Author Topic: some thoughts on cultural appropriation  (Read 90447 times)

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Offline superdave

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #525 on: April 14, 2017, 10:05:59 AM »
It's hard to come up with a specific case of injury or harm because the damage caused is nonspecific and thinly spread over an entire population.

Take my original example, Madonna and her pseudo Judaism free form of Kabbalah. 
Divorcing Judaism from the practice denies Madonna a chance to learn more about a culture and their beliefs, thereby denying a chance for her become more tolerant and appreciative of Jewish people. 

It also takes away a chance for Jewish people to be their own messengers.  You lose the most authentic sense of Kabbalah and anything that goes with it, which means important details could be lost.  This trend kind of died, but it's not hard to imagine a situation, had the trend really taken off, where Jewish people learn about Kabbalah without even realizing the roots in their own heritage.  And this means one less chance for someone to feel pride in the contributions of their culture.

So the net effect is that there is more antisemitism, or at least, a lost opportunity for less antisemitism.  But the damage is more in the form of missed opportunities, so they are hard to point out in the same way desecrating a cemetery or drawing a swastika on a synagogue might be.
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Offline Andrew Clunn

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #526 on: April 14, 2017, 10:25:40 AM »
Yes, because if there's anyone who is under represented in the media relative to their population it's the Jews  ::)  Gosh, get over your bullshit persecution complex.
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Offline superdave

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #527 on: April 14, 2017, 10:26:52 AM »
Yes, because if there's anyone who is under represented in the media relative to their population it's the Jews  ::)  Gosh, get over your bullshit persecution complex.

If I could give the Black perspective on this, I would.
I disavow anyone in the movement involved in any illegal,unethical, sexist, or racist behavior. However, I don't have the energy or time to investigate each person and case, and a lack of individual disavowals for each incident should not be construed as condoning such behavior.

Offline D4M10N

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #528 on: April 14, 2017, 10:42:55 AM »
Take my original example, Madonna and her pseudo Judaism free form of Kabbalah. Divorcing Judaism from the practice denies Madonna a chance to learn more about a culture and their beliefs, thereby denying a chance for her become more tolerant and appreciative of Jewish people.

To the extent that Kabbalah becomes part of the public discourse, though, people will be given an opportunity to learn about its origins. A similar process has happened with other westernized practices with Eastern religious roots, e.g. meditative forms of Buddhism and yogic Hinduism. Those who care to delve into historical origins will do so. Some will go much deeper than others, finding a traditional practitioner to give them advanced instruction.

Incidentally, Rabbi Boteach comes off as a bit of a slut-shamer in his takedown of Madonna.

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22Madonna+has+been+allowed+to+destroy+the+female+recording+industry%22

Then again, Abrahamic faiths aren't generally keen on liberating women.

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« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 10:46:33 AM by D4M10N »

Offline D4M10N

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #529 on: April 14, 2017, 12:37:55 PM »
Isn't there a good argument to be made that Roman (Constantinian) Christianity was basically a huge act of cultural appropriation, with imperial colonizers freely borrowing selected ideas from the oppressed people of Judaea, including those of a particular Jewish rabbi whom they martyred?

Have a Good Friday, everyone. ;)


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Offline Shibboleth

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #530 on: April 14, 2017, 12:39:13 PM »
Isn't there a good argument to be made that Roman (Constantinian) Christianity was basically a huge act of cultural appropriation, with imperial colonizers freely borrowing selected ideas from the oppressed people of Judaea, including those of a particular Jewish rabbi whom they martyred?

Have a Good Friday, everyone. ;)


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Not really. It was already in Rome at the time. I would say the Roman that did that most was Paul.
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Offline D4M10N

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #531 on: April 14, 2017, 12:43:00 PM »
How does that really change anything, though? Paul is like that one black guy that says it's okay to wear dreadlocks. MTV definitively showed that you shouldn't listen to that guy.


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Offline 6EQUJ5

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #532 on: April 14, 2017, 01:05:51 PM »
Thats all this is. Its just that in this case, its never been safe or acceptable for people who have been annoyed by open mouth chewing to speak up and say so, and so those hearing that they have been causing distress feel unreasonably attacked and want to 'prove' that the person complaining is unreasonable or are placing a burden on the complainer to 'prove' that they are reasonable.
That has a veneer of reasonability and skepticism, but its not really how such categories of social issues have ever really worked.

