Talk:Cultural appropriation

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Should cowboy culture be considered "cultural appropriation"?[edit]

I am wondering this because I see cowboy culture as a derivation of the original Mexican ranching traditions. In other words, cowboy culture wasn't done in a way to profit off of traditional Mexican culture (perhaps the only profiting was the cowboys employing Mexican ranchers) and it wasn't an insincere appropriation; it arose out of the American settlers adapting to the local culture and geography of the Southwest. It's kind of like a blend of American and Mexican cultures. I am contrasting this with the wearing of war bonnets as fashion, which is done in an insincere and disrespectful way.

Additionally, we could even consider the Mexican ranching culture as an appropriation of Spanish ranching culture, using the aforementioned criteria. And sticking with the topic of Mexico, a lot of Mexican culture can be considered "cultural appropriation" of indigenous Mexican and Spanish traditions.

Tangentially, I think a lot of modern politics in Mexico are good examples of cultural appropriation of indigenous cultures. The coinage for the Mexican peso has the Aztec calendar on it, but all the text is in Spanish. The pyramids of Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza are seen as symbols of Mexico, even though those structures predate the concept of Mexico. And in fact, I've seen Spanish textbooks published in Mexico that use indigenous Mexican imagery and artwork on their covers, yikes.

98.110.251.102 (talk) 01:59, 5 June 2021 (UTC)

I think that hats are cultural appropriation. Some culture must have invented the first hat and then it was appropriated by the whole world.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 13:23, 5 June 2021 (UTC)
The best part is, the original cowboys mostly wore bowler hats or derby hats: the bowler hat was "the hat that won the West". The current cowboy hat took off in the early 1900s because people realized that having a wide brim that kept the sun out of your face was actually very helpful. Simple pragmatism. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 02:16, 6 June 2021 (UTC)

I am an American. Is it cultural appropriation for me to speak English?[edit]

Is cultural appropriation for an American to speak English?

I was discussing this matter with a fellow student in my women's studies class and we couldn't decide if it is cultural appropriation. Martie (talk) 15:54, 5 June 2021 (UTC)

Assuming this is a good-faith question (New user making an spontaneous irrelevant reference to a "fellow student in my women's studies class" in June? Did you go to a "liberal hipster coffee shop" after?), as American culture was originally English culture in America during the 17th and 18th century before it branched off, no. ℕoir LeSable (talk) 16:15, 5 June 2021 (UTC)
Actually, it was a Native American culture. So I am wondering if I should speak Navajo if I live in New Mexico. Martie (talk) 16:30, 5 June 2021 (UTC)
So it a was bad faith question, got it.ℕoir LeSable (talk) 16:43, 5 June 2021 (UTC)
The problem is - as the article makes reference to - everything is cultural appropriation. All existing cultures are descendants of prior cultures and include elements of other existing cultures.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 17:12, 5 June 2021 (UTC)
From my perspective, the use of other cultures is only a real problem when the cultural borrowing is either crass, commercialized, resorting to cheap stereotypes, or reinforces various class / race / etc. power dynamics. "Cultural appropriation" is sometimes inappropriately as a snarl word among some lefties, sure. Now, trolls JAQing off with their stereotype of what they think a liberal is, I dunno, could that count as cultural appropriation of liberals? Just maybe you could ask your school-in-the-summertime women's studies class that! PanGalacticGargleBlaster (talk) 18:03, 5 June 2021 (UTC)

I appreciate the assumption of good faith but I think from page history and syntax of the original post, this is probably a sock of someone asking. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario!(Mod) 18:05, 5 June 2021 (UTC)

americans do not speak english so not really a problem. AMassiveGay (talk) 11:48, 1 July 2021 (UTC)

More examples[edit]

The Romans - Mithraism, some of the ecstatic faiths of the Middle East/Mesopotamia, and merging local gods with their own.

The Grand Tour - physical appropriation of cultural objects, and Napoleon etc in Egypt.

