Author Topic: some thoughts on cultural appropriation  (Read 9948 times)

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Offline Redamare

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #705 on: April 19, 2017, 09:57:21 PM »
I don't think endogamy is a realistic outcome.

However, I do sometimes wonder if white people wearing "black" hairstyles could possibly work to erode some of the negative connotations. There's no reason it couldn't have both a hurtful effect on some PoC and be a progressive influence on society as a whole. I suppose wearing them specifically to cultivate a "thug" look would be doubly harmful.

These aren't easy answers.
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Online Ah.hell

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #706 on: April 20, 2017, 09:49:47 AM »
I don't think endogamy is a realistic outcome.

However, I do sometimes wonder if white people wearing "black" hairstyles could possibly work to erode some of the negative connotations. There's no reason it couldn't have both a hurtful effect on some PoC and be a progressive influence on society as a whole. I suppose wearing them specifically to cultivate a "thug" look would be doubly harmful.

These aren't easy answers.
In my opinion this is the....issue.(not really the right word)  There is a positive aspect to some culture appropriation as it can represent the minority culture's acceptance and integration into the dominant culture.   It can also just be a kind of cultural theft that just leaves the minority culture on the outside.

Offline 6EQUJ5

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #707 on: April 20, 2017, 12:41:30 PM »
You are teaching her racial purity, too. Black people do black things, white folks do white things. East Asians do their thing, western cultures do their thing. "East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet."

Is it not obvious how this enforced cultural isolationism will lead to both memetic and genetic endogamy? Is there any historical reason to believe that this new cross-cultural norm will play out otherwise?

Nope, nobody ever said you can't make babies with people of other cultures or hang out extensively with people of other cultures... just don't appropriate their cultures... participate respectfully in their cultures (a thing that requires sensitivity on a case-by-case basis) and it's all good.

Related side note: people of cultures different than yours are more likely to make babies, or at least do the thing that sometimes makes babies to your body, if you are respectful of their cultures.
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Offline D4M10N

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #708 on: April 20, 2017, 12:53:23 PM »
Probably just a weird coincidence that white supremacists advise their followers to avoid participating in non-white music and culture, eh? Why do you suppose they do that, if not to prevent people from mixing?

If we choose to adopt the cross-cultural norm that people should be cautious about adopting ideas/fashion/music from other cultures than their own, the path of least resistance will be to avoid social interactions outside your own race/ethnicity/class, lest you become tempted to act/dress/dance in a way that provokes moralistic outrage from those who police others for signs of cultural appropriation.

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Offline 6EQUJ5

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #709 on: April 20, 2017, 12:57:05 PM »
Probably just a weird coincidence coincidence that white supremacists advise their followers to avoid participating in non-white music and culture, eh? Why do you suppose they do that, if not to prevent people from mixing?

If we choose to adopt the cross-cultural norm that people should be cautious about adopting ideas/fashion/music from other cultures than their own, the path of least resistance will be to avoid social interactions outside your own race/ethnicity/class, lest you become tempted to act/dress/dance in a way that provokes moralistic outrage from those who police others for signs of cultural appropriation.

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I never said people shouldn't participate in music or culture. Music is a great thing to participate in- by all means listen to the music of other cultures and especially by all means support artists of color by buying their work. Nobody is suggesting a complete lack of participation- people are merely saying that it should be respectful and considerate participation- not entitled white folks adopting cultural practices disrespectfully.
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Offline D4M10N

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #710 on: April 20, 2017, 01:01:39 PM »
I'm not confident that we're going to find any sort of consensus on what counts as disrespectful here. If someone of half-Indian ancestry cannot wear traditional Indian clothing, it seems we are erring on the side of keeping white (passing) people in a pretty tiny cultural box.

Edit: Not to mention the total bans on hoop earrings and dreadlocks, both of which have multicultural origin stories.

