Cultural Appreciation, Lets preach it.

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With many of our previous post and media attention around cultural appropriation, its all about what we can’t do. Hoping to educate and inform people about the issue and in return be respected and understood, there instead has been a back lash of complaints and brash comments of “well we might as wear nothing cause you’ll always be offending someone”. And hey its hard to be told what you’re doing is wrong. No one likes being told the faults.

So its no surprise the attempt to educate others about cultural appropriation hasn’t be received with open arms. Instead we’ve decided instead of cultural appropriation we’re here to tell you how to appreciate all cultures with out the implications of appropriation. However remember that sometimes whether its cultural appropriation or appreciation is contextual, assess the situation with common sense. We’re only hoping to act as a helpful guideline (and even then we’re not always right).

Cultural appreciation is what it is. An appreciation of a culture, an act that does so in a truly respectful way. Often this can be seen in an act of cultural exchange, as Jarune Uwujaren (2013) describes it “an exchange” must be a mutual act of sharing (more than just a “here’s my culture, let me have some of yours”). Unlike cultural appropriation which only sees a dominate culture taking aspects of a minority.

So how can we appreciate a culture? 
– Do your research! Really go and find an understanding about the culture, understand the history behind the item which you’re thinking about wearing. Find the purpose of it and ultimately is up to you to take an educated step to decide if its appropriate to continue with your act.

– Other avenues! There are always other ways to appreciate a culture other than just by wearing their clothes. If people of that culture are adamant that you don’t do so then be respectful. Instead ask them how can I learn more about it? How can I truly immerse myself and appreciate your culture without being offensive? More often then not they’d be happy to share with you! Showing an interest is always awesome.

When is it appreciation and not appropriation?
– Immerse yourself! If a friend or someone invites you to participate, do so! They’re inviting you to a cultural immersion and exchange. I’ve seen friends go to Indian weddings wearing Saris as requested by the family. And there was nothing wrong with that. They did so with respect. Understood the situation to be appropriate, an act of celebration. They we’re invited, found the correct and respectful outfits and most of all both parties had fun!

These aren’t much to go off on but they’re a great way to appreciate culture in a way that doesn’t cross the boundaries of appropriation. But remember we can not speak for a culture as a whole and there will always be people who may not be as eager to share, or even see this as being too sensitive. To that we can only suggest a bit of common sense. Back off if you need to. Best of luck!

R.C.W – Stopping Cultural Appropriation

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Uwujaren, J (2013). “The Difference Between Cultural Exchange and Cultural Appropriation”, Everyday Feminism. (x)  

Celebrities & Cultural Appropriation, EVERYWHERE!

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Katy Perry, Kylie Jenner, Khloe Kardashian! What do all these celebrities have in common? (Well besides the fact that all their names start with a ‘K’) They’ve all been recently called out for cultural appropriation and being serial offenders.

So are question is why are celebrities & cultural appropriation everywhere recently? Is this getting to a point where its ridiculous and we really need to just “get over it”?

As you’ve probably guessed by now we @ Stop the Cult really don’t think cultural appropriation is okay. Why? Simply check any of our previous post and there is a plethora of information about it. So to simply “get over it” would mean admitting defeat at letting cultural appropriation be okay. But we do have to admit it is getting a bit ridiculous.

Constantly we are seeing the same celebrities culturally appropriating items for pure aesthetics. So why is this? And why are we letting it happen? Celebrities live in a world of their own and whilst many of us don’t like to admit it often the rules of society (and occasionally the law) don’t apply to them. A simple slap on the wrist, apology on social media and in about a month lets just repeat this cycle again. Its easy to see how we’re getting just plain sick of it. But hey DON’T ‘get over it’. Because every single bit of exposure raises that bit more awareness of cultural appropriation and if you’re also starting to get sick of all this hype, good cause thats when we can all finally shout ‘FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST STOP’. (Lets just hope thats soon).

So if you’re sick of the Kardashians (in general) or for just cultural appropriation (still not sure when they did it? Check it out!)

Have no fear! There are celebrities out there who are finally calling it all out. Recently Amandla Stenberg posted a thought provoking video on cultural appropriation, Zendaya called out the racist comments on her faux locs hairstyle by a TV commentator and explained to us the severity of cultural appropriation and Nicki Minaj articulated her problems with cultural appropriation and fellow celebrity Miley Cyrus (Whats Good?).

So we say, don’t “get over it”. Keep interested, get educated about the topic and share why cultural appropriation is wrong. Get frustrated if you have to but always reason and educate with a level head! And don’t forget to check out those inspiring celebrities below!

Amandla Stenberg on Cultural Appropriation (x).
Zendaya “Explains the Severity of Cultural Appropriation” (x)
Nicki Minaj “Her problem with cultural appropriation and Miley Cyrus” (x)

R.C.W – Stopping Cultural Appropriation

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Cultural Appropriation vs Cultural Assimilation

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Appropriation? Assimilation? Appreciation? What is all this?

Why can they do it but we can’t? Isn’t the same thing? Isn’t this just double standards?

All these questions float around when the topic of cultural appropriation comes about usually in the comments. However are three main terms that many people often get confused with when discussing cultural appropriation. One may start commenting on cultural appropriation when actually what it really is is appreciation or assimilation. So here we are to help clear everything up and help you understand where your argument stands!

First off cultural appropriation what is it?
When elements of a minority culture are taken by members of a more dominant culture for their own use. This results in the original context to become distorted and it’s meaning reduced. Those taking elements of the culture do not experience the same cultural significance.

and what about cultural assimilation?
This is the process by which elements of a dominant culture are take by members of a minority culture this often occurs when a minority enters into a dominate culture and assimilates in order to survive.

The difference between the two terms answers the commonly repeated questions about cultural appropriation of ‘Well if they do it why can’t I?” or “Isn’t this double standards?”

Unfortunately in this society not all cultures are perceived as equal. That’s the truth. Minorities take on aspects of dominate cultures to survive or be accepted (or even to hopefully perceived as equals). Where as cultural appropriation sees dominate cultures taking on elements of a minority often for the sake of being ‘trendy’, ‘fashionable’ etc

And then recently we’ve been seeing cultural appreciation
What is this? Well from what we gathered it is when people take the time to learn, educated and understand a culture before taking an educated decision to express the culture in way that does not offend ands till respect it.

However to speak for a whole culture is incredibly hard and there will be inevitable be people who will be offended. So when attempting to do cultural appreciation tread lightly and be aware.

We hope this has helped you out in learning more about cultural appropriation!

R.C.W – Stopping Cultural Appropriation

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Definition by Young, J 2010, Cultural Appropriation and the Arts.
Definitions by Encyclopaedia Britannia (x)

How can I avoid Cultural Appropriation?

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SO how can we all avoid cultural appropriation?

Well first thing, stopping it all beginnings with know what it is! Get EDUCATED.
Simply hit up our other post and find out what cultural appropriation is exactly and why its so important.

Now that you know what it is simply as your self these questions:
Am I offending a culture by wearing/doing this?
Has someone from that culture told me explicitly not to wear/do this?
If I do this will it alter the original meaning or eliminate the meaning behind the act/item?

If you answered to yes to any of these then hey take a step back they could be indicating that some cultural appropriation is going on here. Whilst this is just a short guide there are obviously   people (hopefully a small percentage) that do take it to the extreme and think everything is cultural appropriation. (Which unfortunately while their intentions may be good, does more harm in the long run when people start to think of cultural appropriation as a joke/non-existent). So if your educated, decide for yourself!

R.C.W – Stopping Cultural Appropriation @ Stop The Cult
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