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Cultural Appropriation

maquiscat

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What exactly is cultural appropriation? How does it differ from cultural absorption? Is there any culture that has not engaged in either of the two? Does the culture itself get to deny something as cultural appropriation?

These questions have come up many times, and I don't recall if I have ever seen them directly answered. They could have of course, and I just missed the threads.

One of the things that came up in a recent conversation with my husband and one of our wives was that Chinese food in the US is not the food that is eaten in China. There is a TED talk out there (I'll add it if anyone is really interested) where a woman talks about this. Among other points she brought up the dish Chop Suey. IIRC, it more or less translates into "this and that". She noted that going to China and asking for chop suey would be like a Chinese coming here and saying, "I heard that you had this really great dish I want to try called Leftovers." It was also noted that chinese food in other countries, such a Spain, is different than not only China, but also in the US. So here is the trick question. Given that these dishes actually originate in either the US or Spain, respectively, if a Chinese person were to open a restaurant in China serving those styles of food, would that be cultural appropriation of US or Spanish culture? Conversely, are any Chinese who are in the US guilty of cultural appropriation when they open these restaurants that are not authentic Chinese dishes?

With regards to the last question, we have seen examples of where a person has been accused of cultural appropriation only to have people of the supposedly appropriated culture come out and deny the appropriation.
Here is an example, albeit a bit indirectly:
k2xt2wo0zrf21.png


There there was this controversy:
28NEjOINFDMnxgf0RGANetvr2URH9bCkgwO50vWXGPw.jpg
043.png


And then there is the Moana controversy where a Brigham Young Professor, whose name I can't recall, claimed cultural appropriation on the film and Disney, and when it was pointed out that the people of the culture itself approved and helped with the film, stated that they didn't know what was good for them or something to that effect. I'm trying to find that article, but right now I am getting more hits of a different professor there who recently released a study about the princess films having good long term effects. My Google skills are weak, so if anyone knows of that incident, feel free to throw it up.

So can someone from outside a culture claim cultural appropriation when those inside say it is not?

And as a final question, can others culturally appropriate from US or west European cultures? Got any examples?
 

ttwtt78640

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That is a good question. The origins of ‘soul food’ would seem to be an example of it.

 

soap box

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First, my opinion is that this doesn't break rules. People who get emotional about it should go jump in a lake. Interesting topic, until somebody gets too serious.
In my town the topic is texmex. They take Mexican cooking and blend in other ingredients and methods so that it's unique. I don't care if it's authentic or not. I love the enchiladas, even if it's not authentic.
They also tell me there is cilantro in Vietnamese food only in Texas. Fine, I'll eat it all the same.
In my town we go to the lunar new year festival most years and watch the fireworks, eat the food, people are very inviting and most seem proud that a white guy is drawn to their event and has some curiosity about another culture.
I would prefer the melting pot and that people engage in what appeals to them and anyone who gets fussy about it needs to lighten up and chill.
 

soap box

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Now then, you didn't mention music. I have an album of some hillbilly bluegrass musicians covering ac/DC rock tunes. On their mandolins. Sounds funny but I'm keeping the album. Point is that musicians totally ignore any of this and freely borrow / steal ideas, rhythms and styles with no apologies, and I think it's both fun and healthy
 

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What exactly is cultural appropriation? How does it differ from cultural absorption? Is there any culture that has not engaged in either of the two? Does the culture itself get to deny something as cultural appropriation?

These questions have come up many times, and I don't recall if I have ever seen them directly answered. They could have of course, and I just missed the threads.

One of the things that came up in a recent conversation with my husband and one of our wives was that Chinese food in the US is not the food that is eaten in China. There is a TED talk out there (I'll add it if anyone is really interested) where a woman talks about this. Among other points she brought up the dish Chop Suey. IIRC, it more or less translates into "this and that". She noted that going to China and asking for chop suey would be like a Chinese coming here and saying, "I heard that you had this really great dish I want to try called Leftovers." It was also noted that chinese food in other countries, such a Spain, is different than not only China, but also in the US. So here is the trick question. Given that these dishes actually originate in either the US or Spain, respectively, if a Chinese person were to open a restaurant in China serving those styles of food, would that be cultural appropriation of US or Spanish culture? Conversely, are any Chinese who are in the US guilty of cultural appropriation when they open these restaurants that are not authentic Chinese dishes?