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« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 01:03:50 PM by D4M10N »

Offline 6EQUJ5

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #711 on: April 20, 2017, 01:13:36 PM »
I'm not confident that we're going to find any sort of consensus on what counts as disrespectful here. If someone of half-Indian ancestry cannot wear traditional Indian clothing, it seems we are erring on the side of keeping white (passing) people in a pretty tiny cultural box.

Edit: Not to mention the total bans on hoop earrings and dreadlocks, both of which have multicultural origin stories.

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I didn't say cannot. I just said that one has to be aware of context and optics. Things can be very tough for us mixed-race folks, that topic is extremely complicated and nuanced.
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Offline D4M10N

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #712 on: April 20, 2017, 01:21:59 PM »
Things might be less tough for us if everyone adopted a less restrictive, more non-judgmental cross-cultural norm regarding modes of dress and whatnot. Instead of rushing to judge strangers based on phenotypic traits, we could politely inquire as to how someone came by their fashion sense. They might well have a fascinating backstory.

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« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 01:29:58 PM by D4M10N »

Offline 6EQUJ5

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #713 on: April 20, 2017, 03:29:19 PM »
Things might be less tough for us if everyone adopted a less restrictive, more non-judgmental cross-cultural norm regarding modes of dress and whatnot. Instead of rushing to judge strangers based on phenotypic traits, we could politely inquire as to how someone came by their fashion sense. They might well have a fascinating backstory.

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Based on what? Less tough for whom? Comments like these deny/minimize the experiences of people of color. None of this is about judging strangers- some of us are commenting on this thread to explain that cultural appropriation hurts people. If you don't care, or you think things shouldn't be that way or you think people should be hurt or you can find testimony from some individual who disagrees, you are perfectly free to. This isn't about judging, this is about not hurting people. If it's important to you, or any of the other white folks on this thread, to continue to appropriate because of the joy it brings you, and you don't care if your joy harms other people, by all means, go ahead. But it's not up to you to decide whether this does actually hurt people. The onus should not be on people of color to suck up their emotions and smile encouragingly while people appropriate their culture and pretend it's in the interest of multiculturalism- to suggest that it is reeks of white privilege and a fundamental misunderstanding of the racial power dynamics in this country.
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Offline D4M10N

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #714 on: April 20, 2017, 03:33:59 PM »


Things can be very tough for us mixed-race folks, that topic is extremely complicated and nuanced.

Things might be less tough for us if everyone adopted a less restrictive, more non-judgmental cross-cultural norm regarding modes of dress and whatnot. Instead of rushing to judge strangers based on phenotypic traits, we could politely inquire as to how someone came by their fashion sense. They might well have a fascinating backstory.

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Based on what? Less tough for whom?

Less tough for us mixed race folks


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Offline 6EQUJ5

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #715 on: April 20, 2017, 03:51:21 PM »


Things can be very tough for us mixed-race folks, that topic is extremely complicated and nuanced.

Things might be less tough for us if everyone adopted a less restrictive, more non-judgmental cross-cultural norm regarding modes of dress and whatnot. Instead of rushing to judge strangers based on phenotypic traits, we could politely inquire as to how someone came by their fashion sense. They might well have a fascinating backstory.

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Based on what? Less tough for whom?

Less tough for us mixed race folks


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As long as racial tensions are a thing, it's gonna be weird for us. The way it stops being weird is to help fix society. If there weren't such a divide between being white and not white here, being both would stop being so confusing and weird.
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Offline D4M10N

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #716 on: April 20, 2017, 04:11:36 PM »


As long as racial tensions are a thing, it's gonna be weird for us. The way it stops being weird is to help fix society. If there weren't such a divide between being white and not white here, being both would stop being so confusing and weird.

Agreed on all points. Where we disagree is on whether faulting people for learning to use specific cultural innovations (e.g. hairstyles, hoops, henna) from outside of their own cultural milieu is likely to exacerbate or mitigate the divide between being white and nonwhite.


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Offline Nosmas

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #717 on: April 21, 2017, 01:10:57 PM »

I'm saying if you want to understand how a minority group feels about a specific example, seek out the opinions of that minority group.

The theory has been more than adequately covered.

