Cultural Appropriation vs Cultural Assimilation

5

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

Join the #stopthecult campaign on:
Twitter (x)
Instagram (x)
Facebook (x)

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

“They know better and yet, they still don’t care.”

7

Halloween is coming up and to many of us that means free candy, parties, dressing up and just a whole bunch of fun in general.

But for others it’s seeing what embodies your culture being turned into a tacky costume for one night as people parade around in store bought costumes of Native Americans, Mexicans, Japanese, Chinese and the list goes on.

PulleyWrites at diamondfordumps has written a post about her thoughts as she contemplates dressing up as Pocahontas this year for Halloween. A train of thoughts that soon delves into what it means to respect a culture. How a moment of fun for this Halloween overlooks decades of culture that people have fought to preserve.

Here I am thinking about how awesome it would be for me to dress up as Pocahontas and bite the culture that others are trying to preserve and honor.

Realising the errors of her ways, she ultimately sums up the thought process of what many think about Halloween costumes from the other side quite easily.  That many people do in fact understand that what they are doing maybe wrong but ultimately for a moment of fun, they just don’t care.

 I think all the time about the people who understand these things but just don’t care. They know better and yet, they still don’t care.

Instead we all encourage you to find something better to go as this Halloween (we reckon you’ll probably look better too). Stop cultural appropriation with a bit of education and with you!

Read more about PulleyWrites article “I Smell Halloween…and Cultural Appropriation”

R.C.W – Stopping Cultural Appropriation @ Stop The Cult
Join the #stopthecult campaign on:
Twitter (x)
Instagram (x)
Facebook (x)

Image by DeusXFlorida found on Flickr (x). No modification has been done. Used under Creative Commons 2.0.

How can I avoid Cultural Appropriation?

4

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
Join the #stopthecult campaign on:
Twitter (x)
Instagram (x)
Facebook (x)

Why should I care about cultural appropriation?

3

Why should I care about cultural appropriation?

BECAUSE CULTURE IS IMPORTANT!

Simple as that!

Cultural appropriation is when a dominate culture takes aspects of a minority culture and changes it resulting in a loss of its traditional meaning and context.

A person’s culture embodies their values, heritage, tradition and history all which should not be belittled. Lets take a look at the Japanese Kimono. The kimono is a traditional garment made from the finest materials and only worm on very formal occasions. It is a very polite and reserved garment, with countless variations for different occasions. Yet cultural appropriation has taken such a garment and made it into a tacky  and skimpy costume often seen on music shows and halloween. And often or not such an appropriation incorporates other elements of other cultures (Chinese, Korean can anyone say orientalism?). Gone are the traditional elements and value of such a piece. So don’t do cultural appropriation.

Culture is important to everyone. Its all about respect. Appreciation not appropriate.

R.C.W – Stopping Cultural Appropriation @ Stop The Cult
Join the #stopthecult campaign on:
Twitter (x)
Instagram (x)
Facebook (x)

‘Geisha’ image by Kate Nevens (all credit) used under Creative Commons 2.0. No alteration has been done. Source (x)

Share your experience about cultural appropriation with #stopthecult

7

Cultural appropriation affects all, share with us why your culture matters to you and why we should appreciate and respect it.

With Halloween approaching we asked why culture shouldn’t be a costume. One of our follows shared with us their personal opinion about their culture.

I take a lot of pride in my native heritage. And every Halloween I see cultural appropriation everywhere when people ” dress up ” like native Americans. I feel like first of all they stole a nation and now they think it’s ok to try and be native for a night. My culture ( and any culture for that matter ) is not a costume.

dvmien.j (@dvmien.j)

‘Stop the Cult’ helps to educate people about cultural appropriation and why it matters. Share your opinions and experience of culture/cultural appropriation with the tag #stopthecult

R.C.W – Stopping Cultural Appropriation @ Stop The Cult
Join the #stopthecult campaign on:
Twitter (x)
Instagram (x)
Facebook (x)

“You can wear it, But I can’t”

tumblr_nho44oDsYT1spvmhao1_500

Ishani Jasmin post on the commodification of culture hits close to home. With Halloween soon and up and coming how many of us have walked out at night and seen our culture as costumes. When we see that girl in the Kimono does she understand the cultural heritage behind it, the worth it carries? Does the guy in the poncho overtly stereotyped Mexican costume understand the racial stereotypes that his subtle pushing onto all those that see him. Whilst their intentions are never meant to harmful, in the long run just like Ishani Jasmin says

“our culture continues to be commodified”

Take a look at her post and the insight on the commodification of our culture. Be encouraged, stop cultural appropriation and understand the harm it does.

“I have somehow been locked out of a culture that I want to be proud of”

Beautifully well written. Check it out!
Ishani Jasmin “You can wear it, But I can’t” (x)
All quoted text and images belong to Ishani Jasmin, we at Stop The Cult take no credit and are only aiming to promote/discuss her post. Thank you.

R.C.W – Stopping Cultural Appropriation @ Stop The Cult
Join the #stopthecult campaign on:
Twitter (x)
Instagram (x)
Facebook (x)

What if I do Culturally Appropriate?

2
Sometimes the answer to this question,
just don’t do it in the first place’ isn’t always the most helpful. Cultural appropriation can often occur unknowingly or accidentally. So here we are to help!

Well what do I do if I do culturally approriate?

First things first, STOP (obviously).
There does need much reasoning behind this, cultural appropriation disrespects and alters the original meaning of the culture and the best way to not do this is to stop.

Secondly, RECOGNISE & APOLOGISE.
Recognising that you’ve culturally appropriated an aspect of someones culture is great (you’re learning and identifying) but even better is to recognise those faults and apologise. And we applaud you in doing so and leading the way for others!

Thirdly, EDUCATE.
Its great to stop, recognise & apologise but there is no harm in educating yourself. If aspects of cultures truly appeal to you only for aesthetic reasons (bindi, henna, cornrows etc) I encourage you to find out why these are so important culturally and the history behind it because its far more interesting. Not only that educating yourself means you can educate others on not why we should participate in cultural appropriation!

Enriching your knowledge will further your appreciation and perhaps instead of cultural appropriation you’ll be invited to culture exchange and truly experience these traditions with respect and permission. We need to understand that cultural appropriation isn’t always intentional. Educating others is one step closer to stopping cultural appropriation.

R.C.W – Stopping Cultural Appropriation

Join the #stopthecult campaign on:
Twitter (x)
Instagram (x)
Facebook (x)

What the hell is Cultural Appropriation?

1
The term gets thrown around by the media, internet, celebrities but what the hell is cultural appropriation exactly?

There are varying definitions of cultural appropriation floating around on the internet and what it can be applied to, so for many of us we’re just bloody confused to as what it is exactly.

In the simplest terms possible (and in no way trying to reduce the seriousness of this issue):

Cultural appropriation is 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.

Often this can be seen as disrespectful and offensive. Culture is important to all people all around the world, as people we should respect that.

Hopefully this has explained what cultural appropriation is exactly, follow us to keep informed and inform others. And continue to find out why cultural appropriation need to be stopped.

R.C.W – Stopping Cultural Appropriation

Join the #stopthecult campaign on:
Twitter (x)
Instagram (x)
Facebook (x)
Definition provided by Young, J 2010, Cultural Appropriation and the Arts.