How is 'exoticism as an activity' linked to cultural appropriation? Anna Livia (talk) 11:36, 1 July 2021 (UTC)

most of the examples we already have dont seem to be actual examples, with many where who ever posted them is unsure them selves.
and its another of those lists AMassiveGay (talk) 11:46, 1 July 2021 (UTC)
The problem with this article boils down that it has an introduction which mentions "it's not always bad" and then immediately jumps to illustrating as many "bad" examples as possible. It feels like my brain is skipping a section that doesn't exist in the article itself to explain what it even is in greater detail. Techpriest (talk) 12:18, 1 July 2021 (UTC)
The concept itself should really only apply very narrow circumstances. But there are those who use it very broadly. The examples come from this very broad usage - and many of them are pretty silly.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 13:25, 1 July 2021 (UTC)
There will always be cultural diffusion/borrowing/'that's (positive words) - let's make use of it' and similar. (How many of the examples given would fall into this category?)
In a proportion of cases the donor culture is indifferent or positive, or sees it as a beneficial export ('they want to buy overpriced tourist tat, pay good money to see our festivals etc and give gainful employment to our artists, priests and others etc etc).
In some cases the cultural item is 'appropriated' and gets totally naturalised (eg some words) and may even be re-exported back home.
Then there is 'cultural appropriation.' Anna Livia (talk) 14:33, 1 July 2021 (UTC)

I see that we have yoga, the swastika and cowboy culture. Maybe we should add karate, the Christian cross and Italian food.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 15:46, 1 July 2021 (UTC)

It's me. I'm responsible for a lot of bad in this article. Alright, now how do we fix this? Cornea (brawl) 16:02, 1 July 2021 (UTC)
I would suggest that we remove everything from the examples where the original culture is not actively being currently damaged by the alleged "cultural approbation". Which I would suggest is most of them.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 16:22, 1 July 2021 (UTC)
That or move the non-problematic cases to a counter-section. Cornea (brawl) 16:35, 1 July 2021 (UTC)

The English language has 'absorbed, made use of, repurposed and otherwise co-opted' words from many, many languages - appropriation wholesale rather than retail. To what extent is 'the split infinitive discussion' an example of cultural appropriation? Anna Livia (talk) 19:25, 18 August 2021 (UTC)

Still terrible[edit]

This article is still terrible. In a few days I'm going to start taking out the worst "examples"; which is going to be most of them. Certainly those where the culture being "appropriated" no longer exists, where the thing in question has simply become part of global culture, or where no culture or people being actively damaged by the practice.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 13:18, 14 October 2021 (UTC)

