Discussion Cultural appreciation vs cultural appropriation

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by aintg, Jun 21, 2021.

  1. aintg

    aintg Fairy Queen of the Demonic Sect

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    I've heard about these two terms, but somehow the more I read about them, the more confused I become. How to decide that one thing is appreciation and not appropriation, and vice versa?

    For example, let's say I wanted to get married. My fiance and I loved Chinese culture so much that we wanted our wedding to have ancient Chinese theme. The decoration would be like that of a xianxia drama and we would be wearing hanfu. However, we weren't Chinese, we didn't live in China, and none of our family was of Chinese descent.

    Would that be a cultural appropriation because we were not Chinese, or cultural appreciation because we were such big fans of the culture?
     
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  2. Lissi

    Lissi 『Queen of Lissidom』『Holy Chibi』『Western Birdy』『⚓』

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    I think it'd be cultural appreciation.

    Cultural appropriation is more like when you just take something from a culture without understanding it and just use it to, idk, gain likes or something.
     
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  3. MasterCuddler

    MasterCuddler 《Sugar Emprezz’s Handsome Cuddly Chicken Knight》

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    Basically cultural appropriation is like when a copy cat copies another artist’s art and say it’s original. Or when your friends copies your work but change a little detail and gets the better grade.

    And by giving credit and/or creating your own new inspired version is cultural appreciation.
     
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  4. Little Evil

    Little Evil

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    It's a crazy left kind of term.
    Copying is the highest form of appreciation.
    It goes against the narrative tho as a lot ppl enjoy Thai meals or rap and its hard to call someone racist if their favourite restaurant is run and employ only asian ppl while their fav artist is a black guy.
     
  5. AliceShiki

    AliceShiki 『Ms. Tree』『Aspect of Destruction』

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    I think those two things go hand-in-hand tbh. It's hard to draw a line between them.

    And well, I don't really think appropriating something is necessarily a bad thing either... >.>
     
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  6. Deleted member 363076

    Deleted member 363076 Guest

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    You and your wife-to-be likes Chinese culture and thus decided to have an ancient Chinese wedding, now the thing is in this context
    Cultural appropriation would be when you simply dress up in hanfu, decorate like those xianxia dramas because while doing so you are not, I repeat not, respecting their culture you are simply snatching and putting the elements you like and that is appropriation.
    Whereas, cultural appreciation would be dressing up in hanfu, decorating like those xianxia dramas while following the compulsory customs and traditions involved. It also includes your words of respect and admiration for the race.
    Hope it clears your misunderstanding~
    Correct me if I am wrong^^~~
     
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  7. kkgoh

    kkgoh Well-Known Member

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    Agreed with @Triphily.
    Your example is just cultural appropriation.
    You're basically doing cosplay for fun because you think it's cool, not that you actually care about the customs and traditions. Because Chinese ppl don't actually have xianxia weddings ... :whistle:

    If you genuinely appreciated the culture, it'll be better to just have the wedding in China or some historical location with the backdrop and everything. Have a SEPARATE dress-up session AFTER your official normal wedding ... there are tons of those pro photographers offering cosplay packages for weddings.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2021
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  8. c.decora

    c.decora Holy Cardinal, Ascended Mouse

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    Think the main issue with cultural appropriation is when one starts to monetize/monopolize the related "product."
    Monopolize in terms of copyrighting.
     
  9. Nimroth

    Nimroth Someone

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    Cultural appreciation is simply something you do because you want to show your appreciation for the culture while cultural appropriation is when you like a certain thing or aspect from a culture and want to use it for yourself.
    Cultural appropriation isn't actually a bad thing in itself and pretty much all cultures are a result of it to varying degree, the problem is if you use it in a way that is actively disrespectful toward the people you take it from.
     
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  10. MisterBubbles

    MisterBubbles [The Omnipotent No. 2 at Everything]

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    :blobpeek:Funny thing is that cultural appropriation used to be a neutral term that more or less simply stated that the inevitable mixing of cultures as those cultures interacted with each other. However recently, the terms cultural appropriation and cultural misappropriation have been being used interchangeably and so the understanding of the phenomenon has caused some general confusion like OPs post

    fun fact I guess :cookie:
     
  11. Nightow1

    Nightow1 Well-Known Member

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    The gray area is huge on this topic and even the implied "negativity" towards cultural "appropriation" is a gray area. Why would cultural appropriation be bad? In fact, in the past, there was one missionary to China that insisted on dressing up as a Chinese to demonstrate that you can be a Christian and Chinese at the same time and that one does not imply giving up the other. Can't remember his name now since it was a casual read but the TL;DR version is that the 2 terms have such an overlap and so different implementations that it really is hard to draw a line and usually just depends on the opinions of the person giving commentary.

    When 2 countries are next to each other and people travel, cross culture exchanges are to be expected.