With regards to the last question, we have seen examples of where a person has been accused of cultural appropriation only to have people of the supposedly appropriated culture come out and deny the appropriation.
Here is an example, albeit a bit indirectly:
k2xt2wo0zrf21.png


There there was this controversy:
28NEjOINFDMnxgf0RGANetvr2URH9bCkgwO50vWXGPw.jpg
043.png


And then there is the Moana controversy where a Brigham Young Professor, whose name I can't recall, claimed cultural appropriation on the film and Disney, and when it was pointed out that the people of the culture itself approved and helped with the film, stated that they didn't know what was good for them or something to that effect. I'm trying to find that article, but right now I am getting more hits of a different professor there who recently released a study about the princess films having good long term effects. My Google skills are weak, so if anyone knows of that incident, feel free to throw it up.

So can someone from outside a culture claim cultural appropriation when those inside say it is not?

And as a final question, can others culturally appropriate from US or west European cultures? Got any examples?
The entire cultural appropriation thing is just stupid. It's just another extreme left wing move to create division in the country. I always looked at what people call "cultural appropriation" as a compliment. You don't imitate or duplicate or borrow from things you don't like. It's a compliment. Just like calling sports teams Indians, Warriors, it's a compliment. It's paying respect to them and their culture.
 

AmNat

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What exactly is cultural appropriation? How does it differ from cultural absorption? Is there any culture that has not engaged in either of the two? Does the culture itself get to deny something as cultural appropriation?

These questions have come up many times, and I don't recall if I have ever seen them directly answered. They could have of course, and I just missed the threads.

One of the things that came up in a recent conversation with my husband and one of our wives was that Chinese food in the US is not the food that is eaten in China. There is a TED talk out there (I'll add it if anyone is really interested) where a woman talks about this. Among other points she brought up the dish Chop Suey. IIRC, it more or less translates into "this and that". She noted that going to China and asking for chop suey would be like a Chinese coming here and saying, "I heard that you had this really great dish I want to try called Leftovers." It was also noted that chinese food in other countries, such a Spain, is different than not only China, but also in the US. So here is the trick question. Given that these dishes actually originate in either the US or Spain, respectively, if a Chinese person were to open a restaurant in China serving those styles of food, would that be cultural appropriation of US or Spanish culture? Conversely, are any Chinese who are in the US guilty of cultural appropriation when they open these restaurants that are not authentic Chinese dishes?

With regards to the last question, we have seen examples of where a person has been accused of cultural appropriation only to have people of the supposedly appropriated culture come out and deny the appropriation.
Here is an example, albeit a bit indirectly:
k2xt2wo0zrf21.png


There there was this controversy:
28NEjOINFDMnxgf0RGANetvr2URH9bCkgwO50vWXGPw.jpg
043.png


And then there is the Moana controversy where a Brigham Young Professor, whose name I can't recall, claimed cultural appropriation on the film and Disney, and when it was pointed out that the people of the culture itself approved and helped with the film, stated that they didn't know what was good for them or something to that effect. I'm trying to find that article, but right now I am getting more hits of a different professor there who recently released a study about the princess films having good long term effects. My Google skills are weak, so if anyone knows of that incident, feel free to throw it up.

So can someone from outside a culture claim cultural appropriation when those inside say it is not?

And as a final question, can others culturally appropriate from US or west European cultures? Got any examples?
“Cultural appropriation” is something that whiny, immature people without lives complain about.

Any healthy culture wants to be “appropriated” by others. Complaints of “cultural appropriation” are of no validity.
 

justabubba

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First, my opinion is that this doesn't break rules. People who get emotional about it should go jump in a lake. Interesting topic, until somebody gets too serious.
In my town the topic is texmex. They take Mexican cooking and blend in other ingredients and methods so that it's unique. I don't care if it's authentic or not. I love the enchiladas, even if it's not authentic.

They also tell me there is cilantro in Vietnamese food only in Texas. Fine, I'll eat it all the same.
In my town we go to the lunar new year festival most years and watch the fireworks, eat the food, people are very inviting and most seem proud that a white guy is drawn to their event and has some curiosity about another culture.
I would prefer the melting pot and that people engage in what appeals to them and anyone who gets fussy about it needs to lighten up and chill.
not true from having eaten a LOT of lemongrass curry chicken at the local vietnamese joint, having a lot of cilantro (and other herbs)

'cultural appropriation' is a baseless fallback for people who have run out of NIMBY complaints. we build upon what we know ... no matter from where it may have originated. it's one of the benefits of living in a melting pot
living in a singular, rather isolated, culture, such as japan, has its advantages, but a huge disadvantage is being without other cultural insights from which to draw
 
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soap box

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not true from having eaten a LOT of lemongrass curry chicken at the local vietnamese joint, having a lot of cilantro (and other herbs)
Thanks JB , I learned something today right here on DP !
 

soap box

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not true from having eaten a LOT of lemongrass curry chicken at the local vietnamese joint, having a lot of cilantro (and other herbs)

'cultural appropriation' is a baseless fallback for people who have run out of NIMBY complaints. we build upon what we know ... no matter from where it may have originated. it's one of the benefits of living in a melting pot
living in a singular, rather isolated, culture, such as japan, has its advantages, but a huge disadvantage is being without other cultural insights from which to draw
BUT ! Around my town the Vietnamese restaurants, and I mean all my faves, always include a jalapeno or two at the table and jalapeno slices for the pho.
They told me they were just in tx too.
What say you sir?