an 'examples' section thats complete wank? never thought i'd see the day. AMassiveGay (talk) 13:28, 14 October 2021 (UTC)
Sorry, but I too am inclined to agree. The overwhelming validation within this article of this oft-moonbat term (the concept of which caused a global internet crisis after Adele wore Bantu knots to a Caribbean celebration) seems counterintuitive to the “rational” in “rationalwiki”. The salient examples of cultural appropriation that actually do portend risk of further marginalization could arguably be adequately summarized in one fifth the length of this rambling lecture—and the space saved might be better put to use detailing the innumerable ways the term is exploited by virtue-signaling white saviors. Yes, virtue-signaling white saviors. One should not be forced to relinquish their liberal credentials for pointing out the inconvenient truths staring us in the face—the vast number of folks who falsely appropriate the term “cultural appropriation” do not belong to the cultures who are supposed to be taking offense. Italbear (talk) 01:09, 15 April 2022 (UTC)
Now we have take a shot. Also I think whatever you say can be discounted with your unironic use of “virtue signalling white saviours”. Cultural Appropriation as a term has serious academic meaning and the article should reflect that. Most academic jargon is going to eventually get misused or misapplied in some respects, and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that — but its not exactly novel or noteworthy. It’s still not wise for us to feed into a conservative moral panic as if it’s anyway genuinely reflective of society as a whole. Even if folks like you are only familiar with it in that context. -Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 01:29, 15 April 2022 (UTC)
My intent is in no way aligned with conservative moral panic—I take significant offense in being labeled with conservative leanings because it’s the furthest thing from the truth. Where I take umbrage with the misappropriation of this otherwise legitimate concept (although I certainly don’t agree that “academic interest” necessarily imbues any topic with legitimacy—have you not perused some of the nonsense being subjected to analysis in acedemia?) is how its sweeping overuse is diluting its impact when applied earnestly. The way “cultural appropriation” has been co-opted officiously to such a broad extent has caused its own backlash, some from bad actors, but also from those perfectly reasonable folks who have been rendered cynical by the overpolicing of benign behaviors—and such overreach certainly serves to close minds to the ways that malignant cultural appropriation causes true harm. And I would argue that any term that is mis-applied for self-serving motives, especially those meant to imbue oneself with questionable victim status (such as self-diagnosis with PTSD over micro aggressions) does considerable harm to those who actually meet the agreed criteria of these terms. This is not a liberal or conservative phenomenon—it’s merely one of projection, manipulation, and intellectual dishonesty, tactics that transcend the confines of politics. 2603:8080:5E01:2586:EDDB:A599:2052:1C95 (talk) 14:37, 15 April 2022 (UTC)
@2603:8080:5E01:2586:EDDB:A599:2052:1C95 For someone someone who takes "significant offense in being labeled with conservative leanings because it’s the furthest thing from the truth." That sure was a lot of rightwing "culture war" talking points that you just vomited. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 15:03, 15 April 2022 (UTC)
Well, I’m dismayed that you perceive it that way, and I take responsibility for misrepresenting myself. What I’m trying to convey, as someone who has been personally impacted by cultural appropriation and other forms of discrimination, is simply my own frustration at those who see it as their prerogative to fight battles supposedly meant to be for my benefit—a form of condescension I consider quite demeaning, by the way. And the patronizing is especially agonizing when their actions serve to stifle my own voice. If you are not someone who belongs to a marginalized group, imagine spending a lifetime fighting for your own dignity, only to have folks who do not share my identity, and who come from a position of relative privilege, assuming first of all that I need rescuing—and then proceeding to get all the fundamental issues mixed up and antagonizing so many of my potential allies through their grandstanding that the opportunities for me to open minds through my own agency become less and less. This is what I meant by “virtue-signaling white saviors”—it was not intended to mirror conservative tropes; it was to convey how when those with privilege attempt to take a higher moral position at my expense, their motives are ultimately exposed as attempts to shore up their own valorous images, not to champion mine or my peers. Peace. 2603:8080:5E01:2586:E013:B3B1:4A49:8255 (talk) 16:33, 15 April 2022 (UTC)
@2603:8080:5E01:2586:E013:B3B1:4A49:8255 The thing is, when you just gesture vaguely at "virtue-signaling white saviors", and then espouse tropes such as "And I would argue that any term that is mis-applied for self-serving motives, especially those meant to imbue oneself with questionable victim status (such as self-diagnosis with PTSD over micro aggressions) does considerable harm to those who actually meet the agreed criteria of these terms." aka "you just want to feel like a victim" or "Where I take umbrage with the misappropriation of this otherwise legitimate concept (although I certainly don’t agree that “academic interest” necessarily imbues any topic with legitimacy—have you not perused some of the nonsense being subjected to analysis in acedemia?) is how its sweeping overuse is diluting its impact when applied earnestly." aka "those liberal university just want to teach feminist underwater basket weaving instead of real skills/knowledge" it kinda gives the same impression as reading Fox or Brietbart. I 'm making this point with the assumption that you are arguing in good faith, since then I can point out the issues with vagueness, how it feeds into rightwing culture war narratives, and how these really hurt the credibility of good faith criticism. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 16:52, 15 April 2022 (UTC)
Your response, aside from being nearly impossible for me to read, offers me no indication that you’ve thoughtfully read anything I wrote—and seems to come from an a priori assumption that I have either suspicious motives or that I’m possibly some sort of Trojan Horse infiltrating this site with secret fascist ideology. I appealed to your reason with the most humble, deferential and personal approach I could offer, and your reply, no different than your original objection to my post, came across to me as insufferably officious, tiresomely reactionary, and disappointingly anti-debate. I’ve seen your comments on myriad other articles, including one where you called another user a “fucking moron” in response to a post that was in no way contentious, and I also understand that you’re some sort of administrator here, which I guess puts me at risk of being banned. But given how you just talked to me—someone who is actually deeply affected by the subject in this article, I’m going to take the risk, for my own dignity’s sake. With that, I’ll go ahead and agree with your own definition of yourself on your user page as a misanthrope—although based on my own experience with you in just three paragraphs I’d like to add that you also have acted like a schoolyard bully, an officious prick, a puerile instigator, and arguably a deranged, antisocial misfit with a scorching case of narcissistic personality disorder. Whether you are any of these things, I cannot say—note that I commented on your actions, not who you are—offering the hope that you can one day mature, become more intellectually-honest, more deserving of the space and presence of others, gain the self-confidence necessary to stop stomping around here assuming the role of the authority and moral police of leftist, fair and inclusive principles. At present, there is no indication that you care anything about cultures or their dignity—your MO is serving yourself, clearly. And with that, I’m going to purposefully allow you to be right, about anything you’ve written before or might write in the future—so I can scrub your unctuousness off me and get back to my serene life. I devoted more time to engaging with you than I discovered you deserved; we all unwittingly feed the troll sometimes. Get a sense of perspective and consider other’s positions who belong to the communities you portend to champion. Peace, we’re done. Italbear (talk) 01:25, 19 April 2022 (UTC)
