Author Topic: some thoughts on cultural appropriation  (Read 80023 times)

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Offline John Albert

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #1935 on: April 24, 2019, 04:50:17 PM »
Insults: In the first and third quotes I used knowledge of your prior arguments and statements to interpret your statements because without those assumptions the actual words imply some heinous attitudes. I specifically noted that I do not think you are denying oppression and that I do not think you are a white supremacist. I was explicit about this to avoid unstated premises

That being said, I want to state in clear terms that I for one do not believe that you're really guilty of multiple homicides.

You know it's possible to insinuate heinous things about a person without actually leveling a direct accusation. Let's not be disingenuous. I never cast any aspersions on your character, so there's no justification to use those tactics against me. We may have a disagreement, but it's not necessary to be so uncivil about it.


Circular Oppression: I didn't get the impression that Haudice claimed oppression is a necessary precondition for cultural appropriation.

He did say this just a couple of posts back:

         
Like I said numerous times, cultural appropriation occurs when a less dominant culture is incorporated into the dominant one following some kind of oppression.


Capitalism: I think you have taken this single statement out of its context and then misinterpreted it. What haudice actually said was:

You left out a relevant detail. Are Mexicans being oppressed? Are Thai people being oppressed? Is the "Swedification" encouraging labor exploitation in Mexico or Thailand? What is the impact to Mexican or Thai people as a consequence of selling these foods in North America or Europe?

If yes to all these questions and / or there is a negative impact, then the answer is cultural appropriation.

Otherwise, this is just capitalism and it's fair game.

He was describing "capitalism working as intended," as you put it. If no one is being harmed by an element of one culture being commodified by people in another culture? No cultural appropriation.

So then harm is a precondition (as haudace said in that last quote) or is it a consequence? And he still hasn't presented evidence of any harm arising from the appropriation itself.


Examples of Harm Associated with Cultural Appropriation: Sorry about that. I didn't realize that this thread has been underway for two years, and I certainly don't know all of what's been said. It is entirely possible that I am thinking about another thread where subjects like race riots, segregation, and theft of culture were talked about.

Yeah, nobody's presented any clear evidence of a culture being ruined by merely being exposed to a wider population.


The one that comes to mind this moment is the way that white culture in the US has stolen the work of black artists. Hell, the whole musical "Hairspray" is based on this idea. That story represents what was happening to black artists in the 1960s, and shows the harm done to them through the theft of the culture they were creating.

The harm was in the record labels coercing black artists into unfair recording contracts (by comparison with the kinds of deals that white artists were receiving) and actively promoting the white artists via radio play while ignoring the black artists. Later on in the 1960s, the recording companies hired white composers to pen songs for the black musicians and singers to perform, so that the companies could also retain the publishing rights to the music, thereby edging out black composers as well. So you see that the harm that arose from the "theft" of the work of black musicians was their economic exploitation at the hands of greedy capitalists, not the mere fact that white people started playing music in a similar style.

Again, it's not the 'cultural appropriation' that hurt the black artists. The harm arose from the fact that they were segregated from the national music market, weren't fairly compensated for their work, and were systematically denied access to the profitable side of the business.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2019, 05:00:58 PM by John Albert »

Offline brilligtove

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #1936 on: April 24, 2019, 04:53:06 PM »
And I'm out.
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Offline John Albert

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #1937 on: April 24, 2019, 05:09:47 PM »
You never answered my question whether American poutine is cultural appropriation.

Offline haudace

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #1938 on: April 24, 2019, 06:37:50 PM »
And I'm out.

Almost like that whole spiel about Mongols never even existed or typed in this thread.

It's fine, I am out too. Agree to disagree I guess.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #1939 on: April 25, 2019, 02:58:48 PM »
No. Cultural appropriation can also be born out of persecution of people that weren't necessarily mass executed. Like I said numerous times, cultural appropriation occurs when a less dominant culture is incorporated into the dominant one following some kind of oppression.

I was merely providing you an example of negative cultural sharing.

But it wasn't cultural sharing at all, it was a military conquest.

Right. And it can also be described as a genocidal expansion of the Mongol empire. Part of the conquest is how many states were forced to give away their most elites scholars, their politicians, their military strategists prior to being brutally subjugated and / or wiped out. That's what makes it negative as in bad / horrifying.

The reason why cultural appropriation and military conquest are not synonymous is due to the fact that military conquest could also go a different route resulting in the complete destruction of a culture without any trace. Appropriation implies a practice of a less dominant culture somehow survived under different "copyright owners" for lack of better terms.

But did the Mongols really establish their cultural dominance over the lands they conquered? Again, the opposite seems to have been the case. The Mongols who ruled China became assimilated by the Chinese. Their language was never spread to the lands they conquered.