I'm gonna appropriate that culture with a big spoon in no time at all.
 

maquiscat

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BUT ! Around my town the Vietnamese restaurants, and I mean all my faves, always include a jalapeno or two at the table and jalapeno slices for the pho.
They told me they were just in tx too.
What say you sir?


I'm gonna appropriate that culture with a big spoon in no time at all.
I would say that they are blissfully unaware of other Vietnamese doing the same thing elsewhere.
 

Questerr

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The entire cultural appropriation thing is just stupid. It's just another extreme left wing move to create division in the country. I always looked at what people call "cultural appropriation" as a compliment. You don't imitate or duplicate or borrow from things you don't like. It's a compliment. Just like calling sports teams Indians, Warriors, it's a compliment. It's paying respect to them and their culture.

The name for the Cleveland Indians was literally created to mock the fact that they had a Native American player. It has nothing to do with respect.
 

Roger Duke

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The name for the Cleveland Indians was literally created to mock the fact that they had a Native American player. It has nothing to do with respect.
You sure? I always heard they liked the guy so much they named the team that.
Who would name a team after somebody they don't like?
I'd never name my fantasy football team after Kamala.
 

Questerr

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You sure? I always heard they liked the guy so much they named the team that.
Who would name a team after somebody they don't like?
I'd never name my fantasy football team after Kamala.

That’s the modern myth invented to cover up the actual racist history.

Cleveland Indians was a name imposed on them by their opponents that they later decided to appropriate for themselves.
 

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I do think that there is a problem when westerners engage in appropriation of other cultures and claim it as their own.
It's important to ask, listen, and give credit to those who deserve it. I think this is particularly important in the arts.

I also think it's mostly white people who are up in arms and looking to call people out on it. These same people feel some sort of power in the endless search for ideological purity that exists on the right/left in the US. It's really a shame and makes a mockery of the entire issue.
I don't think those who are calling appropriation out know what appropriation is.

It's a very interesting topic that deserves more nuance and less ego. Tough these days. It's also individual and subjective.
 

Nomad4Ever

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One of the things that came up in a recent conversation with my husband and one of our wives
I’ll answer the broader question when I have time to type a longer response, but first…

Explain what is happening in this sentence to me please lol.
 

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<snipped for images>

So can someone from outside a culture claim cultural appropriation when those inside say it is not?

And as a final question, can others culturally appropriate from US or west European cultures? Got any examples?
I'm not sure what cultural appropriation is, nor do I care. This is America. All cultures, all the time. Even our own sub-cultures. Ever been to Hash House a Go Go? Here's breakfast.

14397307_web1_HHAGG_Chicken-Waffles-New.jpg


The chop-suey story is interesting. I've heard that pizza isn't Italian. And Taco Bell is some freakish assembly line of tortillas, dry meat and skimpy cheese. American culture, right? Italian and Mexican culture appropriated by Americans. What do you call it when that culture is exported elsewhere?

Beijing.

R.5cec441eb5aaa15c8f1303536ea6f968


Rio de Janeiro.

size_960_16_9_pizzahut32.jpg
 

Mithrae

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“Cultural appropriation” is something that whiny, immature people without lives complain about.

Any healthy culture wants to be “appropriated” by others. Complaints of “cultural appropriation” are of no validity.
Do you think east and south Asian cultures appreciate the appropriation of the swastika?
 

justabubba

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I do think that there is a problem when westerners engage in appropriation of other cultures and claim it as their own.
It's important to ask, listen, and give credit to those who deserve it. I think this is particularly important in the arts.

I also think it's mostly white people who are up in arms and looking to call people out on it. These same people feel some sort of power in the endless search for ideological purity that exists on the right/left in the US. It's really a shame and makes a mockery of the entire issue.
I don't think those who are calling appropriation out know what appropriation is.

