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To not fully understand "cultural appropriation"

(296 Posts)
hettyGreek Tue 05-Apr-16 13:15:30

It seems like its a US phrase that is slowly getting adopted in the UK.

For the most part I just don't get it. If something is racist just call it racist.

I don't have any issue with someone white having dreadlocks for instance. These have been worn by many people of different cultures across the earth. Or am I missing something? If anything its funny if one culture try to take ownership of something that has a very mixed origin.

MattDillonsPants Tue 05-Apr-16 13:19:03

The dredlocks thing is a grey area if you ask me...but if American Indians say they don't like non American Indians wearing traditional headdresses then that's that...nobody should wear them.

hettyGreek Tue 05-Apr-16 13:26:13

Is it really that simple though? All native Americans don't speak as one.

I remember No doubt pulled a video after it was called racist, even though they did receive help from the native American study department of a uni and apparently consulted their native American friends. It would of had of gone through lots of people signing it off, before it was released finished only to find out it was racist.

WetLettuce123 Tue 05-Apr-16 13:37:34

How can one person or race have complete control over certain fashions, styles and clothing - even if it comes from cultural origins we just don't live in a world where that is possible to police and regulate. As long as it's not done in a mocking way (which I assume is a very rare occurrence) I can't see how a white person having dreadlocks or braided hair has anything to do with anyone other than the person themselves.

5Foot5 Tue 05-Apr-16 13:41:00

I agree WetLettuce. In fact in some cases I think it can be a healthy sign that a culture has become integrated with another culture if certain styles are being adopted by both.

Ifailed Tue 05-Apr-16 13:43:07

but if American Indians say they don't like non American Indians wearing traditional headdresses then that's that...nobody should wear them

I see, so other people should determine what you can and cannot wear?

Andrewofgg Tue 05-Apr-16 13:43:28

Is it cultural appropriation for a man of African or Japanese or Chinese origin to wear a suit and shirt and tie?

Bollocks, all of it. Just a way of getting at people.

WorraLiberty Tue 05-Apr-16 13:44:58

People should be free to wear whatever they want, as long as it's not done to mock others.

Saying, "You cant wear that. It belongs to us", is only ever going to cause resentment.

curren Tue 05-Apr-16 13:48:30

The main issue I have come across is that when non black people wear dreds is that it's seen as OK, but black people are negatively judged for wearing them. In the US, is where I have had this mentioned. And on a thread on here. I can see why that would piss off the black community. I have never witnessed this. It's only what I have been told.

But cultural appropriation is a very grey area. There are very few things, that can be 'owned' by one culture. Especially when it comes to hairstyles or dress styles.

Dds friend was accused of cultural appropriation, by another pupil, for wearing Dutch braids at school. The other pupil said they were cornrows (which are completely different). The school made it absolutely clear it wasn't. But it's put other girls off braiding their hair just in case something gets said or they offend someone.

Dd wears boxer braids (essentially ditch braids and different to box braids) for sport, as many girls at her club does. But she wouldn't wear it for school.

I can't see how that's a good thing.

plimsolls Tue 05-Apr-16 13:49:22

I think it's do with a certain style, artefact, (etc) being used in a faddy or disrespectful way. So, the trend for music festival goers wearing Native American style headdresses was felt by native Americans to be disrespectful to their culture. Similarly, there's a well known "trendy" shop that has sold things such as duvet covers emblazoned with pictures of Ganesh.

So, it's not when cultural representations have been genuinely integrated into one society, more when they are adopted as a novelty (to then be discarded).

I think it just comes down to a sense of disrespect.

bigkidsdidit Tue 05-Apr-16 13:50:27

One college in the US banned sushi in their canteen as cultural appropriation. It's all bonkers.

plimsolls Tue 05-Apr-16 13:50:41

So, no, it is not the same thing as an Asian man wearing a suit and tie confused

plimsolls Tue 05-Apr-16 13:53:41

Some institutions/people taking cultural appropriation too far (such as banning sushi or complaining about braids) does not mean the whole concept should be ignored!

