or an afro - some of the most natural ways to keep up my hair… Compare that to fashion magazines’ reception of white teenager Kylie Jenner’s “epic” cornrows or “edgy” dreadlocks”.
What cultures are affected today by cultural appropriation? Cultures I saw in my research that were affected a lot my cultural appropriation were African American cultures and Native American cultures. For example in Luiza Dreasher’s article “A Point of View: Understanding the Harmful Impact of Cultural Appropriation” she brings up how Native American culture has been appropriated in a Victorias Secret runway show by a model wearing a headdress. Breasher said, “one of the models was sent down the runway in a fringed suede bikini, turquoise jewelry, and a feathered headdress.” Obviously, Native American culture is being used by a whole companies advantage. Headdresses are only meant to be worn by people that have earned it in tribes “usually as a result of honor-worthy achievements and acts of bravery. In other words, you have to earn the right to wear such spiritual garb.” In another example, Dreasher talked about African American people and how people have been fired for wearing their hair in a certain way because it’s “unprofessional” like wearing their hair naturally or in cornrows.
How are the cultures affected when someone appropriates it? Luiza Dresher says that “It is not, as many think, a way for one culture to honor another. Needless to say, we have a lot of work to do to mitigate the harmful impact of oppression and the ways some groups still dehumanize, ostracize, and marginalize others.” I think she puts it nicely, instead of thinking that people that are cultural appropriating are honoring other’s cultures, they need to be aware that they are instead oppressing cultures that aren’t their own.
What’s the difference between cultural appropriation and culture appreciation? In the article “Cultural appropriation or appreciation?” Amerique Phillips and Alexis Baker define the differences as “Cultural appropriation can be defined as the “cherry picking” or selecting of certain aspects of a culture, and ignoring their original significance for the purpose of belittling it as a trend. Appreciation is honoring and respecting another culture and its practices, as a way to gain knowledge and understanding.” One is using anothers culture for your own benefit and the other is an act of trying to better understand a culture and while doing so, respecting it.
United States, Congress, Human Rights Council. “Report of the Human Rights Council on Its Thirteenth Session.” Report of the Human Rights Council on Its Thirteenth Session, United Nations General Assembly, 2011, pp. 1–24.
Schwartz, Oscar, and Oscar SchwartzOscar Schwartz. “The Art of Appropriation.” THE ETHICS CENTRE, 17 May 2019, ethics.org.au/the-art-of-appropriation/.
Johnson, Maisha Z. “What's Wrong with Cultural Appropriation? These 9 Answers Reveal Its Harm.” Everyday Feminism, 25 Oct. 2017, everydayfeminism.com/2015/06/cultural-appropriation-wrong/.
Dreasher, Luiza. “A Point of View: Understanding the Harmful Impact of Cultural Appropriation.” The Inclusion Solution, 4 Apr. 2019, www.theinclusionsolution.me/a-point-of-view-understanding-the-harmful-impact-of-cultural-appropriation-cultural-competence/. Baker, Alexis, and Amerique Phillips. “Cultural Appropriation or Appreciation?: @TheU.” TheU, 30 Oct. 2017, attheu.utah.edu/facultystaff/cultural-appropriation-or-appreciation/.