It's a very interesting topic that deserves more nuance and less ego. Tough these days. It's also individual and subjective.
allow me to focus on that ^ portion of your post

how does one provide adequate credit to the culture from which some unique/design element was appropriated?
for instance, a dress
or a food dish
or an expression
or [you fill in the blank]

i do not see it similar to a thesis where one would make attribution of another's words/thoughts/designs, where we offer enumerated cites

it would also be impractical, maybe impossible, for one culture's items that have become baked into another culture heritage over time. i would point to the use of pasta as being representative of italian dishes, when it is widely understood that marco polo likely brought the pasta back home from china

and you appear to hold such uncredited appropriation out as being a western flaw when eastern cultures, such as the taiwanese and chinese, especially those resident in hong kong, have long been known to make illegal, unlicensed knock off's of patented/copyrighted/trademarked western products
 

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allow me to focus on that ^ portion of your post

how does one provide adequate credit to the culture from which some unique/design element was appropriated?
for instance, a dress
or a food dish
or an expression
or [you fill in the blank]

i do not see it similar to a thesis where one would make attribution of another's words/thoughts/designs, where we offer enumerated cites

it would also be impractical, maybe impossible, for one culture's items that have become baked into another culture heritage over time. i would point to the use of pasta as being representative of italian dishes, when it is widely understood that marco polo likely brought the pasta back home from china

and you appear to hold such uncredited appropriation out as being a western flaw when eastern cultures, such as the taiwanese and chinese, especially those resident in hong kong, have long been known to make illegal, unlicensed knock off's of patented/copyrighted/trademarked western products

As I said this is a complex and subjective issue. I don't claim expertise.
I live in the US so that is my experience. I also mentioned the issue of it in the arts. Music has a long history of white artists claiming American music as their own. I'm not saying Elvis should not have borrowed and I'm not even saying he shouldn't have been called "the king of rock n roll" but credit should have been given to those who came before him and created the foundation for the music he played. I am not in favor of only allowing certain people to play certain music but I do think that when we record and perform music with a rich cultural heritage we ought to honor the music properly by crediting those who are responsible for much of its foundation.

I don't think policing others is ever the answer but I do think being mindful of the above is a good thing.
 

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I like all kinds of foods. I really like Japanese Fusion because it's a creative dish-mash of cultures.

I also like "authentic" foods too. Whenever I want a real tamale for example, I look for a place where an old woman makes them.
 

SoCal

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When it comes to food it's much to do about nothing and when was the last time anyone saw Chop Suey on a menu, sometime between 1958 or 1963?
 

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Cultural appropriation is a particularly complex topic in our society with our history of segregation, where all culture besides white culture was considered inferior and verboten. One thinks back to blackface entertainers. Rock and roll seems like a massive appropriation of the blues. It would be a mistake to apply hard and fast rules to the appropriateness of appropriating black culture into white music. Yes, whites tended to profit much more off of it, but it also exposed black music to a wider audience. So it isn't all bad. Black music, too, could change. Motown is a good example - black music infused with white slickness, giving us a wonderful sound.

There was a time when popular music gad regional differences to be appreciated and enjoyed. Mass communication has changed this, for better and worse, blending all together. I like to think of it as always evolving.
 

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What exactly is cultural appropriation? How does it differ from cultural absorption? Is there any culture that has not engaged in either of the two? Does the culture itself get to deny something as cultural appropriation?
It's a made up topic for leftists to get angry about because they are running out of real injustices to be made about. The reality is, any culture that exists today has taken from other cultures throughout the generations. It's a guarantee.

The only thing I can think of that would come close would be those who do something that's purposefully intended to mock another culture, but even then, it's not appropriation as they aren't actually taking it for their own use. I mean...I guess we could add political pandering in there, like when Hillary pretended to have hot sauce in her purse to pander to Black votes or when this happened:
Cultural Appropriation.png
 

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As I said this is a complex and subjective issue. I don't claim expertise.
I live in the US so that is my experience. I also mentioned the issue of it in the arts. Music has a long history of white artists claiming American music as their own. I'm not saying Elvis should not have borrowed and I'm not even saying he shouldn't have been called "the king of rock n roll" but credit should have been given to those who came before him and created the foundation for the music he played. I am not in favor of only allowing certain people to play certain music but I do think that when we record and perform music with a rich cultural heritage we ought to honor the music properly by crediting those who are responsible for much of its foundation.
We do honor them. Order this from someone. DVD + CD. Recorded in 2006, Kenny Wayne Shepherd tours the South looking for surviving early blues artists, and finds them. Truly amazing journey. May change your opinion. The jam at the end of Willie Dixon's Spoonful will leave you awestruck. Can't remember his name, but the piano player is (was) 90.

R.974b269f465ed0f6bd563a2f9822aeda




I don't think policing others is ever the answer but I do think being mindful of the above is a good thing.
 
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