Comments

You must log in or register to comment.

9

Wrestitaway wrote

8

ziq wrote (edited )

I think the important thing to keep in mind when deciding if it's cultural appropriation or not is this part:

adoption of minority culture by members of the dominant culture

When e.g. black comedians adapt humor from jewish comedians, it's a lot different than a WASP doing it because both jews and black people in the West are oppressed, and their culture reflects that. White people aren't oppressed, and when they present something they've assimilated from a marginalized culture as their own, they're diminishing the other culture and whitewashing it to fit their narrow worldview.

When the dominants take ideas from marginalized voices, they're further profiting off of the oppression their dominance in society causes in the first place, while denying the originator ownership of the ideas.

4

Wrestitaway wrote

I think it's important to note the difference between cruel mockery and actual apropriatation as well. Either way, there's usually a capitalist that made it his business to appropriate a culture that's always at fault for enabling it.

8

GaldraChevaliere wrote

I think there's a big difference between dirty kids getting dreads or someone from a city with a big Vietnamese immigrant population eating pho after work, and deliberate and malicious appropriation and perversion of other cultures to serve a narrative of the overculture, like tiki parties in 60s America that profaned sacred objects and caricatured Polynesian culture and peoples to entertain rich midwestern housewives, or white hipster dudes appropriating a genericized and heavily sanitized 'native american' belief system and dubbing themselves shamans.

I made colcannon and a boiled dinner for one of my partners the other night, and we have a long standing agreement that I need to try oxtail with him. Teaching eachother how the others family cooks as a bonding experience can bring us out of our comfort zones and learn about how other folk live. The endgame is a worldwide revolution, motivated by unity between all peoples, right? It's hard to be unified if we're all scared shitless of sharing knowledge with eachother.

7

kittybecca wrote (edited )

Thanks for the nuanced perspective. I'm surprised by the lack of it in this thread, even on the side of people who are against cultural appropriation. Have people ever really read much about this from the perspective of marginalized people?

Virtually no one is saying you can't ever learn things from their culture. It's about how you do it and how much respect you have or don't have for the culture you're learning from. It's about whether you're learning from members of the culture and taking their history and traditions and beliefs into account. It's about whether you understand what the symbol you're using means, and not perverting it to serve a colonialist narrative or profiting off of it while members of the appropriated culture live in poverty. It's about whether members of the culture itself would be rewarded or punished for the behavior you've picked up from them. It's a question of "do you respect this culture or are you just trying to use them to gain social currency in your own culture?" Etc.

Exchange is something that happens between people who have some sort of relationship and respect for each other; appropriation largely pushes the appropriated culture to the side and the only way they figure in is as an exotic curiosity, a subject to discuss or imitate with your own culture.

4

Dumai wrote (edited )

I think there's a big difference between dirty kids getting dreads or someone from a city with a big Vietnamese immigrant population eating pho after work

in my opinion the manner in which white counterculture uses dreadlocks as a signifier of rebellion or anti-establishment values reproduces the image of this hairstyle as an exotic other, which i certainly consider harmful given it easily fits in with centuries of colonial racism. especially when you consider how important dreads are to black traditions such as rastafari, which really deserve not to be stereotyped or trivialised.

that said i wouldn't exactly say eating the food of other cultures is inherently appropriative, and if it is then i might be in some trouble because i practically live on curry. but it certainly can incredibly damaging depending on the situation. when quinoa became popular with white hipsters and vegans in the us the increased demand inflated its prices massively to the point many bolivians couldn't afford to eat it.

The endgame is a worldwide revolution, motivated by unity between all peoples, right?

can you qualify the term "unity between all peoples"? if you mean that we are beholden to a universal human subjectivity, consciousness, or purpose, then i'd say radical politics should stand in stark opposition to this image of "worldwide revolution". history has shown that this kind of universalism only submits the consciousness of the marginalised to that of the dominant - you only need to look at how christian evangelism functioned as a strategy of western imperialism to see this. to say nothing of neoconservatism and its plan to "spread democracy". i'd really rather we not attempt anything similar with the anarchist politics.

not that i'm accusing you of trying to do this but if you're using language like that it helps to be clear about it for these reasons, so yeah

3

GaldraChevaliere wrote

I can definitely see that side of it, though in my experiences (which should be taken with a necessary grain of salt, ethnically I'm norse-gaelic and don't have a dog in that fight), a lot of them just get the style because dreads are much easier to keep tidy than loose hair.