@2603:8080:5E01:2586:E013:B3B1:4A49:8255 Maybe considerations about "clumsy" or "bad" or "self-interested" allies deserve their own article instead of appearing everywhere, the same way that, for example, not all articles on subjects that are regularly recuperated by populist politicians contain text that point that out (text that may give the impression that the subject is mainly a bogus thing created by populist politicians while it's not). Additionally, I just want to point out the danger of jumping on the conclusion "attempts to shore up their own valorous images": if you are accusing someone to do that, this person knows if they are indeed motivated by that aor not (they even may be or look pleased of their savior status, it does not mean it's their motivation), and if they are not indeed motivated by that, it is your intervention that legitimately seems intellectually dishonest to them. Cauch (talk) 11:41, 16 April 2022 (UTC)
@Bob M I don't want to push the issue, but it appears that you have not made any of your generically suggested changes. I had an old WWII photograph of a group of German soldiers wearing priest's vestments over their uniforms, and aping a Catholic ceremony. They appear to be amused by their own antics. Nazis appropriating Catholicism might be an appropriate example.UncleKrampus (talk) 23:11, 15 April 2022 (UTC)
The thing is that I'm increasingly coming do doubt the validity of the term. All cultures are in a state of evolution from one thing to another. As they change they very often incorporate elements from other cultures. These other cultures may or may not object. They may not even still be around to object. We can say a similar thing about languages. They are constantly evolving, borrowing from each other and incorporating words. Some language bodies (like the Académie Française) object to this, others are indifferent.
Very often what is being complained about is really inappropriate use of cultural icons; not their wholesale incorporation. In your particular example, nobody in their right mind would suggest that that the picture indicated that Nazis depicted actually wanted to incorporate Catholic culture into their movement.
But that then leads to the rather clumsy "inappropriate/insensitive use of cultural artifacts" rather than "cultural appropriation". The whole article could be be rewritten from that standpoint. But only if the majority agreed and, even then, I'm not sure that I would want to be the one doing it.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 08:39, 16 April 2022 (UTC)
I, for one, am inclined to a similar view. Adopting the practices or motifs of another cultural is not inherently objectionable. It is objectionable when done disrespectfully, and then because it is disrespectful. The article seems to recognize this, but a quick google search gives a number of resources that include inappropriateness as part of the definition of cultural appropriation. So it's not clear, for one thing, that the article reflects the term as actually used. Personally, given that the core issue is a kind of disrespectfulness, and that this can be cashed out without appeal to the concept of appropriation, I don't see that the term is actually doing any useful work. Worse, the term is perhaps misleading, insofar as it suggests that it is the adoption of some aspect of another culture that is objectionable, rather than the attitude with which the adoption is made. 𝒮𝑒𝓇𝑒𝓃𝑒 talk 15:39, 16 April 2022 (UTC)
Now I think about it, a couple of other things occur to me as well. Firstly in UncleKrampus' example the "victim" is apparently the Catholic Church. But that hardly represents a discriminated minority - at least not in the West.
Furthermore, and as the Nazis have already been brought up, would anyone seriously object if people showed lack of respect for cultural symbols associated with the Nazis? I kind of doubt it. So we can't even say that showing disrespect for other cultural symbols is always guaranteed to be bad. Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 13:32, 17 April 2022 (UTC)
I see. Well, one might live a longer life without the travail constituted from stress over objections that might arise due to another's disrespect for a third party's culture. Speaking of the French, I have always been fond of Innocents Abroad: "In Paris they just simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language." It seems a certain measure of disrespect is sometimes unavoidable. One marvels at the plasticity of language. More and more, as I settle into another decade with my mate, I have noticed how some people simply enjoy discovering something worthy of complaint. In this respect I am something of a beachcomber.UncleKrampus (talk) 17:59, 16 April 2022 (UTC)
@Bob M While I have usually seen adoption of a minority culture as a definitional component of cultural appropriation, I have seen this component excluded from the definition. I think it is better excluded, because I think the core issue is disrespectful adoption, which can be carried out by anybody. That disrespect is worse when carried out by a dominant social group against a minority, on account of more severe consequences, is an issue layered over top of the disrespectfulness, in my view. I think conflating the two problems is unnecessary and, perhaps, misleading.
The Nazi case is interesting. Certainly, I doubt anybody but Nazis would be upset if people disrespected motifs of Nazi culture. However, I think the disrespect ordinarily shown to Nazi cultural motifs is not of the adoptive kind; we aren't adopting aspects of Nazi culture in a disrespectful way, when we disrespect the Nazis. Perhaps we depict Nazis in a disrespectful way, but I don't think cultural appropriation covers cases of mere disrespectful depictions of other cultures anyway. Then again, I guess the question is whether it would be wrong or bad to adopt Nazi cultural motifs in a disrespectful way, and for the same reason it is, for instance, wrong or bad to adopt Native American cultural motifs in a disrespectful way. I think the case is complicated because it is difficult to imagine somebody adopting an aspect of Nazi culture without them already being morally suspect. I suppose the answer is ultimately no, and I would say the reason is that the Nazis were not wholly culturally distinct, reigned for only a short while, and no longer exist as a cultural unit (or maybe they kinda do? I'm not sure whether to consider e.g. things like groyper to be aspects of a distinctive and coherent Neo-Nazi culture). The article notes that nobody really seems to care about Halloween mummies, either, even though they had substantial religious significance for the ancient Egyptians. 𝒮𝑒𝓇𝑒𝓃𝑒 talk 20:50, 17 April 2022 (UTC)
@SereneOK. But what we seem to be establishing that there can be substantial debate about what the concept even refers to. For some it is definitely important whether or not there is a power balance between the two societies - though I understand that you would reject this.
Then there the (perhaps even more important question) of whether it should refer to instances of wholesale adoption of other societies practices, artifacts or whatever - or simply aping or using them "disrespectfully".
And we agree that there are cases where even disrespectful aping would not bother anyone. For example in the case of the Nazis who no-one respects anyway, or the Ancient Egyptians who are not around to complain about it. I would go even further. There are aspects of other cultures I don't particularly respect. I live in Spain and I am told that bullfighting should be respected because it's part of Spanish culture. I think it's abhorrent (and a growing number of Spanish people think the same thing). I could easily come up with other examples - but my point is that simply because something belongs to another culture doesn't guarantee it respect.
Nevertheless, even if we reject the "wholesale adoption" definition and go with the "respect" definition, we then run into even more problems as we need to establish who decides if the thing being done is sufficiently respectful? If one person objects? Twenty percent of the population? If some care and some don't?
I honestly doubt the utility of the concept.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 07:24, 19 April 2022 (UTC)

