Cultural Appropriation : A Victim Of Society Essay

Cultural Appropriation : A Victim Of Society Essay

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Cultural Appropriation: A Victim of Society
As society changes, issues emerge or evolve from pre-existing controversies. However, the underlying problem often remains the same. Cultural appropriation is one of the many social injustices that has been shaped by the change of society, but continues to exist today as a result of a similar set of issues found throughout history. In the past, appropriation attacked explicit crimes such as blackfacing or ethnological expositions (eg. forcing Natives into cages for display) (Cathy, 2015); however, in modern day, appropriation is not as clear and definite. Today, much of the criticisms are directed towards artists who have touched upon a culture other than their own, despite how knowledgeable and appreciative they are of that cultural element (Cathy, 2015). Even museums, such as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, received backlash from the public for being oblivious to the racists messages displayed in their projects (Boffetta, 2015). Among these acts of resistance, activists seem to be driven by the idea that a culture belongs to only one community (Yo, 2015), stirring debates on culture and ownership. Similar to other social issues, as cultural appropriation enters the peak of its momentum, activists begin to lose sight of basic ideas and purposes. Fueled by their anger towards discrimination, they are quick to identify anything that seems racist. In terms of cultural appropriation, although the act itself does not exhibit discriminatory behavior, it is labeled as racist due to its involvement with unjust social norms. As it is manipulated by the dominant group of a society, the other groups are mistreated, causing their political and economical unrest. Thus, the fault in cultural ap...


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..., genres, etc. are the absolute and only representations of a civilization (Yo, 2015). However, cultures and identities are created through interactions and relationships, and are not “homogeneous, static, or timeless” (Coombe, 1993). In fact, Rogers suggests that culture itself is not just something that appropriates, but is established through appropriations (2006). According to the concept of transculturation and the dynamic nature of civilization, there should be no ownership in regards of culture (Yo, 2015): “ [...] cultural elements created from and/or by multiple cultures [influence the definition of culture], such that identification of a single originating culture is problematic [...]” (Rogers, 2006). With the argument that civilization is the product of change, it is illogical to refute cultural appropriation for the reason of maintaining a constant culture.

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