I agree with the case-by-case basis about food, but it's a much harder line to draw because of how heavily food factors into everyday people's lives. When I lost my home, I lived on food from the japanese and cuban markets within walking distance because it was all I could afford. The food I learned to cook while living with friends has become a serious comfort food for me because of its associations with eking out a living after losing nearly everything.

I think the line between necessity and vanity is one that has to be made for people to have a real discussion about that. To eat something because it gives you pleasure and you have positive feelings about it isn't a bad thing, but to eat something because it makes you somehow more cultured or refined than someone else is in really bad taste. I feel like that was the root of the quinoa problem or any other 'superfood'. Upscale markets and the spoiled assholes who eat at them see something new and exotic and latch onto it to feel important, hurting others in the process.

And yeah, you're right about 'unity'. I just woke up, so I probably spoke foolishly. I guess a better word for it would be solidarity or mutual respect, but I felt like saying that given what I've said about my beliefs and cultural identity would come off very much the wrong way. There's less racialist heathens than people think, but more than we'll admit, and they tend to use language revolving around preserving culture as a dogwhistle for exterminating any that gets too close to 'contaminating' their ideal one. So I'm really cautious to dip into conversations like that because of that rhetoric.

7

Cosmicsloth42 wrote

Yes, having a dynamic cultures that evolve not just on their own but with others is an important part of history and will continue to into the future. It also promotes further understanding of others ideas and outlooks.

7

Dumai wrote

i hope so, because it's in literally every culture's history. "cultural appropriation" really only describes a particular dynamic of colonial politics and white supremacy and can't be extended to every example of cultural interchange.

4

RosaReborn wrote

True, what someone might describe as "their culture" is almost always an amalgamation of cultures and influences from all over the world through all of history. Regional cultures are already regularly incorporated into one another. I think everybody appropriates "their own culture" anyways. I am me, and whether I do things like the people around me or not, I think there is something to be said about culture ALWAYS being performative.

Bottom line as long as it is done with care and respect for the culture, with a real understanding, it is ok.

3

[deleted] wrote

3

RosaReborn wrote

"at least against the backdrop of institutional and systemic racism" Certainly that's the case. There is a power dynamic as ziq pointed out above that makes these things sticky but I look to cases like ATLA where there is a clear love and homage to the source. Cultural items shouldn't be pure prop ornaments but actually have a purpose.

6

jadedctrl wrote (edited )

I think it's always OK, unless you're being an inconsiderate jerk about it.
Like, if you know vicariously that members of that culture generally consider outside adoption offensive, or if a member tells you "I think that's kind of offensive," you should stop or reconsider how you're borrowing.

5

____deleted____ wrote

I think all cultures should borrow from others; and that is exactly what all cultures do when given chance to intermingle. Food from the Netherlands commonly finds itself in the states, and food from Turkey and Greece overlap quite a bit. Simply don't claim it as your culture; as with taking open source software, you simply give credit and stop if requested to stop.

3

kittybecca wrote

There's a huge difference between intermingling (participating in a culture) vs. appropriating it. Intermingling involves members of both cultures exchanging things with one another. Appropriating is purely about taking, generally in the absence of members of the appropriated culture for unacknowledged and unexamined reasons.

5

dele_ted wrote

Yes, nobody can own a culture, it doesn't belong to anyone. Of course, it would be respectful to consider the fact that they might not want the culture of their region or people to spread outside of that region or people (and it would be completely rational if the people of that culture got offended if you borrowed key parts of their culture and called it your own), but culture is ultimately not property.

4

drh1138 wrote

Imposing intellectual property, even along racial lines, is incompatible with leftist values and goals.

3

ziq wrote

Are you ok with Led Zeppelin lifting their songs from black artists? Or are only leftists allowed to do it?