    And sometimes, it doesn't even really matter. After all, who ever takes offence that spagetti is a copy of Chinese noodles at this late date? Or that Fried Rice is actually an American invention?

    Edit: My bad, it's not Fried Rice but Fortune Cookies and Chop Suey that was American.
     
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  12. Ekfreet

    Ekfreet Goner

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    It seems that a lot of people love to gatekeep stuff nowadays. Don't sweat the small stuff man. Unless you start to use wooden karma beads as an*l beads, I don't think that anyone worth acknowledging would mind. And if someone really starts giving you shit, you can have the Chinese equivalent of the N-Word Pass from me.

    upload_2021-6-21_23-56-4.png
     
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  13. Nimroth

    Nimroth Someone

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    The whole thing about Marco Polo introducing pasta to Italy is just a legend though, there are accounts of it being a thing there before he was even born.
     
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  14. kkgoh

    kkgoh Well-Known Member

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    Ok, on a serious note, and since this topic of cultural appropriation comes up very often during Halloween and has been discussed to death by many professionals.

    Read below for the definitive answers, at least for costumes.

    https://www.npr.org/2019/10/29/773615928/cultural-appropriation-a-perennial-issue-on-halloween

    "Costumes should not become opportunities to turn a person's identity into a stereotyped image," the letter said. "While students might choose to dress as a famous person or character whose identity is different than their own, please reinforce the importance of not darkening skin or using makeup to change a child's skin color to match the person who they are dressing up to be. Students are often unaware of the long history these traditions have of causing harm and need our help in understanding why it can be hurtful and problematic."

    In class, they have lessons on identity throughout the year and all the parts of ourselves that go into identity.

    "So having those conversations ahead of time allowed kids to see why somebody else's struggle shouldn't make up someone's Halloween costume," she said. "What's wonderful about children is once you help them see those things they don't ever want to create that situation ... and the kids are so eager to make the right choice, once you sort of show them the problems that exist."



    https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsa...it-ok-to-wear-the-clothing-of-another-culture

    If you want to wear a cultural outfit to an event, say a qipao to a party hosted by Chinese friends, or a sari to a South Asian wedding, but you are not a member of either of these groups, what should you do?

    "Listen to the cultures involved," says Nguyen. "Ask the most relevant representatives of the culture, in this case the family, whether they want you to participate."

    And it's not up to outsiders to decide. "It imposes your singular view from the outside without consulting that particular cultural group" — and it can come off as dismissive and presumptive. You're basically deciding on behalf of a group that you're not part of, says Nguyen.

    Lastly, be aware that donning a culture's dress comes with great responsibility, says Mayra Monroy, an adjunct professor at Baylor University and the author of a paper called An Analysis of Cultural Appropriation in Fashion and Popular Media. Don't just wear something "because it looks nice," she says.

    Let's say you've been gifted a piece of jewelry from Afghanistan or bought a traditional embroidered shirt from Mexico and are wondering whether to wear it. Find out what that clothing, design, print or jewelry symbolizes within the culture and what it might mean for an outsider to wear it, says Monroy.


    So unless we voted @Ekfreet as Emperor of all Chinese ppl ...:whistle:
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2021
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  15. aShinyVaporeon

    aShinyVaporeon Well-Known Member

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    It's a really big gray area, to be honest.

    It's not as if there's a court out there that can rule you guilty of cultural appropriation or disrespect of cultures. Personally, I believe there's a certain line that can't be crossed, and that's stripping the thing that you're using of its original context or purpose, especially if it's also being monetized. The word appropriation means stealing, but just imitating doesn't constitute stealing.
    There's still exceptions to this though, at least in my opinion. For example, the bindi, which is a marking/dot/gem on the forehead, has cultural significance in many South Asian cultures. It's become something of a fashion statement in the modern era. Yet, I don't think people can say that that's not allowed, and restrict the use of bindi to those of South Asian descent based on that alone. In Chinese culture, the huadian is a pretty much purely cosmetic marking on the forehead, and has a history dating back hundreds of years, and even a legend about its origin. In short, things aren't that simple.
    Not to mention it's a literal marking on a forehead--are you going to tell me that forehead markings are unique to South Asia?

    In terms of what the OP put in their post, I don't think that can really be considered appropriation; it's not as if China and people of Chinese descent hold a monopoly over this style of wedding, and other people can't touch it because that'd be rude. However, in order to not be disrespectful, it'd be best to go the full mile and make it meaningful, not a shallow cosmetic kind of thing.
     
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  16. AliceShiki

    AliceShiki 『Ms. Tree』『Aspect of Destruction』

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    I loved this one~

    Like, geez, I can celebrate whatever I want, alright? Like, sure, I don't care about Lunar New Year, but I don't need an invitation to celebrate it. If I wanted to celebrate it, I would celebrate it.