So I've been thinking about this CA discussion over the last couple of days and have actually done what has been suggested multiple times in this thread. I've asked minority friends and family what they think of CA. In all three cases it was a combination of not having really thought about it and indifference.

I asked my Indian uncle, which I mentioned previously, and he thought the idea was ridiculous. He's pro spreading his culture as long as other cultures do not lay claim to inventing things like traditionally Indian garments. That of course would be a falsifiable claim which we could all agree would be wrong. When I asked if it has ever come up in conversation with folks on his side of the family and he said never. He basically seemed incredulous to the idea. Perhaps his privilege and bias as a doctor who has been married to a white women while having a half Indian daughter blinds him?

I asked my friend and co-worker who is a black man who immigrated from Kenya 12 years ago. Again I was told he's never thought about it but did not think it's a problem unless someone was blatantly making a claim that their culture is where the fashion originates. I specially asked about corn rows and he said "Everyone should have the right to look that silly if they want to". Ok so obviously he's not a fan of that particular hair style.

I tried to bring it up with a Chinese co-worker but it ended pretty quick. He said he doesn't really see much in terms of white people trying to mimic Chinese culture and I couldn't really think of any examples. I asked what he thought of the idea of CA in general and he just shrugged and said it sounds like a non-issue. I don't think the topic interested him much.

I live in a pretty white city so that's close to the limit on visible minority friends / family I know well enough to feel comfortable just asking these questions out of nowhere. The others I would consider are all Chinese and that's a minority where I have a hard time coming up with real examples. So what happens when you seek the opinions of minorities instead of just asking your white friends and those opinions say that CA seems silly? Do you just keep asking until someone says it's very real and very offensive and just use that data point as confirmation that wearing hoops, corn rows, afros or whatever has a net harmful effect? Earlier D4M10N shared a video where a black man responded with a more hard line but similar tone to how my uncle reacted to the idea of CA. Which group within a minority wins? The group who likes the idea of others spreading their culture and those indifferent or those offended at the idea of white people wearing hair the way they've traditionally styled it? Do we need to have polls showing that 50% or greater within that group are against it and then base our decisions on that?

The more anti CA answers that I've seen so far seem to be summarized as:
1) It's super simple just don't be a dick.
2) Sometimes it's very complicated and nuanced.
3) Just consider how others will feel about it.
4) Don't dismiss what minorities are saying. Take their word for it.

The first is wide open to interpretation of what constitutes being a dick and just seems like a lame attempt to stifle discussion and establish a moral high ground. The second is probably very true and why a discussion on the topic is worth having. The third is a good idea but doesn't really address the issue of people considering the context and how others will feel but make the value judgement of going ahead with a CA decision anyway. The fourth acts as if there's one spokesperson for each group of minorities.
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Online Harry Black

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #718 on: April 21, 2017, 02:14:38 PM »
If the three people you spoke to are cool about it then thats great for them.
I know most of my friends claim to not care about it but seem to complain about things that sound an awful lot like it to me.
In any case, thankfully, due to the wonders of the internet and even print media, its not hard to hear from people in minorities who do hold that opinion, without having to rely on the one or two people you know.
Again its like mouth open chewing- If you ask five people and only one cares that you are doing it? Just make a decsion as to whether or not you care enough to close your mouth.
The solution to the issue is indeed very simple.
Its the issue itself, its origins and how it presents that is complex.

Offline Redamare

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #719 on: April 21, 2017, 02:27:06 PM »
It seems like the importance of CA as an issue is nonfalsifiable? Even the hypothetical existence of a single offended person invalidates any attempt to critically analyze the historicity of claims?

What is the advantage of considering it as a blanket issue rather than taking each alleged instance on its merits? How does the term itself provide us with a net benefit? Why is it better that people can simply say "that's cultural appropriation!" instead of seriously examining why something upsets them and articulating those reasons to someone who has caused them distress, perhaps inadvertently? Is it just impossible by doctrine that there is a misunderstanding on the part of the offended person?
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