Indian culture

Cornucopia Of Culture : The Controversy Of Cultural Appropriation

A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and the souls of its people.

Mahatma Gandhi

The manifestation of human achievements collectively taken. Truly diverse, cultures are really beautiful expressions of a group of people. And I’d agree, I really enjoy my culture, which is strongly reflected in its meaningful festivals, customs and traditions. But at the same time, I also like experiencing other cultures. Its a sensational feeling that allows one to experience an entire country’s history as portrayed through its various elements. It makes me really happy observing others engrossed in our culture. In some way, it ends all undesirable barriers and forms an infrangible bond between us.

The feeling you get when you are able to connect with people of other cultures is somehow unexplainable. It is almost as if you reside in that place, having been a part of it since your existence. Isn’t culture a beautiful aspect of our life? It is a necessity as it is a part of our identity, and what are we without that? Just mere, uninteresting life forms, destined to die one day. 

Cultures aren’t superior or inferior in any sense. We are expected to enrich them and use them as a medium to connect with others. However, it fell victim to human nature of superiority, and like many other elements, it has now become a large controversial hindrance.

What happened? Where did we fall short?

The Culture Appropriation Controversy

Culture Appropriation
An Asian woman adorning a Native American Headdress

Although this term does not have a specific definition, we can define it as ‘one culture using the elements of another culture’. In addition to that, the other culture’s members may have dominated the originating culture in the past. Often, this distorts the original meaning of the elements. Furthermore, they may degrade the cultural elements to something ‘exotic’ or ‘fashionable’. Consequently, the original members find it disrespectful to their past history and cultural traditions. Imagine someone turning down your work, for which you toiled day and night, and then stealing and crediting it as their own. That is exactly what cultural appropriation feels like.

In the burning year of 2017, this problem received a lot of attention, with multiple individuals calling out the faults of cultural appropriation.

Unfortunately, opposition of cultural appropriation is highly controversial as it causes a dead end for people to participate in other cultures. There is a thin line between appropriation and appreciation, which most of us fail to understand.

Another thing. It is more about respecting the indeginous people for their own cultural elements, than anything else. And it seems like we unnecessarily twisted it into an undesirable complication, in my opinion. Maybe, we will be able to implement the proper solution soon.

Spanish Dances
Flamenco Dance Shot

In conclusion to that, Cultural appropriation :

  • First of all, it leads to stereotyping a culture.
  • Often erases the true origin of a culture.
  • Discrimination of cultures.
  • Falsely defines understanding of cultures.
  • Degrading solidarity.

Wanyudo – Japanese Yokai Figure

Questions

  1. What is your take on cultural appropriation?
  2. What truly means cultural understanding, according to you?
  3. Lastly, Which cultural aspects do you enjoy the most?

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7 Replies to “Cornucopia Of Culture : The Controversy Of Cultural Appropriation”

  1. I totally agree with an ethnic group safeguarding the integrity of their culture. It is a good thing. But getting upset due to cultural appropriation is useless. As we evolve and look for new horizons beyond our own planet it is necessary for us to be able to coexist as one global entity. And within this entity groups should still be able to maintain their identity. But there will also be a global culture, something that is going to define us as a whole. And this will be a mix of the best things we all have to offer separately.

  2. Cultural appropriation is one of the best ways to learn more about others. Cultural understanding is another thing because it’s not just knowing dresses or style, it’s more than that. For me, I’m enjoying with Japanese culture the most.

  3. learning about other’s culture is good way to have friends. and you have to respect their culture so that they will also respect yours

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