Essay about Cultural Appropriation

Category: Culture
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Cultural Appropriation, by some it’s seen as an adoption culture being stolen away from a dominant group. Mostly, people view cultural appropriation as simply the adoption of some particular cultural aspects of another culture. Cultural appropriation is starting to become more evident in everyday life as in commodity designs, games, movies, celebrations, and fashion. However, regardless of the fact that some of the cultural foundations are adopted positively or without bad intentions, they negatively affect the subjects especially if borrowed from the minority groups. People view cultural appropriation as offensive, disrespect to their culture, exaggeration of stereotypes, and measures for the commodification of vital cultural foundations that deserves respect. For instance, it is clear that Christians will be offended if the non-believers frequently use the image of Jesus Christ when turning water to wine. Although the users may not have intended to cause harm, Christians will feel that it is inappropriate to use holy images and representations in an ungodly way. Therefore, cultural appropriation is harmful to the subjects especially when the adopters are misinformed about the basis of the subject culture.

People around the world need to take into consideration the feelings of all cultures, in order to seize the harmful effects to the people and cultures that feel impacted, when the adopters are misinformed about the basis of the subject culture. Culture Appropriation is a growing matter that doesn’t seem to have any end to it, people want to adopt these culture into their everyday life or try to recreate culture in their own way, by doing so they create stereotypes, misrepresentation of the culture they feel that they are doing them “Justice” by thinking they are letting others know more about the culture. At the end they are just simply doing more harm than helping. Hopefully with this essay others see the harm they create when they feel they are “honoring” other cultures.

In today’s modern world there are many people that feel as though they are cultural appropriators that are honoring the minority cultures, by wearing a copy of other culture traditional attire. The dominate culture have a false understanding on what they are doing with other peoples culture, in their mind they think they are honoring a culture. On the other hand, subjects feel that the adoption of vital cultural elements by unfamiliar people is offensive. While subjects heavily value their cultural foundations such as clothing, and cultural celebrations, the cultural appropriators are misinformed, and most of the adoptions are out of ignorance. Thus, the affected view cultural appropriations as kind of mimic and not honor or respect of their culture (Bredin, 1097). In the fashion industry these elements are also ignored, they do it for their own benefit and profitable outcome, they have models wear what other cultures take pride in. Another example of culture appropriation is the adoption of cultures celebrations that only having a deep meaning to the culture.

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is when they celebrate the day they were able to defeat the French, in Ireland St. Patrick’s day is where they celebrate the day Saint Patrick died, these cultures celebrations have been adopted by the dominate group and celebrate it according to what they think the culture would. When the culture are being displayed as drunks or fools by how their celebration is treated, they already feel misrepresented. They are offended by the fact that the majority are inappropriately adopting other people cultural artifacts. The unsuitable adoption is offensive since it is performed against the standards observed in a given culture. The dominate culture should try to avoid adopting other people cultural relics without first being informed of the rationale for observing such cultural elements, who should observe them, and when. Cultural Adoption should be respected and not a way to create more misrepresentation and stereotypes.

In most of the cases, the cultural appropriation is either overrepresented or misrepresented. In characters of the games and movies, the developers modify and decontextualize the representation of the cultural elements or emphasize some of the most believed stereotypes. For instance, after an analysis of 149 games, Vasalou, Asimina, et al. established that most of the black masculine characters are represented as athletic, fierce or both. In regards to the Native Americans, the male characters are manifested as vengeful and determined to initiate wars. On the other hand, females are exhibited as sexual objects with only the ability are known for is to perform simple tasks. In most of the movies, most of the criminals, drugs peddlers, and needy are blacks. Although these character personalities are borrowed from the fact that the people represented are natives, the historical underpinning should not progress the representation of people as uncivilized. Besides, the historical view of African Americans as slaves and criminals as a result of color should not be evident in the twentieth century.

Suh, Jun, and Gary noted that it is difficult for misrepresented cultures to convince the outside world that they are not as exemplified in the popular media outlets. For instance, there is a stereotype that people from Arab nations are terrorists. If they are represented that way in the widespread media such as games and movies, the ideas will be emphasized in the mind of the users, and it will be difficult to convince them otherwise. With Cultural Appropriation manifesting in this way , it will be difficult for people as Muslims or Arabs to live peacefully in other parts of the world, other people will always see and consider them terrorists. Making a huge misrepresentation of the people and culture puts those in harm’s way when others believe they are the villains, and in order to stop them they will take necessary means to restrict them or even at worst cases eliminate them. Cultural Appropriation becomes a really big problems when the culture and people are misrepresented and put in dangers way.

Another example of cultural appropriation is how it has been used in ways that has disrespected and commodified some of the notable cultural aspects. People utilize these cultural facets that are dearly valued by the origin culture for business purposes. When designs of other culture is taken for business purposes and not given proper recognition they feel offended, if a writer were to copy word by word another writers work without giving them credit that’s plagiarizing, when the dominate culture takes a design of another culture could that be consider stealing. When the dominate culture borrow designs, they don’t consider the value of a specific design that a culture take pride in, the united states take pride in their red and blue strips as well as the eagle, take that and try to replicate for business purpose, it will be taken as an offense, why does a culture take what belongs to the U.S. citizens?, they have no right to use it in their own home town. The esteemed cultural aspects are turned like any other product that traded in the market. While the outside world will view these cultural borrowed designs as beauty, the source culture considers that an offense to their cultural beliefs (Vasalou, Asimina, et al. 2). For instance, Native American Culture highly values the feather headdresses, and the wearer should have gained the required status before wearing them. However, it is important to note that numerous designs costumes in the global fashion market have been inspired by the Native American culture such as headdresses, this has been in their culture for centuries they would definitely feel offended. The Native Americans value their culture and view the borrowing of the above cultural aspect to be disrespectful.