feel like the all problems regarding examples in this article can be quickly and easily resolved by the deletion of the entire section. really all examples bar one are trash and that exception has reasoning that is sorely lacking. (i refer to war bonnets which basically says is just disrespectful, ignoring the wider context of a cultural genocide of native american people). as an aside for cultural appropriation of nazi stuff, i think things like prince harry in nazi uniform party would for another context, war bonnets say, be seen cultural appropriation and in all likelihood is cultural appropriation. importantly though no one gives a fuck about nazis to care if any were offended by trivialising their abhorrant culture (stylish uniforms, as far as uniforms go, is about all you appropriate from them without being a monster). i think we can consider something as a cultural appropriation but it not be actually problematic. appropriating something from an minority culture may not be on its own problematic but only if by the appropriation it does harm to that culture someway, like promoting negative stereotypes or diminishes and trivialises cultures facing wider discriminations and injustices. there is another form of cultural appropriation and thats adoption of some aspect of anothers culture without acknowledgement. the haka used by the all blacks was the centre of a lawsuit to acknowledge authorship to a specific tribe fior instance. i am aware of various nations claiming the credit for inventions and ideas and even famous people that others are claiming or been credited with, but im drawing a blank. faintly think homous is is one such with the article as a whole, the non example sections involve a lot of poor examples and some really woor arguments. tranethnicity and what is that nonsense about pirates in the overview for 2 examples, but could point to any part and find it lacking. AMassiveGay (talk) 02:20, 18 April 2022 (UTC)

