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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.
"I’m not expecting to grow flowers in a desert, but I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime"
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Just white people over thinking things.
If it's called cultural appropriation, then it's proving, by some of us adopting habits and tendencies, that integration is working, or that a welcome is being sent out to minorities, in terms of trends and admired behaviours and fashions! If we expect minorities to adapt to our own culture, without returning the honour, that would be patronising and selfish.  If we choose to wear what they wear, and we're doing it for simple, un-political statement reasons, that should be all there is to it.  If an Englishman, in Britain, orders out, should he avoid all but traditionally English/British food types and combinations, so that he doesn't get an "Indian" meal?...or, a "Chinese" meal type? that he can't be accused of appropriation?  If integration is so important, wouldn't what the Left describe as "appropriation" merely be a sign that a little more integration has just taken place?

If we are accused of cultural appropriation, then the accuser is anti-integration, and they're the one with the problem...not us!  If an English man moves to a border town, near Mexico, and decides to learn the language so that he can chat with the Mexicans travelling into, or living in, north of the border that appropriation?  God, help him if he decides to buy one of those big, Mexican hats...would that be appropriation, also?

In the film, "The Hunt", one of the bad guys appears, wearing a kimono.  One of the other characters shouts at the man and accuses him of "appropriation".  So, the bad guy in the kimono should what?...take it off?  (He's fully dressed under it.)  What is the man supposed to have put on the kimono because of?  "Oh, this is a Japanese garment...I'll put it on because it'll show that I fully accept those Japanese folk with whom I work or travel, every day"? 

(I seriously recommend that you watch that film, "The Hunt", because it will show you how ridiculous the Left are with their obsessive observance of ANY imagined trendy thing that "all the other Lefties" are thinking and doing - including one moment when one of the bad guys uses the word "guys".  A woman seated nearby picks him up on it and he apologises, "I'm sorry - I gendered it.".  It's so ridiculous!)

It's just more insanity from the Left, and should be ignored!  I certainly ignore it - and those of the minorities just have a laugh at how many different ways the Left in our countries knock themselves out, to cover every mindless possibility in behaviour, to virtue-signal their "trendiness" to those around them.  Those Lefties are just trying to out-impress all of their own people, so that they are seen engaged in their mindless crowd-pleasing and might earn themselves a little silver star award in their life stories!

Stefan R.  (That "R" is the initial of my surname, "Romir" (formerly "Rominsky") - should I change it in case somebody considers me to be committing an "appropriation" offence, against the Polish, because I'm a British citizen, not Polish?)
Beautifully (and erotically) dressed always beats undressed!

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