Author Topic: some thoughts on cultural appropriation  (Read 12818 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline John Albert

  • Off to a Start
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #855 on: May 16, 2017, 02:29:34 AM »
In my view, "appropriation" is just a dysphemism for the manner in which human culture naturally propagates from one population to another. When two different populations of humans interact, they tend to exchange memes with each other. The aggregate of those memes is what we call "culture," and its exchange is a vital part of the human experience.

This can be seen all the way back to antiquity in the styles and design of functional forms; for example the types of patterns found carved and/or painted onto pottery. When two cultures meet and peacefully exchange, the pottery designs of one culture will gradually start to appear in the pottery of the other, and vice versa. The end result is a greater diversity of styles for both populations. But usually when a culture conquers another, the pottery designs tend to change suddenly and drastically as the dominant population imposes its preferred styles onto the products of the conquered people.

Cultural mixing is usually a good thing because it fosters a syncretism between the two cultures, promoting understanding, sharing of values, and cooperation. But on the other hand, when a culture imposes itself upon a subjugated people, it tends to marginalize or even obliterate the culture of the oppressed population.

But that's how things worked in the ancient world. Modern, post-industrial capitalism has put an entirely new spin on the cultural exchange between populations. Capitalism fosters such a diversity of material goods that the cultural features of smaller populations tend to become diluted and dissolved into the greater economy. In that scenario, the preservation of cultural traditions becomes a strong imperative for minority populations to hold onto their cultural identity. Authentic, traditional culture becomes a rare and precious thing not only to those minority populations, but also to the dominant culture seeking some aspect of traditional authenticity to call its own. And that's how we get into the kind of conflicts that the humanities students call "cultural appropriation." 

Is cultural appropriation necessarily bad? Not always, but it can lead to some really unpleasant side-effects.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 02:39:44 AM by John Albert »

Offline arthwollipot

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4865
  • Observer of Phenomena
Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #856 on: May 16, 2017, 07:03:50 AM »
COMMENT: Don't invest in Chanel, invest in our culture

Relevant excerpt:

Quote
Fake art is a massive problem in the world of Indigenous art, and boomerangs are the tip of the iceberg.

Our artists spend hours and hours telling stories more than 50,000 years old through a variety of mediums, including painting, song, dance, creating weapons and instruments.

They are telling the stories of our people and their personal experiences. They do this not just to express themselves, but to share our culture with the world.

By buying any of those ‘fast art’ souvenirs, be it from Paddy's Markets or a $19-billion-dollar company, you are buying something completely worthless. The label may say 'boomerang' and it bears the same iconic curve, but it comes with no story, no experience and quite frankly, is a slap in the face to all the Indigenous artists actively sharing Aboriginal culture. 

You're also sending your hard earned money overseas and supporting a booming 'knock off' industry.

By investing in real artifacts, artworks and tools, you’re supporting more than the artist, but the whole community and even the economy.

Online 2397

  • Seasoned Contributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 821
Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #857 on: May 16, 2017, 07:18:10 AM »
Reminds of Steve talking about someone wanting $2000 for a handmade shirt/sweater. I think most people just want the product, and not the method or the history. Unless there's pseudoscience involved, which includes things like organic food myths.

But if you want to support specific people, then you should make sure to inform yourself about how to do that and where your money goes.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 07:20:21 AM by 2397 »

Offline D4M10N

  • Keeps Priorities Straight
  • ***
  • Posts: 350
some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #858 on: May 16, 2017, 10:12:43 AM »
In my view, "appropriation" is just a dysphemism for the manner in which human culture naturally propagates from one population to another. When two different populations of humans interact, they tend to exchange memes with each other. The aggregate of those memes is what we call "culture," and its exchange is a vital part of the human experience.

*SNIP*

Is cultural appropriation necessarily bad? Not always, but it can lead to some really unpleasant side-effects.

What you may be missing here is that cultural appropriation is a morally valenced term of art in these circles. It is considered bad by definition.

For example...

I would say that cultural appropriation always, by definition, has negative consequences.  Cultural exchange does not.  And both may be present at the same time.