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Online 2397

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #533 on: April 14, 2017, 01:23:41 PM »
Isn't there a good argument to be made that Roman (Constantinian) Christianity was basically a huge act of cultural appropriation, with imperial colonizers freely borrowing selected ideas from the oppressed people of Judaea, including those of a particular Jewish rabbi whom they martyred?

Have a Good Friday, everyone. ;)


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In part. Paul sounds like he was the Joseph Smith of his time, taking established myths, adapting them for the local population and throwing in some stuff to assert his own religious significance.

But I don't think that that really matters, up against the fact that Christianity initiated a real culture war and a cultural invasion, with its monotheism. After Constantine, they did far more than appropriate, they claimed everything.

Offline Redamare

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #534 on: April 14, 2017, 01:44:37 PM »
Thats all this is. Its just that in this case, its never been safe or acceptable for people who have been annoyed by open mouth chewing to speak up and say so, and so those hearing that they have been causing distress feel unreasonably attacked and want to 'prove' that the person complaining is unreasonable or are placing a burden on the complainer to 'prove' that they are reasonable.
That has a veneer of reasonability and skepticism, but its not really how such categories of social issues have ever really worked.

This this this this this

New scenario:

So, I'm riding a bicycle around my town and a... let's say Korean person stops me to let me know that bicycles are a Korean expression of their unique cultural hardships, and that by riding one in the context of my white privilege, I am appropriating their culture and being grossly insensitive.

Now, literally none of that is true. This person is confused, for some reason, about the history of bicycles and their relationship to Koreans. Personally, what I would do is politely explain that bicycles have their own long History in my culture that has nothing to do with Koreans, and that anyway bicycles are a tool with a distinct functionality that cannot be quite duplicated by any other mode of conveyance.

What would you (either of you) do?
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Online Harry Black

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #535 on: April 14, 2017, 01:53:36 PM »
Thats all this is. Its just that in this case, its never been safe or acceptable for people who have been annoyed by open mouth chewing to speak up and say so, and so those hearing that they have been causing distress feel unreasonably attacked and want to 'prove' that the person complaining is unreasonable or are placing a burden on the complainer to 'prove' that they are reasonable.
That has a veneer of reasonability and skepticism, but its not really how such categories of social issues have ever really worked.

This this this this this

New scenario:

So, I'm riding a bicycle around my town and a... let's say Korean person stops me to let me know that bicycles are a Korean expression of their unique cultural hardships, and that by riding one in the context of my white privilege, I am appropriating their culture and being grossly insensitive.

Now, literally none of that is true. This person is confused, for some reason, about the history of bicycles and their relationship to Koreans. Personally, what I would do is politely explain that bicycles have their own long History in my culture that has nothing to do with Koreans, and that anyway bicycles are a tool with a distinct functionality that cannot be quite duplicated by any other mode of conveyance.

What would you (either of you) do?
I would shrug and cycle off because Id assume it was a prank or I was about to get mugged.
If I magically know thats not the case then I would apologise but explain that we live in a society whose infrastructure is built around roads and bikes are an integral part of that which it is not reasonable for us to do without barring massive redesign and financial investment and cost to the environment.

Which would make bikes exactly like hooped earrings I guess.
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Offline Redamare

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #536 on: April 14, 2017, 02:00:36 PM »
I'm not saying they are exactly the same, though I think there is more similarity between them than you would care to admit.

My point was to establish that a claim of CA should be A: based on accurate information and B: reasonable to accommodate.

Now we need to figure out where the line is.

As for hoops, while I admit that it is more easily accommodated than the bicycle one, I think it is just as factually confused. Do you disagree?

ETA: Also to make the point that this isn't really about showing "basic respect" to literally anyone who complains.
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #537 on: April 14, 2017, 02:05:07 PM »
This was discussed on the forum of the Swedish Skeptics Association a few years ago. Roughly everyone but one person in that thread were dismissive of the concept. Below are some examples, translated by me.

Maybe you will conclude that that the Swedish skeptics are more rational than the American skeptics who champion this concept? Maybe not?