Would you consider Timur Lenk to be part of the Mongol conquest (never mind he was actually Turkic), or his own thing?

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This is what happened when the Romans conquered Greece, and much of the Hellenistic world. The Romans were culturally profoundly influenced by the Greek culture, and it really became a Greco-Roman Empire, culturally. This was especially true in the eastern parts, where Latin never replaced Greek as the major language.

I 100% disagree. Even though Rome & Greece went through periods of rife with each other and Rome ending up conquering the region, this pales in comparison to what Mongols accomplished in Eurasia. The only other conflicts that may come close to the level of brutality and utter destruction are potentially World Wars.

In any case, the Hellenistic Greece declined and Roman empire took over through war. Some cultural elements of Ancient Greece may have been fused and others were lost, Rome simply acquired what they found valuable. Essentially, some cultural appropriation may have taken place. Additionally, Rome actively tried to preserve some of the Greek culture as well since it was a source of admiration / fascination for Romans.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greece_in_the_Roman_era
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_period#Rise_of_Rome
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman%E2%80%93Greek_wars

I'm not sure what exactly you disagree on. That the Romans conquered Greece and much else of the Hellenistic world are indisputable facts. It is also indisputable that the Romans, especially the aristocrats, became Hellenized to a large extent. But apparently stating that fact makes me equal to a Holocaust denier.

No, of course the Roman conquest of Greece was not as brutal as the Mongol conquests. But conquest it was, and as I stated, the conquerors became deeply affected by what they conquered.

"Captive Greece took captive her savage conquerer and brought the arts to rustic Latium" - Horace

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For a specific question: Pretty much every grocery store here has a section for foreign food, or food from around the world, or whatever they happen to call it in the specific stores. The two cuisines typically featured are Mexican and Asian-but-Thai-dominated (for lack of a better term). Do you think it is morally wrong for them to sell these foods (which I assume are pretty Swedified when they are sold here) as they are not owned by Mexicans or Thai people? At least this is my impression of the cultural appropriation view. Is it correct?

You left out a relevant detail. Are Mexicans being oppressed? Are Thai people being oppressed? Is the "Swedification" encouraging labor exploitation in Mexico or Thailand? What is the impact to Mexican or Thai people as a consequence of selling these foods in North America or Europe?

If yes to all these questions and / or there is a negative impact, then the answer is cultural appropriation.

Otherwise, this is just capitalism and it's fair game.

How would Mexicans or Thai people be oppressed if food made with inspiration from those countries are sold in Sweden? What would be the causal chain? Your question doesn't make sense.

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And the Chinese, Iranians, etc, weren't exterminated by the Mongols. And to a large degree the Mongols were culturally assimilated by the peoples they conquered and ended up ruling. The Yuan dynasty was both a khanate as well as dynasty that ruled China, considering itself a successor in the mold of previous Chinese dynasties.

This is akin to holocaust denial. The Mongol invasions were one of the most deadliest and most destructive campaigns in Eurasia. Many cities, societies, countries etc were leveled and wiped out off the face of the planet. The death toll is estimated to be over 100 million. It could be more by factoring in the black plague that hit Eurasia and killed a huge chunk of the population.

I think you might want to look up the word "exterminate" in a dictionary.

So you are hung up on on the definition of "exterminate" because it doesn't accurately describe the death toll of millions directly or indirectly at the hands Mongols? All this because some nations survived those genocidal campaigns????

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destruction_under_the_Mongol_Empire
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongol_Empire#Legacy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongol_invasions_and_conquests

I did not say that the Mongol conquests were not genocidal in scale. But they did not exterminate, the Chinese, the Persians, etc. These people are still around today, if you haven't noticed.
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Offline John Albert

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #1940 on: April 26, 2019, 04:22:43 PM »
I guess we're just awful people for saying that making tacos doesn't harm anyone.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #1941 on: April 28, 2019, 03:13:26 PM »
As this discussion seems to have come to a halt for the moment, I'll again refer to the blogpost that really summarizes this for me: Some Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation

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The point I’m stuck on is this: If culture can be appropriated, who is it appropriated from? In other words, what defines who the “rightful” owners of a cultural practice are? Is it based on race, nationality, country of birth, or something else entirely?

For instance, if I were an ethnically white person adopted by Japanese parents and raised in Japan, would it be cultural appropriation for me to wear kimonos or collect Japanese art? Conversely, what if I were ethnically Japanese but born and raised in America with no particular connection to Japan? Would I be exempted from charges of cultural appropriation, just based on the DNA I happened to be born with?

