Author Topic: some thoughts on cultural appropriation  (Read 93454 times)

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Offline D4M10N

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #585 on: April 16, 2017, 10:41:41 AM »
Do tell.
Allow me to "tell" through the method of Socratic questioning.

What about stolen valor offends you?

I wouldn't say it's offensive, but it can be deceptive. If a 10-y.o. pins on some jump wings, no one is going to assume they earned them. If an adult in uniform puts them on, they are knowingly creating an impression, which is either true or false.

So would a person wearing a Native American headdress be also knowingly creating an impression that is either true or false? Especially if you can't tell their ancestry by simple appearances alone? A person of Western European descent could be creating a false impression that they are of Native American descent. Do you agree that that would be deceptive?


Under some circumstances, it may well be.

Italian-American actor Espera Oscar de Corti AKA "Iron Eyes Cody" comes to mind here, though he is a bit of an exceptional case.

By way of contrast, no one thought Christina Fallin was laying claim to significant Native ancestry, when she had that big headdress kerfuffle awhile back.

There is also an aspect of stolen valour that you have ignored - that a person may be wearing military honours that they have not earned. That disrespects those who have earned those honours, and devalues the honours themselves. That's the reason that stolen valour is offensive, which you do not appear to acknowledge.

It isn't quite clear to me how the deception devalues the honors themselves. I know what I had to do to earn my jump wings, seeing someone else wearing a pair isn't going to change that.

The real problem is that if enough people choose to be deceptive by wearing symbols of achievement which don't match their actual achievements, the symbols will start to lose their utility as such—no longer reliably conveying a message about the wearer.



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« Last Edit: April 16, 2017, 05:49:59 PM by D4M10N »

Offline 6EQUJ5

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #586 on: April 16, 2017, 01:34:26 PM »
"I refuse to talk in hypotheticals" is a never-fails hallmark of somebody with an irrational position. Hypotheticals are a wonderful way to explore any subject dealing in ethics and philosophy; refusal to answer hypotheticals means that one knows their position will be turned into swiss cheese by answering them.

Having stepped back from this thread, I really appreciate those on both "sides" who are conversing politely, it's a really interesting and important discussion.

There's a difference between refusing to talk in hypotheticals and giving up on a conversation where the hypotheticals are such extreme examples presented as though they aren't that it seriously degrades the integrity of the discussion.
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Offline Redamare

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #587 on: April 16, 2017, 02:35:02 PM »
If you take issue with the analogy a hypothetical attempts to draw, it is a simple matter to explain why the analogy breaks down, or to give a counter example. A hypothetical isn't some magic debate cheat code meant to leave the other side helpless and confused. It's just a tool of expression.

No one here is trying to trick anyone.
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Offline Drunken Idaho

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #588 on: April 16, 2017, 06:58:30 PM »
If you take issue with the analogy a hypothetical attempts to draw, it is a simple matter to explain why the analogy breaks down, or to give a counter example. A hypothetical isn't some magic debate cheat code meant to leave the other side helpless and confused. It's just a tool of expression.

No one here is trying to trick anyone.

Agreed: if you have an issue with an idea, say so.

I'm perfectly happy knowing that those with more extreme views on CA aren't going to be persuaded that any example is ethically acceptable, and those on that side should be perfectly happy knowing that some of us feel like much (if not most) CA is just a normal part of cultural interaction, and shouldn't be avoided (though discussing which specific examples should be avoided could be an interesting topic).

There's no debate to "win," here--just some different ideas that I'd love to see explored deeper. It's disappointing that a few folks seem to take exception to having their ideas probed or criticized, as if for some reason we shouldn't be picking apart each other's opinions for consistency and rationality.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #589 on: April 16, 2017, 10:18:34 PM »
It isn't quite clear to me how the deception devalues the honors themselves. I know what I had to do to earn my jump wings, seeing someone else wearing a pair isn't going to change that.

