Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Cultural Appropriation

Cultural appropriation is generally defined as taking something from someone else’s culture–an image, a prop, a term–and degrading him and it by making that a thing of your own.

Susan Scafidi, the author of Who Owns Culture? Appropriation and Authenticity in American Law, defines it as "[T]aking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artifacts from someone else's culture without permission. This can include unauthorized use of another culture's dance, dress, music, language, folklore, cuisine, traditional medicine, religious symbols, etc. While this apparently is like a "social plagiarism," apparently it is more than hurtful, it is harmful, especially when the source community is a minority group that has been oppressed or exploited in other ways or when the object of appropriation is particularly sensitive, e.g. sacred objects.

It sounds as if the community of man has some borders.

Some examples: white musicians borrowed the musical stylings of their black counterparts. Madonna, for instance, popularized the form of personal expression known as voguing, which began in black and Latino sectors of the gay community. Madonna has also used Latin America as a backdrop in a music video and appeared in attire with roots in Asia, as has Gwen Stefani who faced criticism for her fixation on Harajuku culture from Japan. Miley Cyrus became the pop star most associated with cultural appropriation. During recorded and live performances, the former child star began to twerk, a dance style with roots in the African-American community. Jaso wearing dreadlocks.
Would a black guy quoting Shakespeare be appropriating white culture?

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