Cultural Appropriation

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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…show more content…
The specific description of cultural adoption also does not build upon a harmful purpose. Appropriation is commonly known as the practice of a dominant social group taking and using an element of another culture for their own interests (Kulchyski, 1997). However, aspects of the dominant culture can be taken by another group as well. Thus, specifically, the act of cultural appropriation can be defined as “[...] the use of a culture’s symbols, artifacts, genres, rituals, or technologies by members of another culture [...]” (Rogers, 2006). Furthermore, according to Rogers’ definition, there are four situations that can be identified as appropriation: exchange, transculturation, dominance, and exploitation (2006). Cultural exchange is the ideal situation where a mutual transfer of a culture elements occur between groups with similar levels of power. These appropriations result in transculturation which suggest that cultures are combinations of various cultural elements (Rogers, 2006). On the other hand, cultural dominance is “the use of elements of a dominant culture by members of a subordinated culture in a context in which the dominant culture has been imposed onto the subordinate culture” (Rogers, 2006). In other words, dominance when elements of the dominant culture is taken, though it is often forced upon the subordinate culture through manipulation of social powers. An example of cultural dominance is the utilization of residential schools in Canada during the late 1800’s. In these institutions, First Nations children were forced to abandon their culture and adopt the ways of life of the colonists. Thus, the subordinate group is forced by the dominant group and their social powers to appropriate these elements. Lastly, cultural exploitation, though causes a similar negative effect as cultural dominance, is a reversal of dominance

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