Are we borrowing traditions?
Why is cultural appropriation a thing now? That’s the question everybody is making these days, and people are paying attention to this situation for all sorts of reasons. It all began a few years ago, but now more than ever it’s becoming a raising issue that we can’t ignore.
So we know that cultural appropriation is the adoption of certain elements from one culture to another. No problem there, most people would say.
Why not? We live in a global village where the awareness of different cultures and traditions should be a reason to celebrate. It just shows that people are evolving and open to embrace and appreciate others upbringings.
Cultural appropriation starts when cultural elements of a minority are used by members of a cultural majority. When we use religious symbols, language, cuisine, traditional medicine, music, clothes and speech among others components of a minority without knowing their traditions, history and experiences we are stripping them from their intellectual rights.
We often forget that Native, Asian and African cultures are the remains of the colonialism from western society, and that we should respect the traditions that where taken away from them by people who call them uncivilised.
In the other hand i’m without question in favour of cultural exchange, and that happens when individuals of different cultures share information about their traditions and customs with people that are legit interested. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to learn and even taking part in a serious way in others people communities, it just as to be done with mutual agreement.
So when we see people dressing up with bindis, headdresses and cornrows, and I’m not just talking about Halloween but on a day-to-day basis, we forget that they are reinforcing stereotypes. But all is forgiven because it’s trending and fashionable. Let’s remember exchange is good appropriation is bad!
However, we have to admit that this issue isn’t at all that black and white, and that this isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. While we still have celebrities, singers and movie stars using those cultural components in tv and social media everywhere, using those mechanisms for self-profit they will continue to influence youngsters worldwide and because of that we are going to have to deal with all sorts of opinions of people that don’t have the full knowledge of how and why their being impertinent.
For me it’s a matter of trying to see the good in the bad and vice-versa, but the trued is that the debate of cultural appropriation is here to stay.