Misconceptions about cultural appropriation

Frequently, people assume that talk of cultural appropriation means that no-one can ever use an idea from another culture. This is not what is meant by it at all. [Read more…]

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Living Traditions

A culture, and a religion, is a massively complex system of interlocking ideas, philosophies, symbols, and practices. [Read more…]

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Cultural Appropriation and Racism

In my last post on cultural appropriation (Cultural Appropriation has nothing to do with “Race”), I made the point that the issue is about culture, not genetics and not “race”. People are part of a culture if they have been brought up in and immersed in that culture – it has nothing to do with their genetic background. In this post, I show that cultural appropriation is an extension of colonialism and racism. [Read more…]

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Cultural Appropriation has nothing to do with “race”

Cultural appropriation is when someone from a colonising or culturally dominant culture takes a ritual or sacred or meaningful practice from a subjugated or devalued or colonised culture, lifting it out of context and draining it of meaning. And probably making money out of it. [Read more…]

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Cultural Appropriation and the Blues

The Blues originate from a particular cultural and social history unique to Black people. Yes, the musical form was a fusion of European folksong and African musical and folksong techniques – but the emotion underlying the Blues was something special, and the characteristic musical style of the Blues (the blue note) can be traced back to Africa. [Read more…]

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Cultural appropriation is about power

What many commentators miss is the power differential in cultural appropriation. People forget that we are living in a postcolonial world, where non-European cultures are still routinely dismissed as “primitive”, “backward”, reactionary, and hidebound by tradition, and European culture is presented as the norm, and an ideal to live up to, despite its over-consumption, cycle of boom and bust, and exploitation of other parts of the world in order to maintain the expensive western lifestyle. [Read more…]

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Transplanting from one culture to another – appropriation or exchange?

Many people do not understand what is and is not cultural appropriation because they assume that practices and techniques can be easily transplanted from one context to another, but this does not take into account the issues around the particularity of traditions to their culture, place, and history, and it does not recognise the impact of colonialism and the commodification and commercialisation of indigenous traditions. [Read more…]

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