As a parallel- the extreme example
of a woman who insists its her right for men to stand up and offer her a chair does not mean the whole concept of feminism should go in the bin.

FunnyUsername Tue 05-Apr-16 13:54:47

I don't think the dreads argument was a good example. Cultural appropriation is when a dominant race, adopt or exploit the culture of a minority race and make it their own, without respecting the history of that culture or how it came to be.

A example could be in music, where there is now an influx of white soul singers and hip hop artists. Who are often more famous than their black counterparts.

Hairstyles - recently Kim Kardashian wore cornrows, and was credited alongside a number of other white celebrities for bringing this hairstyle into the mainstream, when it has for centuries been a well used and practical hairstyle for those with Afro hair.

Another example could possibly be the hipster invasion of inner city areas of London where there is a high minority population, who are now being pushed out. I do think it's a 'real' phenomenon. But the UK has more racial integration than the US, so it's not considered as much of an issue here.

slebmum1 Tue 05-Apr-16 13:57:28

You know what, I'm with urban dictionary on this one:

'The ridiculous notion that being of a different culture or race (especially white) means that you are not allowed to adopt things from other cultures. This does nothing but support segregation and hinder progress in the world. All it serves to do is to promote segregation and racism'

Andrewofgg Tue 05-Apr-16 13:59:00

Well, there we go again. Black classical musicians?

As for hipsters invading an area: the demographics of parts of cities have changed ever since there were cities. It's not new and it's not wrong.

NightWanderer Tue 05-Apr-16 14:00:42

I know a white guy who went to a Japanese tattoo artist and got a full on yakuza style tattoo. I think that is more the sort of thing,

I think the problem comes when people don't really understand the culture. So, burning incense because you like the smell could be considered offensive by those for whom incense has an important meaning involved in rituals for the dead.

I might be talking bollocks though.

OTheHugeManatee Tue 05-Apr-16 14:01:02

Cultural appropriation is a weird slightly racist idea that says you should only dress, act and speak in certain specified ways that have been deemed by someone (no-one ever says who) to be appropriate for your race and/or culture.

curren Tue 05-Apr-16 14:01:16

Hairstyles - recently Kim Kardashian wore cornrows, and was credited alongside a number of other white celebrities for bringing this hairstyle into the mainstream, when it has for centuries been a well used and practical hairstyle for those with Afro hair.

can you link this.

On the last CA thread, this was brought up and the photos linked were not corn rows. They were boxer/Dutch braids, which are different and (I think) plaited differently.

Which is where CA gets a bit silly. You can have one braid or two, but more than two braids are corn rows so you can't do that without being accused of CA. Besides which as I said some people think 2 braids are also CA.

hettyGreek Tue 05-Apr-16 14:06:31

Why do you need to understand the culture to wear a certain hair style / item of clothing?

Can't you just wear it if you like it? As a PP has said, I avoid braids out of worry.

hettyGreek Tue 05-Apr-16 14:07:51

On the last CA thread

Sorry could you link to this? I had a search and couldn't find any

FunnyUsername Tue 05-Apr-16 14:08:51

Here is a link:

Well I guess the point is, if Kim Kardashian was a black woman, she wouldn't be credited with wearing a style that thousands of black women wear on a daily basis. The styles pictured in this article are considered to be 'cornrows', or what is often called cainrows in the UK. They can be big or small. 2 or 100 rows. Kim is immersed in African American culture, as are her siblings so I doubt she herself would refer to them as Dutch braids.

bigkidsdidit Tue 05-Apr-16 14:09:07

Curren I think she means Kylie


bigkidsdidit Tue 05-Apr-16 14:09:31

Oh maybe she didn't grin

FunnyUsername Tue 05-Apr-16 14:11:13

You don't have to understand the culture. But if you're white, you are a member of the dominant race, so I guess having any understanding of another race's deep rooted culture and history may be difficult to get your head around.

The issue mainly is, that the subject is exploited and brought into the mainstream by those who are white, while the originators are largely ignored without credit.

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