Yes, I’m about to get real serious, and break down cultural appropriation. What is cultural appropriation, you ask?
It’s when members of one culture adopt, use, or “borrow” elements of a different culture, largely perceived as a negative phenomenon.
Although originally a term reserved for contention in academic circles, it’s permeated the web. There’s normally more coverage around Halloween when members of one culture borrow Native American, Asian and other cultures’ attire, traditional or reinterpreted, for their evening of debauchery.
The Youtube video embedded below, produced by MTV News debunks seven myths associated with cultural appropriation.
Imitation is the highest form of flattery. But what happens when it isn’t?
Yes, that’s exactly what compelled me to touch on this subject. As the WF in an AMWF marriage, when I wear a 旗袍 am I exchanging, appreciating, or appropriating?
Of course I would fashion myself exchanging and appreciating my husband’s culture, due in part to the vested interest we both share in learning about one another’s culture, including ZJ engaging in Jewish traditions.
What if, one day, we finally do have a Jewish wedding ceremony, and ZJ dons a yarmulke. What guidelines would govern the cultural event?
Well then, where does the line get drawn? Yes, the line gets drawn by the recipient culture. But, in accordance with the myths outlined by Ramsey, you can’t simply ask one or two representatives of said culture.
Let me elaborate. Say the cultures in contention are American (my culture) and Chinese (the culture I am either exchanging, appreciating, and appropriating). What does this mean for those in an AMWF coupling, particularly Chinese males and American female pairings?
Don’t take a Thor-inspired hammer to me, but it’s safe to say, having a Chinese partner may preclude you from appropriating his/her culture. It doesn’t mean you are off the hook from doing so to other cultures, or speak to the racial privileges, biases, and even discrimination existing in all AMWF partnering. More on that in an upcoming blog post…
Check out all the NaNoBloPoMo challenge offerings so far:
- scribbled a digital stream of consciousness post
- introduced getting started cooking Chinese food at home
- lamented the challenges arising from a month’s life of blogging
- begged for blog content feedback (it’s never too late for feedback )
- accepted the sisterhood of the world bloggers award
- reviewed local Chinese restaurants
- discussed cultural faux pas and language blunders
- covered apple picking, a blast from the past
- pontificated about learning Chinese
- asked whether to declutter or not
- obsessed over the music of Bear’s Den
- commented on Young’s Fire Dragons
What’s your take on cultural appropriation?