What’s the Difference Between Cultural Exchange and Cultural Appropriation?

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  1. “When someone’s behavior is labeled culturally appropriative, it’s usually not about that specific person being horrible and evil.”

    That *should* be the case, but all too often it’s not – and that becomes immediately apparent when you try to discuss it. In most cases when I, as an American of mixed European ancestry, try to have an open, honest and logical discussion about cultural appropriation, the other person *immediately* resorts to name-calling, insults and “la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you” behaviors. The message is clear: their *perception* of what’s happening is the only thing that matters, and if I disagree on a particular point (like whether it’s okay for white Americans to use native plants rather than the European versions our ancestors used for whatever purpose), then I’m just a clueless, privileged imperialist.

  2. “Because honestly, no one cares about your guilt, no one cares about your hurt feelings, and no one cares about your clothes or hair when they’re pointing out cultural appropriation.”

    The problem with this kind of comment, and the article, and attitudes directed at cultural appropriation (not to mention the catch-all criticism of white people moving into “others’” neighborhoods as gentrification) is that it demands consideration on the part of the “privileged” individual, and no-one else. If no one cares about how I perceive things then why should I care about how they perceive things. It also treats white people as a monolithic cultural entity. It’s very possible someone who is perceived as being a privileged white person grew up poor and disenfranchised. But evidently that person has to deem themselves privileged in order to realize they have to watch what fashion trends they follow.

  3. The problem is is that people just ASSUME we are being disrespectful and see the thing we are appropriating as being “exotic” or a “fad” and not just a part of or lives that we’ve come to adopt because we learnt it from someone we were inspired to emulate within our multicultural society.

    Take dreadlocks for example, cry-appropriators will always accuse white people of wearing dreadlocks because we see it as a “fad” when they have no fucking idea why we wear dreadlocks.

    The fact is I use ideas from “other cultures” because I see them as a perfectly viable part of life and an unavoidable result of growing up in a multicultural society. This is also why find insistence that I have to be “invited to their culture” daft; multiculture is the culture I grew up in, I didn’t consent to it, I didn’t invite “their” culture into my life, it became a part of mine whether I like it or not.


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