Cultural Appropriation Essay

1043 words - 5 pages

Nia Newton
Professor Wilson
English 112
31 October 2015
Cultural Appropriation
As the United States population continues to increase so does the number of ethnic minorities. With an increase of ethnic minorities comes an increase of different cultures brought into our society. Some people of different ethnicities attempt to adopt the cultures of others incorrectly causing cultural appropriation. As defined by the Washington Post cultural appropriation is, “a dominant group adopting/trivializing elements of [an oppressed groups] culture without acknowledging the existence of its original source” (Blagrove). This has become a yet another serious, but overlooked problem in America. ...view middle of the document...

Appropriation is not a crime according to Young, “It’s a way to breathe new life into culture”.
Unfortunately, cultural appropriation IS a crime when the culture is replicated for the wrong reasons. One does not have the right to adopt someone’s culture without the proper research of that minority’s heritage. You are better off telling a person I hate you but I still want all the things that make you. Cultural appropriation “trivializes violent, historical oppression” (Johnson); it is morally incorrect to trend someone’s culture that was once oppressed by the person of trend. Often when culture is appropriated, credit is not given to the ethnicity of which it came from. Most ethnicities feel as if it is wrong to steal someone’s culture without granting credit. Often the culture that has been appropriated is misused, for example Hindu tattoos and religious markings on non religious American bodies. We permanently mark ourselves with others cultures religious symbols, however we do not follow their religious path. Most have no understanding of the Hindu religion, the tattoo just seemed to look “cool”, and that was the only reason needed.
Misusing or misrepresenting someone’s culture as a fashion trend is utterly disrespectful. An example of trendy cultural appropriation is Katy Perry’s Asian appropriation at the AMA’S. The American pop star performed at the American Music Awards in 2013 in what has been described by the media as a geisha inspired, performance of her song titled “Unconditionally”. The Asian population was repulsed by her performance, insisting Katy Perry misrepresented the geisha women by using them in her performance. During her performance Katy Perry also mixed the Chinese and Japanese cultures together, ultimately offending both races, “Japan and China are not the same country. Meshing their completely separate cultures together is a common racist view by Western society” (Sanchez). Another example includes Kylee Jenner’s Instagram post of her hair in straight back braids. Amandla Stenberg recently spoke out against Kylee Jenner’s hair style as well as her caption in her Instagram (online social media) photo. She felt as if it was completely disrespectful for Kylee to dress herself and speak as if she was an African...

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