You don't see how allowing just anyone to slap a pair of jump wings on a bomber jacket devalues the work you did to achieve them? Why did you do all you did in order to get your jump wings, if you could have just bought a set at a flea market?

Would you feel the same if instead of jump wings we were talking about a Purple Heart?
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Offline D4M10N

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #590 on: April 16, 2017, 10:30:59 PM »
You *can* just buy a pair at a flew market. The sense of pride comes from knowing you earned them.

Anyone can lie about their achievements: on a résumé, at a singles bar, with a uniform, etc. No one who lies that way can feel the pride of achievement, of course.

I'm happy to condemn people for self-serving deception, pretty much of the time. But rather few of the examples of cultural appropriation given in this thread so far even begin to edge into that category.



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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #591 on: April 16, 2017, 10:35:59 PM »
You *can* just buy a pair at a flew market. The sense of pride comes from knowing you earned them.

And what about the Purple Heart? The Congressional Medal of Honour? How would you feel about someone wearing one of those that you knew they hadn't earned? Would you really just shrug?
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Offline Redamare

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #592 on: April 16, 2017, 10:43:39 PM »
I happen not to strongly care about stolen valor, either, on a personal level. That said, I can easily see that it's a bad thing which ought to be condemned.

It's poor taste for someone not of that culture to wear the headdress, which represents accomplishment and esteem that must be earned in their own context. But again, that is based on true facts about the history of the headdress and its role in native culture, to say nothing of the historical relationship between natives and Western settlers.

The gripe about hoops lacks that provenance.

I tend to think people are entitled to pretty much whatever feelings they happen to feel. But once I'm being asked to change my behavior because of those feelings, there needs to be something there. And where I might be tolerant of an individual with irrational feelings, I can't accept that as a "rule" of broad applicability to a whole demographic. Indulging an irrational person may be an act of patience, but these kinds of ideas are supposed to be vetted before they are granted scope over whole communities.

Arth, in all seriousness, why is that a controversial position?
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Offline D4M10N

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #593 on: April 16, 2017, 10:45:31 PM »



And what about the Purple Heart? The Congressional Medal of Honour? How would you feel about someone wearing one of those that you knew they hadn't earned? Would you really just shrug?

How could I even know that? I've never been wounded in battle.

Once again, you have yet to show an element of deliberate deception in *any* of the examples of CA given in the thread. That seems like a fairly crucial point of disanalogy to me.

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Offline Redamare

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #594 on: April 16, 2017, 10:56:52 PM »
I don't know that the deception needs to be deliberate to be insensitive. I'm in favor of being sensitive. I just don't think we should be pressured into "sensitivity" toward imaginary harms.
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Offline Drunken Idaho

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #595 on: April 16, 2017, 10:59:33 PM »
The deception angle does seem to clearly separate CA from stolen valor, imo.

There was that lady that isn't African-American yet presented herself as such and held a position in the NAACP...  but if she considers herself to be culturally black, who am I to say she's not?
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #596 on: April 16, 2017, 11:05:24 PM »
I happen not to strongly care about stolen valor, either, on a personal level. That said, I can easily see that it's a bad thing which ought to be condemned.

It's poor taste for someone not of that culture to wear the headdress, which represents accomplishment and esteem that must be earned in their own context. But again, that is based on true facts about the history of the headdress and its role in native culture, to say nothing of the historical relationship between natives and Western settlers.

The gripe about hoops lacks that provenance.

I tend to think people are entitled to pretty much whatever feelings they happen to feel. But once I'm being asked to change my behavior because of those feelings, there needs to be something there. And where I might be tolerant of an individual with irrational feelings, I can't accept that as a "rule" of broad applicability to a whole demographic. Indulging an irrational person may be an act of patience, but these kinds of ideas are supposed to be vetted before they are granted scope over whole communities.

Arth, in all seriousness, why is that a controversial position?
I wouldn't say it's a controversial position. It's a selfish position. You're saying that your feelings are more important than someone else's - that their feelings aren't sufficient reason to change your behaviour. And yet, they should simply deal with whatever your feelings are about a subject. Essentially, you're saying that your opinions are far more important than their feelings.

