There was a case in the US a few months ago of a Caucasian guy with dreadlocks who was abused and assaulted by an African American women bc she felt his dreadlocks were cultural appropriation - where a dominant culture 'steals' cultural characteristics/fashion/language/art. He argued that in fact dread locks were worn by many cultures, including Anglo ones like the Vikings. He also felt that modern day dreadlocks were actually a Rastafarian characteristic not African.
Around the same time I read about a small business that made baby wraps who copped criticism for using material which had Sugar Skulls on it. Given these are a concept from Mexican (Mayan?) culture many considered it cultural appropriation and wanted the business to donate all money to this culture for stealing the design.
What's your thoughts on cultural appropriation? Valid, ridiculous or somewhere in between depending on context of use?
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12-06-2016 11:28 #1
12-06-2016 11:52 #2
Ooh I'd been wanting to start a discussion on this for ages, it comes up heaps in the babywearing world but discussion tends to devolve into argument which gets shut down by admins.
I've seen some people suggest that natural birth and babywearing themselves are CA which I think is silly, but performing specific rituals or using specific designs could be. I've owned a bunch of wraps with Japanese and Chinese designs that would technically be CA, I thought they were just beautiful designs. I wouldn't care if a Japanese or Chinese person wore things with Celtic designs on (which would be my heritage), but Irish/Scottish people haven't really been oppressed and conquered by Asians in a similar way so it's not really a fair comparison.
There's still so much subtle institutionalised racism in our society (as well as the overt racism too of course!) which people often want to deny, and therefore deny that CA is a problem. I'm guilty of this too as part of me wants to say that it's not a big deal, but it's easy for me to say that when I'm not part of the minority culture being appropriated.
Obviously a lot worse when people are making money from it without acknowledging the source too.
12-06-2016 12:00 #3
I own some wraps that have CA.
12-06-2016 12:18 #4
Definitely context of use.
I come across this ALL the time where Non-Maori get Maori tattoos (ta moko). We believe that only Maori can have ta moko BUT, Non-Maori can have what we call kirituhi. Many (if not most) Maori are still offended by others having kirituhi but personally I don't care as long as the process is respected and the wearer knows what their piece means, wears it with pride and didn't just download an image from the internet. I know I'm a minority but I love seeing others embrace the language and culture of ethnic groups other than their own.
I also don't see a problem with people dressing up as Native Americans, or in Day of the dead atire etc. for fancy dress parties as long as they are respectful.
Eta-some large international companies have used Maori haka in their advertising. I don't agree with that because it's exploitation.
Last edited by Ngaiz; 12-06-2016 at 12:24.
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12-06-2016 12:22 #5
I think the examples in the OP are ridiculous, particularly the dreadlocks. There probably are examples though where CA is not appropriate, more likely when the style/design is not used respectively.
12-06-2016 12:32 #6
I don't feel like I can have a truly valid opinion as I'm a non-exotic whitey who doesn't have a true culture.
I sometimes see reactions as overboard (the dreadlocks views), then other times I actually get a little miffed myself on behalf of other cultures (the urban turban is one example of this).
I do think with the rise of social media there are a lot more offended folks these days though. Seems there are people just waiting for an excuse to be outraged, and when they view something that could be mildly viewed as CA, they run with it really hard and take it well over the top.
I think this kind of rage should be reserved for blatant CA, not flaming a young white woman online for sporting corn rows (for example).
12-06-2016 12:37 #7
Regarding the dreads specifically, many African people have natural dreads...as in...it's not a hairstyle they created by knotting the hell out of their hair...it's just how it grows. And generally speaking, black people have been taught their hair is ugly...hence why many straighten, perm, etc. But then non-black folk decided dreads were cool and went through the effort of creating them for their own hair even though for most non-black people dreadlocks aren't really appropiate for the type of hair, causing mould growth and inability to efficiently wash it.
So vikings and other non-black cultures may have been doing dreads for yonks, but the point is that dreads on many black people is how their hair grows from their scalp. And they have been taught its unattractive. But suddenly white hippie chick does it its kewl.
12-06-2016 12:41 #8
12-06-2016 12:48 #9
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12-06-2016 12:50 #10
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