5

Fossidarity wrote

I think artists using the songs from artists of minority groups isn't a bad thing. The Led Zeppelin example you are pointing out is bad because they didn't give proper credit to the original artists and made a huge profit from the songs. The problem is not a lack of enforced intellectual property but of not exposing the original source material.

I don't think this behavior should be punished in any way or form expect possibly socially by complaining a bit about because if you don't accept it one way it also won't work the other way; with intellectual property, like with all property, it's usually the minorities who come out of the situation worse.

3

AudibleAnarchist wrote

We should probably take into account of the two different definitions of culture as described by Herbert Read. There is on one hand culture defined as the way people live. The way a people talk, cook, dress, make brooms and pots. And then there is the definition of culture as commodity where "culture" is a thing to be owned, bough, sold and consumed. When we talk about cultural appropriation we probably mean to say appropriation of "culture" as in a form of intellectual property. That is to say that the damage being done is not necessarily due to misrepresentation but due to the enclosure of culture.

Or I'm just typing out of my ass, I guess we'll never know :P

1

imnoturfriend wrote

Not sure how to approach this. Would you feel that someone using Roman aqueduct technology is relevant? Think about the Mayan calendar. Greek philosophy. Many communist ideas or socialist teachings, are repeated on this board. Where would the "free thinkers" that exist here, get here ideas, without appropriation? Feel free to downvote my troll ideas

1

buzz wrote

i dont really think the examples you listed fit into the framework of cultural appropriation we are using

2

imnoturfriend wrote

So you're ok with something that benefits you, but disagree with anything outside of your approval bracket? Like I started my post, I'm not sure how to take this. It's fine if you take Che Guevara's ideas, yet it's bad if I like Gandhi? Where is the line? Should we throw out any GOOD idea if it comes from another culture? What's the difference from appropriating algebra, to appropriating a didgeridoo? I'm only asking because I can't understand where the line is. People have accused me of being a troll here, but I'm endlessly trying to understand your perspective. Why is taking one idea BAD, but taking another idea GOOD? I can't see where the line exists, it just seems like the line is moved so often according to the speaker. IMAO ziq wrote above about Led Zeppelin. How is appropriation of music different than science? I'm honestly putting forth effort to understand, and your "you don't understand" comments aren't helpful. I know I don't understand, I've stated it from the beginning. Please make constructive criticisms to help me understand, don't just repeat my words. It's not helping me understand.

I am trying to soften my hateful nature. My experience here is an attempt to understand people who don't think like me, and possibly become more malleable to others ideas and cultures. I'm trying to be sensitive and learn where the lines are. I'm trying to dance with you, without smashing your toes. I'm honestly sorry if I mis-step, I mean you no harm. I'm only trying to learn this dance. Sometimes in learning I will step on your toes. So many people here are so disproving of my attempts to try and learn.

To clarify or reiterate, where is the line? If I like Elvis Presley is it appropriation of another culture? I'm trying to understand your framework, please help me understand. Because telling me I don't understand, isn't helpful when I lead with the idea that I don't understand.

AGAIN, I'm not messing with you. I'm only trying to learn. I wouldn't put this much effort into trolling. I know my examples are extreme, but it's because I don't understand WHERE you put the line on appropriation and I'd rather make examples to one end of the scale than try an idea that falls in the middle.

Please just help me understand where the line is. I'm not toying with you. You obviously don't understand that I am trying to learn. Would it help you to know that I'm autistic? Sometimes social ques just don't register with me. I read so much, and people tell me I'm intelligent, yet with things like this I'm so dumb, yet trying to understand. Sorry for the long post, People have hated on me here for a lack of understanding. I'm not wired like you, and I'm trying to learn.

1

imnoturfriend wrote

Fudge. Didn't meant to go full autistic on you. I'm sorry for the repetition, I just feel from my attempt to try to belong here, so many people don't understand THAT I DON'T UNDERSTAND. I am honestly trying. I wouldn't try so hard to be HERE if I didn't like you. I see so much intelligence here, I just can't see the focus sometimes. Part of it is my condition, yet I'm trying to overcome it. Repetition is something that has helped me in the past. Thanks for your patience.