Cultural appropriation: manufactured outrage or actual issue?

The ethnocentrism you describe is, at least to me, dramatically less offensive than racism.

Finding cultures different from your own exotic and interesting seems far less harmful than finding cultures different from your own to be interior and bad.

I agree, but it gets tricky when the exotic and interesting is also widely treated as inferior. You can’t keep 'em separated.

If someone had artwork created by some other culture than their own, would that be offensive?

It can be, or it can not be, depending. The line between appreciation and appropriation is very slender at times. In the case of Western exoticizing of not-white Others, it’s almost always accompanied by things like colonialism and imperialism, that is, exploitation and oppression.

Yeah, a lot of “appreciation of other cultures” tends to manifest as “purchasing of replica cultural artifacts from white people”.

No, i don’t think that appreciating a culture and finding it exotic and interesting can EVER be as bad as f8nding another culture inferior and bad.

Cultural appropriation is not a thing. It’s a dumb idea.

Appropriation of a culture implies that we, as humans, somehow “own” our culture and practices. We do not. The fact that i do something does not, in ant way, mean that YOU cannot do that exact same thing. It due not mean that is you partake in dune of those activities, that you have to partake in the entirety of my cultural existence. It due not mean that those activities must carry the same weight or meaning to you. You are free to mimic any aspects of my behavior that you want to.

This is how humans have merged their cultures since the dawn of our species on this planet. Indeed, it almost certainly predates humans themselves, extending back to pre-human hominids.

Simply because something accompanies something else which is bad, does not logically imply that the first thing is bad. This is literally a well established logical fallacy.

Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook’s (two sometimes-controversial British historians) take on the matter.

TLDL: Commoner vs royal, millennial vs. older generations, racism vs. monarchy that was first in the field against racism in the 1950s and 1960s.

Like all things today, people apply identities and concepts beyond perhaps their original intent, and in simplification risk (if not achieve) inaccuracy. There’s nothing wrong with speaking out - indeed it’s important to! - when someone takes cultural products from others and profits from them and deliberately burying the originators in obscurity, and especially when this reflects existing cultural biases and problems by the majority culture of the borrowers. OTOH, there’s nothing wrong with looking up a recipe and cooking whatever food you want to cook yourself, and there’s probably (in most cases anyway) no problem with opening a restaurant and serving whatever food you want to either. The middle ground is generally the more accurate path in these matters, and guarding against appropriation is wrapped all up in socioeconomic and political power dynamics - extending that to every case of cultural blending (especially and precisely those cases where appropriation is voluntary and does not intersect with preexisting minority interests) is going too far.

Hardly. It might be in a sterile, clinical thought problem world of logic disputation, but in the real world, this is one case where correlation and causation almost always, always coincide.

If you seriously believe that most people in the West who have acquired and exhibited images and artifacts from the cultures that they have colonized and dominated over the years are just showing appreciation for difference, you are smoking something. No, that doesn’t mean you can’t have Haitian art on the wall, or African fabrics, or whatever. But we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about artifacts whose entire existence was predicated on the assumption of superiority of the person wearing it, to the person creating it. It’s not to honor them, it’s to reinforce dominance and power.

You don’t wear blackamoor jewelry to “respect” African culture. You wear it for the same reason people display Sambo dolls, to reinforce white supremacy. Period.

Neither of those things are cultural appropriation since they didn’t originate in another culture, right? Offensive, for sure. Appropriation doesn’t seem to fit unless I just don’t understand the definition.

It’s related and similar, but I don’t think it is appropriation, no.

Can’t have a nuanced discussion on cultural appropriation (or cultural appropriation vs racist depictions) if cultural appropriation as a phenomenon doesn’t exist because Timex just defeated it using his superior wit and logic.

It doesn’t matter that they displayed a clear lack of even a basic understanding of the phenomenon - a lack made obvious by how they facilely attempted to disprove it - nor does it matter that it has been a topic in academia since at least the 1980s, and one that’s been in mainstream discourse for at least a decade and has reached wide and relatively uncontroversial acceptance.

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?start=0&q=“cultural+appropriation”

It’s almost like we have near-limitless access to knowledge at our fingertips.

No, it literally is a logical fallacy. Logic works everywhere, not just in academia.

You can perhaps make an argument that it’s bad, but simply saying that it often accompanies bad things, isn’t that argument. It’s logically fallacious. You need to come up with something else.

Ok cool.

Is that the case? This is a serious question, because i wasn’t aware that was the point of this artwork.

Really? A sambo doll is presenting a negative caricature of a Black person. But the stuff we are talking about here isn’t. That seems different.

You guys are arguing the difference between denotation and connotation. Nobody is going to win that. Meanings change over time. I’m sure even the meaning of a lawn jockey has changed, which is why a lot of them got painted white at some point.

Not sure winning has ever been a thing in P&R, it’s really just about talking past each other.

I’ve come to better understandings, seeing different POV and learning new things through some of P&R, but yeah, not so much the rest, and it’s tiring.

This is an honest question, but what are your thoughts on intellectual property and copyright concepts/laws?

I was using appropriation vs. appreciation as an example of how the same thing can be seen differently. You’re correct I think that in this case it’s a bit muddier, though the image of a person from a different culture is certainly being appropriated, if not the art medium or form itself.

I’d argue (having grown up in a region where lawn jockeys were fairly common among the wealthier whites) that while we think of them as offensive today, and many whites supposedly diid not think they were offensive back then, they’ve always been offensive to people of color. And even back then, any white person with a brain understood that putting one on your lawn was sending a subtle or not so subtle message that Black people needed to stay “in their place,” that is, as servants.

They got painted white to try to avoid unwanted attention, generally by the 1970s.

I am saying something else, I am saying that the evidence, in the form of quite a number of years of academic research, shows a very clear relationship between racism and colonialism and this sort of thing., It’s not just saying this happened, and this happened, so they must be related. It’s saying that we can see how these practices reinforce cultural hegemony, are deliberate, and operate often without (I’ll give you that) the conscious awareness of everyone participating. No, grandma may not associate a piece of jewelry with oppressing the Hottentots or whatever, but the Foreign Office or whatever certainly knows that getting people to associate imperialism with “getting nice things from those fascinating natives” helps oil the machinery.l

Opinions of course will differ, and of course individual artists may do whatever, who knows? But speaking in terms of Western culture at large, I would argue, along with many others, that yes, this stuff was part of the entire full-court press of cultural hegemony, and quite deliberately so. You can of course argue that such associations are accidental, but I think that given how often and consistently the two things align, Occam’s Razor suggests the simpler explanation.

Intellectual property is a thing.

Related to this particular context, if someone stole an actual song you wrote or some other work of art, that would be a problem because that’s them actually stealing something which you own.

But you don’t “own” stuff in your culture. You didn’t do anything to make it.

Cultural appropriation is a nonsense idea that was created to criticize people. It’s inconsistently applied, whenever one of its critics wants to attack a person.

This feels kind of like arguing that there’s no such thing as colonization or mercantilism because you don’t “own” the resources in your country. You didn’t do anything to make those iron deposits, so you have no expectations of remuneration for them.

There’s no question that cultural artifacts and practices have value when traded on the free market. When people from a different culture extract that value, it’s (often, although not necessarily) an exploitative interaction. It is possible for something to be exploitative without being literal theft or slavery. As with many other things, it’s up to the reader to determine whether or not to feel bad about this exploitation.