We are left wondering which particular acts should be considered harmful appropriation and which should be thought of as helpful exchange. I'm generally in favor of drilling down to specifics, though there has been some resistance to this approach.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 10:17:12 AM by D4M10N »

Offline John Albert

  • Off to a Start
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #859 on: May 16, 2017, 11:07:56 AM »
In my view, "appropriation" is just a dysphemism for the manner in which human culture naturally propagates from one population to another. When two different populations of humans interact, they tend to exchange memes with each other. The aggregate of those memes is what we call "culture," and its exchange is a vital part of the human experience.

*SNIP*

Is cultural appropriation necessarily bad? Not always, but it can lead to some really unpleasant side-effects.

What you may be missing here is that cultural appropriation is a morally valenced term of art in these circles. It is considered bad by definition.

For example...

I would say that cultural appropriation always, by definition, has negative consequences.  Cultural exchange does not.  And both may be present at the same time.

We are left wondering which particular acts should be considered harmful appropriation and which should be thought of as helpful exchange. I'm generally in favor of drilling down to specifics, though there has been some resistance to this approach.

I'm not missing it. My point is that it's not clear-cut and always open to interpretation to some degree. Some political activists tend to ignore that distinction, regarding all forms of cultural adoption or reference as "problematic" cases of appropriation. This is frequently taken to the point where any artists perceived by activist critics to be of "white" European heritage are decisively maligned for utilizing any recognizable form of another culture's iconography, stylistic hallmarks or themes. It seems to me that these cases are often a matter of missing the nuance of the work, but instead just recognizing an opportunity to advance an argument about their preferred social theory.

I think there are some cases where it's clearly a bad thing, like the Adam Sandler movies where some minority cultures are crudely mocked merely for being not homogeneously white. Or the appropriation of Native American tropes for sports team logos, or the college ethnic themed frat parties, or the slew of ethnic Halloween costumes. I think most of us can agree that those cases are at least sitting sitting right on the borderline of offending a lot of people for no good reason than calling out a minority group for having their own cultural identity.

But where do you draw the line? Even setting aside the racial component, to what degree are we allowed to mock minority religions? If it's wrong to wear a Native American headdress or a Sikh turban, is it also bad for a Gentile to dress up as a Jewish rabbi, or a non Catholic person to dress like a priest or nun? Or are all cross-cultural personifications offensive?
« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 11:28:59 AM by John Albert »

Offline Drunken Idaho

  • Natural Blonde
  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 9323
  • Comrade Questions
Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #860 on: May 16, 2017, 12:05:08 PM »
John, I know it's a long-ass thread, so I can't just say, "go read what's been discussed earlier," but at the very least, be aware that pretty much all of these ideas have been discussed already, and you may or may not find people fatigued by the discussion.
Strange women lying in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government.

Offline D4M10N

  • Keeps Priorities Straight
  • ***
  • Posts: 350
some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #861 on: May 16, 2017, 02:14:47 PM »
Sometimes I have to wonder whether "cultural appropriation" as a concept serves primarily to make right woke white folk feel shame about their mode of self-expression: https://www.google.com/search?q=%22properly+ashamed+of+that+time+I+had+dreadlocks%22


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro


Offline D4M10N

  • Keeps Priorities Straight
  • ***
  • Posts: 350
Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #863 on: May 16, 2017, 02:35:46 PM »
It's almost as if you're making an argument.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N920A using Tapatalk


Offline SkeptiQueer

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 5046
  • DEEZ NUTZ
Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #864 on: May 16, 2017, 02:44:22 PM »
Nope, not at all.
HIISSSSSSSS

Offline D4M10N

  • Keeps Priorities Straight
  • ***
  • Posts: 350

Offline Drunken Idaho

  • Natural Blonde
  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 9323
  • Comrade Questions
Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #866 on: May 18, 2017, 02:52:54 PM »
https://twitter.com/TheAffinityMag/status/864260424614785025

To be fair, that blog post is nothing like its headline: it's mostly a criticism of a white person using the "n word."
Strange women lying in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government.

Offline D4M10N

  • Keeps Priorities Straight
  • ***
  • Posts: 350
Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #867 on: May 19, 2017, 11:51:59 AM »
Because that is an example of cultural appropriation?

Didn't white people invent that slur, qua slur?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

 

personate-rain