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What's wrong with cultural appropriation?


Reblogged from whatfreshhellisthis 
What’s wrong with cultural appropriation? I mean, I know it’s bad, but I need this one kind of spelled out for me. Is it always bad? Are some cases worse than others? I want to be a good anti-racist, but I fear I’m not educated enough.

Cultural appropriation exists because of centuries of:

  • Imperialism: more specifically, cultural imperialism which is essentially one cultural dominating another. (IE: white folks and everyone we’ve ever invaded ever. Including each other.)
  • Racism: justifies the appropriation by making various cultural/racial/ethic groups marginalised, oppressed and seen as inferior by the privileged group.
  • Exoticism: justifies commodification and objectification.
  • Orientalism
  • Colonisation
  • Entitlement: thinking that oppressed people’s culture, society, and spirituality are up for grabs.
  • Oppression
  • Power
  • Capitalism
  • Unawareness of privilege: based on misunderstanding of power dynamics, entitlement, exoticism and racism

Why is cultural appropriation harmful?:

Cultural appropriation reinforces oppression because it invalidates and commodifies marginalised groups.

  • Invalidates: the culture/society/the people
  • Homogenizes: lets look at the white girls wearing warbonnets and mukluks. War bonnets are worn traditionally only by various Native plains tribes and mukluks are boots made of usually seal skin warn/made traditionally by Alaskan/Arctic natives. This haphazard and disrespectful throwing together different pieces of two completely different Native cultures which is portraying an image of homogeneity and reinforces the stereotype that there is just one Native American culture and they are all the same, which reinforces oppression and racism.
  • Commodifies: putting a monetary value on something that should not be sold or purchased or marketed in any way, eg. spiritual practices.
  • Reinforces stereotypes: which reinforce oppression and racism-a tool of colonisation.
  • Distorts traditions into inaccurate and offensive caricatures
  • Romanticises cultures: often this is something that results in entire groups of people being seen as ‘something that used to exist’ as opposed to people with lives and cultures that exist and flourish today. You get this a lot with Native American and Canadian culture.
  • Eroticises/exoticizes people: this is incredibly dehumanising.

Here is an awesome post about the line between appropriation and appreciation. (Reboggable version).

Here are some awesome people who talk about appropriation and how it is shitty- linked is all their posts tagged appropriation. Please look through their archives, and do not just message them asking the same question, they are people not encyclopaedias.




Dr. Syrup

These are just the first four who lept to mind- there are doubtless many, many more. 

(via pocproblems)


Our Bloomer Shorts (as featured by Making Magique) are on sale! Click to shop

(via littlepinkkittenlingerie)

"Obviously, we knew the time was ripe for three middle aged dudes to play some old songs about teenage feelings, and stand around tuning guitars for a long time."

— Steve Holmes of 90s emo band American Football, who are reissuing their only album and playing their first shows together in 15 years. (via pitchfork)


(via defheaven)

(via ileftwithemptiness)


tell white men they look too serious

tell them to smile

tell them if they don’t want to get made fun of they should have thought of that before they left their house

tell them girls will be girls anytime they complain about our behavior

yawn dramatically when they…

(Source: manhatingbabyeater)


we both go on pretending

(Source: indaymusic, via beachfossilsss)

(Source: odochar, via killrichpeople)