Quote
Sounds to my ears as if opponents of cultures mixing have tried to make up a more socially acceptable formulation of their opinions. "Intelligent design" was after all invented when people got their eyes open about how stupid creationism is.

http://forum.vof.se/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=20721#p661326

Quote
It becomes a little absurd when there are those who are priviledged who try to define what "the others" should be upset about.

http://forum.vof.se/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=20721#p661464

Quote
As the early hiphoppers gladly mimiced Kraftwerk, maybe only Germans should be allowed to hiphop? Or possible black people in Bronx who like German music.

On the other hand, Kraftwerk were inspired by soul...

On the third hand much of the soul from the 60s were written by white people (especially the "genuinly black" south state soul from Stax and Muscle Shoals)...

http://forum.vof.se/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=20721#p661581

Quote
I don't think "appropriation" is a fitting word for this. It rather describes "laying claim to", so that the original creators are shut out from their creation henceforth. That one group embraces another group's culture in this way I don't see anything wrong with. You can view it as cultural spreading. The whites laid claim to the land of the Native Americans, but Beastie Boys didn't lay claim to hiphop.

It feels unfair to accuse Miley to be false in her embrace. She might just as well think that twerking is the coolest thing there is.

http://forum.vof.se/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=20721&start=15#p661584

Quote
[In case it isn't clear, this post is written sarcastically.]

The negros who have the rhythm in their blood should be allowed to have their music for themselves, while the white, priviledged middle class should listen to Wagner as the closet-fascist bung they are. To allow the cultural expressions to cross-fertilize each other in both directions? God forbid!

http://forum.vof.se/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=20721&start=15#p661676

Quote
What hits me is that very rarely there are entire peoples or cultures that are under-priviledged. If we take Muslims as an example; there is no shortage of Muslims who are very priviledged in all sorts of ways. And there are Muslims who clearly are non-priviledged.

The same applies to other peoples and religions.

Is it time to start to see offendedness as something that acutally affects real people of meat and blood, not entire peoples or entire groups of people?

http://forum.vof.se/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=20721&start=45#p661937

So people agree or disagree with these sentiments?
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Offline RGU

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #538 on: April 14, 2017, 02:05:38 PM »
Thats all this is. Its just that in this case, its never been safe or acceptable for people who have been annoyed by open mouth chewing to speak up and say so, and so those hearing that they have been causing distress feel unreasonably attacked and want to 'prove' that the person complaining is unreasonable or are placing a burden on the complainer to 'prove' that they are reasonable.
That has a veneer of reasonability and skepticism, but its not really how such categories of social issues have ever really worked.

This this this this this


New scenario:

So, I'm riding a bicycle around my town and a... let's say Korean person stops me to let me know that bicycles are a Korean expression of their unique cultural hardships, and that by riding one in the context of my white privilege, I am appropriating their culture and being grossly insensitive.

Now, literally none of that is true. This person is confused, for some reason, about the history of bicycles and their relationship to Koreans. Personally, what I would do is politely explain that bicycles have their own long History in my culture that has nothing to do with Koreans, and that anyway bicycles are a tool with a distinct functionality that cannot be quite duplicated by any other mode of conveyance.

What would you (either of you) do?

I'd laugh as I couldn't believe he was being serious.
Then, I might inform him that if he feels that way then he best stop everyone he knows in Korea from driving cars because that is an American thing. Hopefully he would see how silly he is being.

Online Harry Black

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #539 on: April 14, 2017, 02:12:40 PM »
I'm not saying they are exactly the same, though I think there is more similarity between them than you would care to admit.

My point was to establish that a claim of CA should be A: based on accurate information and B: reasonable to accommodate.

Now we need to figure out where the line is.

As for hoops, while I admit that it is more easily accommodated than the bicycle one, I think it is just as factually confused. Do you disagree?

ETA: Also to make the point that this isn't really about showing "basic respect" to literally anyone who complains.
You may note that I did not address the accuracy. Only the reasonability of accomadation.
 
So I disagree we are where you say we are with regards to finding a line. Because it actually is about showing respect. My answer in no way invalidates that.

But just in case its where this is going- I will not be answering on more glhypotheticals to help people find any lines (which would be pointless as they would be my lines only)

Quetz, I did address your post.
I do disagree mostly. Pretty much all of those points have been addressed already in this thread.

 

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