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Old 05 September 2015, 09:51 PM
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Default To the new culture cops, everything is appropriation

Welcome to the new war on cultural appropriation. At one time, such critiques were leveled against truly offensive art — work that trafficked in demeaning caricatures, such as blackface, 19th-century minstrel shows or ethnological expositions, which literally put indigenous people on display, often in cages. But these accusations have become a common attack against any artist or artwork that incorporates ideas from another culture, no matter how thoughtfully or positively.

A work can reinvent the material or even serve as a tribute, but no matter. If artists dabble outside their own cultural experiences, they’ve committed a creative sin.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/poste...appropriation/
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Old 05 September 2015, 10:24 PM
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"Cultural Appropriation" has become the new "political correctness." There are aspects of it that are a legitimate concern; examples would be stereotypical racist Halloween costumes. But, as with any buzzword, its application has become distorted to ridiculous lengths, to the point where (white) people are being told that they can't wear, look, listen to, or create anything that's even remotely influenced by or similar to another (non-white) culture -- as if each culture is something that has always existed in an unchanging pure form throughout human history. We all know that's nonsense.

But the Culture Police, who primarily are young women on Tumblr, don't seem understand the difference between exchange, appreciation, and appropriation.
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Old 05 September 2015, 10:35 PM
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Even Selena Gomez, a Latina artist, was assailed a couple of years ago for sporting a Hindu forehead dot, or bindi, in a Bollywood-style performance.
I'm baffled as to how the author thinks Gomez's being Latina is relevant to the question of whether she was appropriating Indian culture.

ETA: I have no opinion on whether Gomez was "appropriating" or not.
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Old 05 September 2015, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
I'm baffled as to how the author thinks Gomez's being Latina is relevant to the question of whether she was appropriating Indian culture.
It's relevant that she isn't Indian. And pointing that she's Latina is pointing out that she isn't Indian.
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Old 05 September 2015, 11:18 PM
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It's relevant that she isn't Indian. And pointing that she's Latina is pointing out that she isn't Indian.
Yes, I get that part, but the author said [my emphasis] "Even Selena Gomez, a Latina artist.. . ." as if she found it particularly odd or surprising or egregious that Gomez was accused of appropriation.
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Old 06 September 2015, 01:24 AM
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While I'll concede that sometimes people who cry "Cultural Appropriation!" go too far, at the same time, when it comes to stuff like bindis and Native American headdresses, I'm on the side of the Indians/Native Americans. Because bindis and headdresses have religious significance in their culture, so I'd be a little offended by some white teenager wearing one because they think it's cool. You wouldn't run around in a kippah because it's cool, so you shouldn't do the same with bindis or headdresses.
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  #7  
Old 06 September 2015, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
Yes, I get that part, but the author said [my emphasis] "Even Selena Gomez, a Latina artist.. . ." as if she found it particularly odd or surprising or egregious that Gomez was accused of appropriation.
The only sense I could make out of that was that the author meant "Even brown people get accused of this!" -- as if all "brown" people were of the same culture, and therefore a Latina shouldn't be accused of appropriating something Hindu.

Not knowing anything about the context in which Gomez put on another culture's religious symbol, I also don't know whether she was improperly appropriating or not. But I agree with Mouse. And I'm somewhat confounded by the article's implication that trying recipes from a different culture should be treated in the same fashion as wearing religious symbols.
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Old 06 September 2015, 02:44 AM
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I'm a little disappointed with the superficial treatment given to the subject and the lack of insight in this article.

Quote:
To take just a few recent examples: After the 2013 American Music Awards, Katy Perry was criticized for dressing like a geisha while performing her hit single “Unconditionally.”
To me, this is one of the more blatantly obvious examples of why and when cultural appropriation can be problematic. The lyrics of the song have nothing to do with anything Japanese or Asian. The lyrics are about a woman telling a man she will love him unconditionally, which is kind of creepy. (Unconditional love is for your children, maybe your other family members if you can square "loving them unconditionally" with keeping your distance if needed to be safe from them.) She didn't pick that costume and motif out of the blue; she was playing on Orientalist stereotypes about silent, subservient, devoted Asian women. Those stereotypes have real consequences for actual Asian women, who have to fend off creepy white guys on dating sites asking them...well...

The more I read about the issue, the more I think it might be sowing more confusion than it clears up to lump everything under "cultural appropriation," because there are different reasons different things might be offensive. There's the issue of perpetuating harmful stereotypes, as explained above. There's the issue of using religious symbolism or other sacred objects as fashion accessories, which is why wearing a feathered headdress at Coachella is a problem, but isn't why Katy Perry caused a stir. There's also the issue, which the OP author glosses over, that white artists appropriating black or other musical styles often end up selling more records despite having less talent, which is the issue a lot of people have (had? I haven't heard anything about her this year) with Iggy Azalea. There are subtler questions of ownership and cultural tourism, but you don't need to even reach those when you're talking about someone who's leaning on and reinforcing racist stereotypes as a cutesy shorthand for love and devotion.
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  #9  
Old 06 September 2015, 02:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Cervus View Post
"Cultural Appropriation" has become the new "political correctness."
I agree in that more than 90% of the time they're both right on the money. Historically, that rises to around 99%. These borderline cases or false positives aren't really common enough to give flying fart in a rolling donut. I think many of them are just cases where people can't take criticism.
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Old 06 September 2015, 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
There's also the issue, which the OP author glosses over, that white artists appropriating black or other musical styles often end up selling more records despite having less talent, which is the issue a lot of people have (had? I haven't heard anything about her this year) with Iggy Azalea.
I have a couple of issues with this; first of all, "talent" is relative, and musical ability has nothing to do with one's race or culture. Secondly, what defines a "black" musical style? Is it hip hop? Rap? Blues? Reggae? Soul? Funk? How can a musical genre be defined by race, and furthermore, why should it?
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Old 06 September 2015, 03:40 AM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
And I'm somewhat confounded by the article's implication that trying recipes from a different culture should be treated in the same fashion as wearing religious symbols.
When I initially read it I assumed she was referring to this article, which I had come across first, but the dates don't fit:



How it feels when white people shame your culture’s food — then make it trendy

https://www.washingtonpost.com/poste...st-food-trend/
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Old 06 September 2015, 03:45 AM
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And it's not a zero sum game. Maybe the fact that Iggy gets more people interested in her style of music will get those people interested in other artists who perform in the same style.

I find this particular brand of sensitivity distressing. It's especially hard for the racially mixed. Am I only allowed the culture of the race I look most like?
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Old 06 September 2015, 04:08 AM
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I agree it's not a zero-sum game.

Raising awareness doesn't have to be accusatory and criticism of art doesn't mean the artist is a bad person. But I do think if the trend continues we'll look back on some of these appropriations as, at the very least, aesthetically nauseating. I've talked about these examples before but they're so well-known and appropriate to this conversation that I keep going back to them: Disney's Dumbo and Peter Pan. The former I think stands up. Even though the crows were somewhat insensitive to the issue of mocking a culture that had already endured way more than just racism, they still have some warmth and, I dunno, goodness that makes them not horrific. Then there's Peter Pan. I can't watch those 'Indians' any more without feeling sorry both for the people who made it and for the people it lampoons.

Anyway, what I mean to say is that we don't have to throw things out or stop having sympathy for artists who are trying to make good art while at the same time unintentionally revealing some of their own ugliness. Maybe things like Peter Pan and minstrel shows are actually the great works for that reason but for these few, I do think we should be glad to put them in museums and bring them out only for special viewing. The others can remain. Being aware of their flaws only makes most of them that much better. Criticism is good for the arts and criticism of cultural appropriation has, as a general trend, made art better just as criticism of political incorrectness has if for nothing else than we don't allow artists to use that crap out of laziness.
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Old 06 September 2015, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Little Pink Pill View Post
When I initially read it I assumed she was referring to this article, which I had come across first, but the dates don't fit:
Aside from the dates, if Young was referring to that article, I don't think she read it very carefully. It doesn't read to me as if Ruth Tam's saying " it’s appropriation to eat Japanese, Indian or Thai food"; she seems to me to be encouraging others both to do so, and to create fusions from different traditions -- but to do so with respect for and knowledge of the traditions the food comes from.

Quote:
Gravitating toward “new” cuisines is understandable, and when done well, immigrant food can provoke discussions about personal history and shared diasporas. I’ve seen this happen at restaurants such as China Chilcano, which describes the history of Chinese and Peruvian fusion that influences its menu, a bare minimum that many restaurants ignore.
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Old 06 September 2015, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Cervus View Post
But, as with any buzzword, its application has become distorted to ridiculous lengths, to the point where (white) people are being told that they can't wear, look, listen to, or create anything that's even remotely influenced by or similar to another (non-white) culture -- as if each culture is something that has always existed in an unchanging pure form throughout human history.
Because white people are inherently evil and their associating with something makes it unclean. That's tumblr 101.

Funny how people who cry "cultural appropriation" never complain about non-whites doing traditionally white things like studying science or becoming president.
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Old 06 September 2015, 05:22 AM
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Dude, you really went there?

Here, check this video out, and then check your statement again and see if anything clicks.
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  #17  
Old 06 September 2015, 05:28 AM
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Dude, you really went there?
Yes I did. Non-whites could not do those things in previous generations, and now they can. This is a good thing of course. I was merely pointing out the hypocrisy of someone saying "Since only black people have traditionally become rappers, white people rapping is cultural appropriation." Just switch the races around and it's just as ridiculous. "Since only white people have traditionally been president, black people becoming president is cultural appropriation." Whatever I decide to do is my business, regardless of the color of my skin. And if it hurts (g)your fragile ego, too bad.
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Old 06 September 2015, 10:44 AM
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Wow. OK, I don't want to Godwinize the thread or anything but there are few people in history who would claim that those are "traditionally white things". I'm not sure if even today's Klan would go that far in public. However, contrary to your claim, they and lots of other trash have indeed complained about blacks and other minorities simply trying to do those things - even just talking about doing those things and millions of other things - quite loudly for the past four centuries. Well, it's not all complaining. Complaining and torturing and bombing and jailing and lynching, etc.
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Old 06 September 2015, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Coughdrops View Post
Yes I did. Non-whites could not do those things in previous generations, and now they can. This is a good thing of course. I was merely pointing out the hypocrisy of someone saying "Since only black people have traditionally become rappers, white people rapping is cultural appropriation." Just switch the races around and it's just as ridiculous. "Since only white people have traditionally been president, black people becoming president is cultural appropriation." Whatever I decide to do is my business, regardless of the color of my skin. And if it hurts (g)your fragile ego, too bad.
Non-white people have been doing science longer than white people.
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Old 06 September 2015, 03:33 PM
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I wonder if any school-age kids could get out of doing algebra citing cultural appropriation of the Arabic scholars that invented it?
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