    Games without anyone that cares about Lunar New Year often times make special Lunar New Year related events too, so like... Geez, who cares where you're from? You can celebrate what you want.
    I liked this one. Especially the last bold part.

    Children dressing up for halloween is meant to be fun after all, so they should avoid doing something that will hurt others... An adult properly explaining they whys behind it makes sense IMO~
    This OTOH was like... Eh?

    Like, if you were invited to a party/event, I kinda expect them to tell me what costume I'm supposed to wear if I can't wear whatever I want... That's kind of on them, really. I can ask if I want to be sure, but if they wanna regulate my clothes, they're supposed to tell me that in advance.

    And uhn... "Don't just wear something 'because it looks nice'" is like... Lol what? What else am I supposed to use as a parameter for choosing my clothes? I'm not gonna research the history of dressmaking and its materials to decide which dress I wanna buy. I'll buy the one I like and that's that. Seems kinda silly to expect people to not use the clothes they want just because they have some cultural history behind them.

    The last paragraph is particularly ridiculous. I got a gift from a friend, and you think I'll do research before using it? Lol, no! I got a gift, I'll use it if I like it, and I'll give it to someone else if I dislike it! xD
    There is no "find out what those things mean for an outsider to wear it", I don't care. I own the clothing/jewelry, it was gifted to me, I'll do whatever I want with it. I'm not going to make it rot in a wardrobe because of its cultural importance, that's just plain ridiculous.

    Clothes are clothes, they're there to be used. I can sort of understand the positioning on the first article, but the positioning of this 2nd article is honestly absurd IMO... >.>
     
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  17. kkgoh

    kkgoh Well-Known Member

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    I don't make the PC rules!! I just present them!
    I was rejected from SJW college.

     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2021
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  18. imK

    imK Artful Dodger

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    I haven't got a concrete notion on how to view cultural appropriation vs appreciation. I've been guilty of the former in the past because I was quite frankly, ignorant at the time and didn't know any better. Take for instance Native American culture. As a pre-internet child, I barely knew about the culture other than my grandparents teaching me that they shared cultural similarities regarding how they view nature, that they have their own sacred symbols and they're a proud people. While I thought it was weird that a white adult woman would want to dress up in a "sexy" Pocahontas costume for Halloween, the understanding of why that would be insulting to a Native American person didn't come until we started covering it in my Ethics, Geography and History classes in high school.

    I do know it's a bad idea to use anything of significant spiritual, cultural or religious meaning to people without at least trying to understand anything about it first. I loathe hypocrites who borrow elements from other cultures for their own personal enjoyment while simultaneously looking down on that same culture they're borrowing from. Black people, specifically black Americans tend to get that a lot. For me the fact that you can take what they've got but in the same breath label them as being [insert derogatory descriptors here] is super fucked up to me. It happens to a lot of cultures and that doesn't make it any better either. I try to err on the side of caution because it's a tricky subject and while I won't cater to special snowflakes who demand everyone dance to their every whim I still think it's better to be as respectful as I can possibly be.
     
  19. babybb

    babybb Well-Known Member

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    I mean, it’s just one gigantic blurred line. Coming from someone who’s hapa haole (Polynesian-white) I see a fair amount of “true” cultural appropriation. For example, the fetishization of native culture into something “desirable” and “exotic.” The amount of “sexy Hawaiian” costumes I’ve seen out there is so bizarre. That’s not to say wearing traditional Hawaiian garb is necessarily appropriation— it would probably fall more under appreciation really— but the whole “sexy-ifying” part of it is not great. I recently went to a graduation ceremony for a family member and there were many (very obviously white-blonde-blue eyed) people there wearing traditional hakus and leis, but I don’t really see that as an issue. I thinks it’s flattering that they’d use my culture as a way of celebrating, because it shows that it’s something important and worth celebrating for.

    Tangent aside, I don’t think I’m qualified to answer questions specifically about Chinese and Eastern Asian culture, since that’s not my culture. But at least in my case and the other people around me from the same background, I’m sure we’d be thrilled if someone was genuinely interesting in learning and trying more of our culture.
     
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  20. elliejoy123

    elliejoy123 Well-Known Member

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    This would definitely be cultural appreciation. Oftentimes, I see a lot of people arguing about what's cultural appropriation and what's the other (mostly in tiktok and by white people lol). But I always believe that if you're not from that race, or even from that continent, even if you're offended, then you still don't have a say on what others do (unless what the person did is really offensive and goes beyond the spectrum of cultural appropriation). People would always get offended by anything that has to do with race that they end up gatekeeping something that wasn't theirs in the first place. Just remember that if your actions and behavior come from a place of respect and love for that culture, then you don't have a problem. If you're still worried about getting bashed for what you're about to do, then just make sure to do a lot of research beforehand so that you may do it properly. Hope you all the best!~
     
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