Essentially, the goal of the cultural appropriation is to portray the superiority of the white American culture and others as inferior. The author has already indicated that in the movies and games, African Americans are represented as violent and criminals, while the Native Americans are signified uncivilized than the dominate culture as the heroes and the idol that some aspire to be. Historically, African Americans were subjected to Jim Crow laws and other racial discriminative practices, they felt that this type of law needed to be implemented as they saw African American as an uncivilized and uneducated culture that needed to be stopped from spreading their ideas and “disease” into the dominate culture (States News Service, 2017) . Currently, they are also considered as drug addicts, killers, and criminals this culture has been stereotyped as delinquents from the early 1890 giving them no chance to prove themselves differently.

With this culture being misrepresented for centuries this way it only makes sense for other to see them as the large majority of inmates and criminals jailed or imprisoned. Since the early years cultural appropriation has been around where the whites started to portray blacks and other cultures as inferior. This cultural appropriation is still around in the modern years, it has changed on what is aspect of the culture is being used for instance, some of blackness cultural orientations by the whites include treatment to increase the size of lips, buttocks, and breasts as well as tanning to blacken the skin. While some of the white people will conduct these changes with no intended harm, Africans will consider them offensive (Daily Beast, 2018). Historically, these changes were done by the whites to depict African Americans as sex structures and the exotic nature of the blackness.

[bookmark: _gjdgxs]When it comes down to cultural appropriation, one should be more than willing to accept that their culture is being accepted in certain communities, it could just well be the first step into introducing new movements and the appreciation of that culture. During the fifties new music was being made mostly by African American, if culture appropriation were a problem back at that time like it is now, one should start to imagine the world without jazz, blues , rock and rap (Bredin, 1098). Only when the people at that time started to accept the new music coming out, others started to accept the new culture, thus the start of a great movement in the music industry. Today people are more fond into films and have a better mature understanding of things, when certain race are portrayed in a bad light in the films some are quick to stand up for what is happening to that culture at times even learn more about that specific culture and spread the truth and trouble that one is going through. Without the culture being exposed in film, media etc. no one would truly know about the fascinating culture (Bredin, 1098). Cultural appropriation enhances growth nationally in fashion industry, development of the media and other vital social and political aspects. An example of this is in the new Korean wave that has enhanced the popularity of Korean culture all over the world.

Both the old and young generations enjoy the k-pop that includes music, television series, movies, and performances (Suh, Jun, & Gary, 2722). Frequently, Korean singers organize shows in parts of the United States and other nations like Europe. As a result, people from all over the world are determined to visit Korea or learn a few elements of Korean culture. However, it is essential to note that other cultures do not facilitate the popularity of Korean culture at a global level. It is spread and campaigned for by the Korean people (Suh, Jun, & Gary, 2722). If it were a topic that the Koreans didn’t want all nations to know about it, it would be considered offensive, to see other people mimic some of the aspects of Korean culture as a result of its popularity or for profit gains. It is a given that Korean people gain popularity and wealth through an expression of their cultural artifacts. Actually, people need to be culturally competent through learning other people behaviors, languages, and beliefs. Nevertheless, they should not adopt other people behaviors blindly. Also, supporters of cultural appropriation argue that it enhances the rights of expression in regards to artistic work. It gives them the opportunity to think beyond the boundaries of the culture in order to enhance creativity and exemplary artwork (Zushi,2015). However, creativity should be expressed within the proper standards in order to ensure that some of the aspects borrowed do not harm people from the culture of origin.


It is clear that cultural appropriation, especially through misrepresentation, and with the spread of stereotypes by the dominant race and the disrespect of cultural foundations, offends the people and culture. A good example of this is the misrepresentation that the African Americans hold, they are seen as violent people that are oriented to crime. Also with the portrayal of Native Americans that make them seem as people that are uncivilized. It starts to get difficult to change these cultural stereotypes, especially if authors profoundly manifest them through popular media such as games and movies. For instance, it is difficult for Arabs to convince people that they are not terrorists if they are represented in such way in movies and films. Moreover, there are instances where culturally appropriated artifacts are presented in disrespectful ways, when they are not taken into consideration when being borrowed from the culture.

For instance, the feather headdresses that are highly valued by the Native Americans, those that have attained that status that gives them the right to wear such headdress they worked hard for, on the other hand people have adopted them and started using them in the fashion industry without truly considering the status of the feathers or their real representation they hold to other culture. Another great example of this is if the non-believers in religion where to take images of a specific religion and use it as a sort of entertainment, it would be a fair bet that those of that religion would rise with an outburst and call out the people that have greatly disrespected the object that they see holy. Then it’s clear that cultural appropriation would cause the same reaction and offend the culture being misrepresented. people should be familiar with other people’s culture and avoid harmful cultural appropriation, if when wanting to borrow from a specific culture one should take time to consider the harm that culture has already gone through and if by borrowing a specific item from them will cause an outbreak, one should reconsider the item, to keep the peace with that culture.

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