Cultural Appreciation vs Cultural Appropriation

Cultural Appreciation vs Cultural Appropriation

This is a topic that I covered with some diverse friends where I honestly learned so much. This is a reoccurring problem that happens time and time again and constantly overlooked by people who share my background time and time again so I think this myTake is called for.

Let's say you painted something at school in art class. It's a painting that you're so very proud of. You're proud of yourself painting it. The teacher in your art class places everyone's painting in a display exhibit for all of the public to see. The teacher adds a 'twist' to your work of art by painting an extra tree, or a mountain, or a dog, or a small design without your knowledge or permission before it's placed on display. Your art teacher places your painting on display with their name on it. The public loves your art teacher's painting so much that they take pictures of it, post it on social media, your teacher gets money for your painting, and your teacher is claiming 100% responsibility of your painting when asked and giving no credit to you at all.

When you confront your teacher for taking credit for your painting they tell you that you didn't own your painting. In fact all painting is about is art and nobody really owns art and telling you to just get over it. Imagine how you'd feel after someone literally stole something like that from you. Manipulating something that you personally created and taking all the credit for it. Instead of a painting, imagine this happening to something that's deeply rooted in your heritage or even your family.

Cultural Appreciation

This is self-explanatory. You see something that looks way neat. Maybe it's an item, a food recipe, a dance, a dress/suit, etc. You enjoy it so much that you use it, you buy it, you wear it, you dance it, you cook it, etc. You don't even know where it came from or who originated it all you know is you love it.

Cultural Appropriation

This is when you're using the item and not giving any credit to the originators, the culture of where that item came from, or respecting the meaning of the item.

What to remember

If you never want to face the consequences of Cultural Appropriation,

  • Give credit to the originators.
  • Respect the reason for what something was created or made for.
  • Do some research if you're not sure where something is from.
  • Be open to learning something new.
  • Don't let your lack of knowledge lead you.

Being unknowledgeable about something is no excuse to remain ignorant. Though if you find something from the thrift store that you like you can't really trace it to where it came from but you know where you've found it. Take a picture of it and do a search by picture in Google.

Go to a cultural community center

This is the place that will save you! If you've made active effort in asking about another culture and learning about the origins of something with the little knowledge that you have, it will literally save you. This is where you'll find elders of the culture. They are there to help the public to understand their culture and what they are about. They normally host galas, dances, and events where there's food, music, and awesome classes about how to remain aware. These centers are so important to all communities. You'll learn a lot, make friends, and eat good food and all that they want is support. Go there and you won't regret it, I promise.

Share what you've experienced

Have you been impacted by cultural appropriation? What did you learn? What was your experience? I’d like to hear it.

Thank you for your time reading my myTake. It was fun to write about. Please let me know if I didn’t add anything or if I may have something wrong that needs correction. I’m still learning about this myself and I appreciate you.

Cultural Appreciation vs Cultural Appropriation
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