For me, in contrast, if someone says that something I did offended them, I take that as sufficient reason for me not to do that thing in the future. I don't care why they are offended, and I don't need data-supported, peer-reviewed evidence to prove that they are offended or that the thing I did is generally offensive. If I offend someone, I apologise to them and change my behaviour so that I don't do it again in the future.

You, on the other hand, when someone says they are offended, respond by shrugging and saying "Why the hell should I care? That's your problem."

And what about the Purple Heart? The Congressional Medal of Honour? How would you feel about someone wearing one of those that you knew they hadn't earned? Would you really just shrug?
How could I even know that? I've never been wounded in battle.
Huh? I didn't ask you whether you had been wounded in battle, I asked you how you responded if you found out that someone who had never been wounded in battle was wearing a Purple Heart.

Would you wear a Purple Heart? If not, why not?

Once again, you have yet to show an element of deliberate deception in *any* of the examples of CA given in the thread. That seems like a fairly crucial point of disanalogy to me.
That's because deception isn't the key concept. Cultural appropriation isn't bad because it is deceptive. It's bad because it is appropriation. It's bad because when you do it, you are saying "this is mine", even though you haven't worked for it, fought for it, or suffered for it.

And to forestall your next argument about the hoops. Yeah - ignore that one. It's stupid. Focus on the ones that actually matter, and don't let the wild, ridiculous extremes guide your view of the broad range of the subject. Just because one specific example is stupid doesn't mean that the entire concept is. If you're having trouble distinguishing between examples that are stupid and examples that are not, ask yourself this: Does it seem stupid? If yes, it probably is.
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Offline Drunken Idaho

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #597 on: April 16, 2017, 11:11:22 PM »
I wouldn't say it's a controversial position. It's a selfish position. You're saying that your feelings are more important than someone else's - that their feelings aren't sufficient reason to change your behaviour. And yet, they should simply deal with whatever your feelings are about a subject. Essentially, you're saying that your opinions are far more important than their feelings.

I disagree--I think it's that our feelings our equal. You're asking me to not wear hoop earrings... why? Is your feeling more important than mine? I think one should have to make a case in order for me to not do something I want to do and see no harm in.

A person saying "don't wear [fashion thing] because I say it's CA" is not enough for me. If it's enough for you, cool--I think you're giving too much credit to emotional reactions, but I don't fault you. I DO fault somebody for saying I'm a dick for rejecting a request for me to stop doing something I like without explaining why.

Quote
And to forestall your next argument about the hoops. Yeah - ignore that one. It's stupid. Focus on the ones that actually matter, and don't let the wild, ridiculous extremes guide your view of the broad range of the subject.

Great, now you're one of us. Welcome, friend!  ;D  It is the echo chamber's unwillingness to reject extreme examples that has led this thread to where it is.

Which examples matter the most to you, personally?
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #598 on: April 16, 2017, 11:21:39 PM »
Which examples matter the most to you, personally?

I'm a white heterosexual male aged 27-60. My culture is not being appropriated. My culture is the one that has been doing all the appropriating. This is why when someone else says that their culture is being appropriated, I tend to take their word for it. Because if I ask for proof, I look like a dick.
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Offline Redamare

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Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Reply #599 on: April 17, 2017, 01:34:23 AM »
You can't live your whole fucking life that way. It's disrespectful to yourself, and condescending to everyone else.

And why the fuck is it a "selfish position" for me, but then you come round to D4M10N, and suddenly it's "forget the hoops, that one's stupid."

Why the hell couldn't you have said that a page ago if it's so easy for you, now? It's such bullshit.  You lead me on thinking you're one step away from joining the Solidarity Front Against Hoops long until you feel like you have enough material to say I'm a cunt (with barely plausible deniability), and then you try to gaslight me with this bait and switch.

Meanwhile, I'm "seriously degrading the integrity of the conversation" with a hypothetical, if you ask some people.

This is a madhouse.
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