Cultural appropriation means to adopt another person's culture and owning it, while at the same time ignoring the cultural importance of the object being appropriated (Williams, 2015). To some, a cultural appropriation is a disrespectful act because it disregards the people where this culture comes from. This can be equated to writing a project that receives an F, and then another person makes a copy of it and is awarded an A and credited for it. The major challenge with cultural appropriation is the fact that the appropriator is credited for adopting another's culture while the owners are condemned for expressing the same culture. However, in some instances, the appropriator is usually not aware of the cultural significance the object represents probably due to ignorance.
There are arguments that appropriation can also be termed as "appreciation" of a culture. The people who appropriate a certain culture might have an initial intention of showing a common interest in that culture, other than trying to adopt it as their own. For example, when the whites grow dreadlocks like the black, they might not have the information on the value this style brings to the blacks as well as the symbolism it represents (Johnson, 2015). The whites might not receive a backlash like the blacks would, in that they are not perceived as thugs, as drug peddlers or looks like he uses weed, though he might fit in all that description. It is, however, the black man who suffers for being stereotyped because of the social problem of racism, while the white man will not suffer due to the concession of being white. This is an example of how a perpetrator tries to show appreciation for a particular culture, but the people where the culture belongs are treated dishonorably as equated to the appropriator.
Others perceive cultural appropriation as a product of oppression and white privileged. The people of color have for years been shunned because of how they express their culture. There are those believing that the white people can freely express their culture while the blacks are forced to adopt the white culture so that they can be accepted. For example, during the civil rights movement the afro held a liberal significance, but instead, the blacks were forced to tame it so that they can get a job in a white man's company. In addition, people of color were also harassed for their slang and vernacular and asked to use proper or normal English. So nowadays when the whites appropriate the black culture, it is usually considered a slap on their face because majority always made sure that the blacks felt ashamed of how they danced, talked, dressed and walked. However, when the people of color appropriate their fellow people of color culture, this is considered as diversity.
When Rachael Dolezal from the white community posed as a black woman, this was considered a mockery by the blacks (Johnson, 2015). This is because to most people walking around passing off as a black woman does not mean that that person will experience the challenges, ups, and downs, tribulations and trials faced by the black culture. At the end of the day, Rachael can straighten her hair, drop the tan and continue enjoying the privileges the whites get. It is therefore important for to have boundaries when appropriating another's culture.
It all comes down to learning how to respect other people's culture without actually appropriating it. This is until society learns to accept all traditions and cultures as equal and not see a particular culture as exotic or weird (Williams, 2015). Borrowing one's culture will only lead to exploitation regardless of the intentions to honor and respect that other person's culture.
Johnson, M. (2015). What's wrong with cultural appropriation (Doctoral dissertation, These 9 Answers Reveal Its Harm. Everyday Feminism. 14.6. 2015.
Saatavissa: http://everydayfeminism. com/2015/06/cultural-appropriation-wrong/[viitattu 31.10. 2016]).
Williams, C. (2015). media; the issues that come with cultural appropriation; and how we can possibly move forward from an issue that has been prevalent for years. Though cultural appropriation can affect many. english.missouri.edu
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