Cultural Appropriation

culture graphic

By Garrett Lee Frechette at
Posts by Garrett

Appropriation infers that an individual or people is taking something from someone, often times without permission. Culture is the collection of conceptual ideology and creative works from human intellect that is usually passed down through heritage, tradition, and transforms through innovation and imitation.

The phrase cultural appropriation is used to describe the act of stealing, misusing, imitating, or otherwise, showing disrespect of a particular culture. The idea, in itself, has become a rising concern and rallying cry for change amongst us liberal-minded people. The problem is that there is no such thing as cultural appropriation. The flaws of such a concept should have not been propagated through generations Y(millennials) and Z(next gen), but I digress on that matter, as the topic is pervasive nonetheless. The evolution of language and modern lexicography is a debate for another time.

The advent of technology, particularly the internet, and only exacerbated with smartphones, has made it easy to share and contribute to various cultures all over the world. This breaks down proverbial walls between different populations, and for-the-most-part has been a force for good. By being able to collaborate on ideas and adding to our collective knowledge base, we have become more interconnected than any time before these technologies.

When people of different cultures regularly interact, it's often the event that cultural differences are observed. It is the best case scenario that people learn from each other, including each other's cultures. I put forth that the phrase cultural appropriation is only people's fear of change, especially change within their own culture and society. There is no creating without imitation, as the saying goes. Modern cultures do grow, change, adapt, and build off of one another.

When a person adapts a culture that they've interacted with into their own self-identity, this is not appropriation. Even if you don't fully understand someone's culture and only envelope parts of it into your own, this is still a great idea. By doing this, you grow and advance your self. When you bring what you've learned and seen to other members of your own culture then you've evolved that culture. Your experience is widened and in many ways, culture of all kinds are evolved.

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