My point is that there isn’t and couldn’t be a definitive answer to these questions. There’s no high arbiter of culture to rule on what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Some people may be happy to see their cultural innovations appreciated and adopted by outsiders; others may be staunchly opposed; still others may be indifferent. None of these opinions are more right or more wrong than the others, and if it seems wrong to mock or fetishize another culture, it seems equally wrong to grant a heckler’s veto to anyone in the world who wants to stake a claim on the matter.

It’s always a good idea to approach cultures not your own with respect and sensitivity. But an overly rigid insistence on sharp lines of demarcation strikes me as suspect. It perpetuates the essentialist fallacy that cultures are distinct and homogeneous groups of people who are all like each other and unlike everyone else. Such balkanization has no basis in reality: there’s no unique essence that all Japanese people, all Indian people, or all American people have in common. Every culture is enormously diverse; every culture blends with and bleeds into others at the edges.

Ultimately, all human culture is a remix. Starting from childhood, we learn by imitating others around us. Civilizations intermingle and cross-pollinate, absorbing ideas from each other, regardless of whether they meet through trade, migration or war. We borrow and adapt words, food, fashion, art, music, religion. Almost everything we do “comes from” somewhere else, and I’d be willing to bet that’s true of every human cultural practice or invention, going back to the knowledge of how to knap flint into spear points. Cultures only seem distinct and static on the short timescale of individual lives; over many generations, they diffuse into each other until it’s impossible to answer the question of who came up with what.

If someone is able to seriously and ably reply to these objections, I would really reconsider my view on this subject matter.
"I appear as a skeptic, who believes that doubt is the great engine, the great fuel, of all inquiry, all discovery, and all innovation" - Christopher Hitchens

Offline John Albert

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #1942 on: April 28, 2019, 08:38:52 PM »
Personally, I just gave up on 'cultural appropriation' as a concept.

I'm inclined to agree. Cultural exchange has been happening throughout the course of human history. But are there any historical cases where one culture merely adopting the practices of another has actually ruined the original culture? Wherever harm has resulted, a little insight reveals it to have been caused by some circumstances extraneous to the culture exchange itself.

Maybe there has been some historical case where the victimization of some oppressed group has been so catastrophic that they've opted for cultural suicide, abandoning their traditional practices rather than sharing them with their oppressors. I don't know if that's ever happened, but I'd be more than willing to change my opinion in the light of some evidence.

I think we can all agree that it's offensive to ridicule, lampoon or mock a minority culture. Likewise, it's also obnoxious to draw caricatures of minority cultures or use makeup to alter one's skin color to resemble a different race. Beyond that, whether any given activity amounts to cultural appropriation seems to be entirely personal and should be treated on a case-by-case basis.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2019, 01:05:05 AM by John Albert »

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #1943 on: April 29, 2019, 02:01:12 PM »
I think we can all agree that it's offensive to ridicule, lampoon or mock a minority culture. Likewise, it's also obnoxious to draw caricatures of minority cultures or use makeup to alter one's skin color to resemble a different race. Beyond that, whether any given activity amounts to cultural appropriation seems to be entirely personal and should be treated on a case-by-case basis.

I agree. But I don't see how not restricting myself to what haudace or brilligtove deem to be properly culture is harming anyone.

To refer to the example in the blogpost I referred to, if I am fascinated by all things Japanese, then sure I should be allowed to collect Japanese art, media, learn the Japanese language, try to cook Japanese food, etc. It doesn't harm anyone, and I would actually think that a Japanese person would feel it as a compliment.

I have a dear friend who loves everything British, particularly English. He has no connection to the UK in the form of family or anything. I know that he wants to live there one day. He does collect certain things related to the UK, speaks English with the most British accent (for a Swede anyways), etc. I don't think anyone here would come close to think this is inappropriate, even though he has no more connection to the UK anymore than I have.

I don't consider blackface or naming a sports team after an ethnic slur to have anything to do with cultural exchange and cultural influences. It is something completely different.
"I appear as a skeptic, who believes that doubt is the great engine, the great fuel, of all inquiry, all discovery, and all innovation" - Christopher Hitchens

Online CarbShark

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #1944 on: May 10, 2019, 08:00:21 PM »
Posted with no comment (other than this comment saying I'm posting with no comment)

and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

I'm not a doctor, I'm just someone who has done a ton of research into diet and nutrition.

Offline John Albert

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #1945 on: May 10, 2019, 08:05:42 PM »
Posted with no comment (other than this comment saying I'm posting with no comment)

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OMG it's worse than Tootsie.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2019, 03:28:18 AM by John Albert »

Offline stands2reason

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #1946 on: May 10, 2019, 10:18:11 PM »
Posted with no comment (other than this comment saying I'm posting with no comment)




 

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