@Bob M I mean, I also doubt the utility of the concept. Looking at parts of the article, and at what AMG has said, it seems that cultural appropriation does not necessarily involve anything objectionable, which seems to reduce it to merely the adoption of some aspect of another (minority?) culture, which is not obviously a useful concept (and if it is, it is not obviously helped by this term). (If adopting from a minority culture is definitional, I'm especially skeptical, as I see no underlying principle to that distinction, especially if appropriation is not inherently problematic.) Between what you and AMG have said, I no longer find respectfulness to be an adequate analysis of the underlying problem (in those cases where there is one); you raise various points about the slipperiness of respectfulness, and AMG raises the significance of historical context, specifically with regard to war bonnets. I think the issue about who decides what counts can be raised against cultural appropriation more generally. More problematically, I suspect there are really a variety of possible problems, that get swept up under cultural appropriation as an umbrella term, and are thereby obfuscated. AMG points to a few issues: promoting negative stereotypes, trivialization of discrimination and injustices (or of the cultures experiencing them), and denial of a practice's or idea's origins. But none of these, in my opinion, is best cashed out in terms of cultural appropriation. They are best cashed out, respectively, in terms of stereotyping, trivialization and discrimination, and denialism (in severe cases, AMG's term 'cultural genocide' would also be better). These are distinctive issues, and lumping them together under an umbrella term that can also refer to non-objectionable activity seems, well, silly. 𝒮𝑒𝓇𝑒𝓃𝑒 talk 01:56, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
@Serene. Then we are in agreement. :-)Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 06:41, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
This is why some authors specify the lack of respect to the original culture, or erasure of the initial cultural context as a part of conception of cultural appropriation. For example, some argue that the Beatles culturally appropriated African American styles of music in their song writing and performances, but the counter argument is sometimes made that the Beatles acknowledged the culture they were taking from and made sure to "pay respect to" and support members of the culture they were borrowing from by listing African American artists as their inspiration; refusing to play to segregated audiences, performing with and including African American musicians in their work, and ensuring that black artists were adequately compensated when they did perform with them. This is presented as an argument against the Beatles committing the act of cultural appropriation. There is a distinction sometimes made between cultural appropriation, and cultural transmission. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 06:49, 20 April 2022 (UTC)

Authoritarian moonbattery[edit]

the category doesn't quite match the contents of the article, so... yeah, i deleted it. G Man (talk) 23:54, 22 January 2022 (UTC)