Essay On Cultural Appropriation

1255 Words 5 Pages
In the current debate over cultural appropriation, many issues arise from varying definitions between those arguing. Progressive debate cannot truly occur while an inability to come to an agreement on such a basal level has not happened. Both sides of the argument end up ineffectively arguing one another, as their topics of discussion are not even comparable due to their differing definitions of cultural appropriation. In the current debate over cultural appropriation, what is the most effective way to define it? Should cultural appropriation only be considered in the literal term of theft (benefitting monetarily), or should figurative theft of a cultural quality, practice, or characteristic be considered as well? Despite a multitude of varying …show more content…
The definition of cultural appropriation needs to be clearly defined and outlined. It is also of much import that we distinguish between cultural appropriation and stereotyping/racism in order to combat debate accruing over one person thinking cultural appropriation is a form of racism and another believing it is the monetary gain from using another culture’s ideals. My definition of theft (and at the risk of sounding cliché, so is Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definition), and therefore cultural appropriation, means a gain for someone AND a loss for another in the context of a person taking property with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. In this context, a white male writing about an Asian woman, using inspiration from another culture’s typical apparel, and following the same architectural model as Greek buildings would NOT be cultural appropriation. I believe, as well as author Parul Seghal, that “entering into another’s consciousness enlarges our own” (8). Seghal furthers this representation by using a female Pakistani novelist’s opinion on other’s cultures being socially frowned upon for using her cultural ideals as content when she dictates, “you’re saying: As an American male you can’t understand a Pakistani woman. She is enigmatic, inscrutable, unknowable. She’s other. Leave her and her nation to its …show more content…
If you are using ideals or material from another culture and are unsure whether it could be considered cultural appropriation (physical benefit), or racism, a criteria should be followed to determine merit. I believe Jenni Avin’s seven steps is a very good place to look when determining the morality of some content or ideal that is based from a different culture. With the definition and criteria I set in place, people should be able to more effectively argue their stances on content considered to be cultural appropriation, as well reduce the confusion between racism and cultural appropriation. Although the issues on the merit behind borrowing from another culture may not be over, my definition and criteria would be the impetus for progressive conversation to occur surrounding the cultural appropriation

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