Cornucopia Of Culture : The Controversy Of Cultural Appropriation

Indian culture
Indian Wedding Culture includes decorating the hands with mehendi

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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"With dark raven paper and twinkling white ink, I wrote my heart in the night's sky."

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