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Cultural appropriation - what it means to you?
Hi All, 

First of all before I get into the weeds of this conversation I want to state openly I am white and do not claim to understand the full complexities of cultural appropriation. I do not want to see any hurtful comments about anyone's background in the comments this is more a topic I wish to gain more education on in a safe space. I've been a long term committed relationship of several years with someone who is not white (of Latin descent) and consider my circle of friends to be very diverse. I never really have had any issues with my relationship, but recently when meeting new people from various communities, I end up besieged by heavy topics like systematic racism. Most of the topics I truly do understand. I get why being of a certain background poses certain challenges and why someone might feel just as uncomfortable as I a gay man would feel introducing himself to a bunch of straight homophobic men in a small town. I see the disparity between races and it infuriates me.

Yet, one topic still leaves me grappling with confusion. Cultural appropriation. I struggle to understand the difference between appreciation and appropriation especially as culture is always evolving, and historically is shared. I view culture as something everyone wishes to appreciate and celebrate. Be that how we use lingo, hairstyles one has, or the clothing we wear. There's vast difference between what I would consider overt racism or perhaps stereotypes, e.g the portrayal of natives in old american movies, or the disgraceful use of blackface during the 1930s and 40s. To me this is about taking the culture and mocking it which is no doubt where the term comes from. Yet, in a modern world or woke generations and exclusivity cultural appropriation seems illogical and nonsensical because it limits the culture to one group. I believe that being inclusive means it is open to the world and by doing this culture evolves. The idea of something not being for someone seems so counter-active. I once heard someone say that gay men shouldn't use black lingo because it's cultural appropriation. I never viewed it this way but now I find myself thinking before using something that always just seemed to be integrated into the current LGBT+ community. On the other-side I once heard a gay man complain about things being stolen from queer culture. I.e drag becoming to mainstream, that is was not right a straight man could do drag or a woman, that healthcare services used the rainbow during the pandemic, the list goes on. To me I never viewed queer culture as something to be exclusive to me or my fellow queers. Perhaps I am naive, maybe I was raised in a detached reality that is deaf to the ears of someone repressed or hurt by cultural appropriation.  I find it hard to hear someone say that is not for you.

What does cultural appropriation mean to you?
A good example of cultural appropriation is what I saw a lot of in old cartoons I used to watch when I was a kid, think looney toons where they had an American Indian (Native American) wearing a bunch of feathers dancing around a fire going "hiya hiya hiya"

[Image: mcdpepa_ec105_h.jpg]

It taking a lazy stereotype about a race, culture or group of people and not being particularly respectful.
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