Cultural Appropriation Essay

1175 words - 5 pages

Jaya Bedi, a 24 years old woman, who lives in Hartford, says “What makes the non-south Asian person’s use of the bindi problematic is the fact that a pop star like Selena Gomez wearing one is guaranteed to be better received than I would if I were to step out of the house rocking a do on my forehead” (“Beyond Bindis: Why Cultural Appropriation Matters”, 2013). Scafidi, an American lawyer, legal scholar, advocate, nonprofit executive, and the Writer of “Who Owns Culture? Appropriation and Authenticity in American Law” (2005), suggests that the definition of cultural appropriation is “taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artifacts from someone else’s culture without permission… This can include unauthorized use of another culture’s dance, dress, music, language, folklore, cuisine, traditional medicine, religious symbols, etc. it is most likely to be harmful when the source community is a minority group that has been oppressed or exploited in other ways, or when the object of appropriation is particularly sensitive, e.g. sacred objects”. This definition is similar to the definition of plagiarism, the practice of taking someone else’s intellectual property and work, and passing them off as one’s own.
It can be said without doubt that cultural appropriation is the product of the many years of Imperialism and colonization, as well as that it triggers conflicts. Some people see the use of someone else’s or their own traditions for marketing, profit, or without knowing the meaning behind is utterly disrespectful. On the other hand, some people claim that it is not appropriation, but rather, appreciation. Cultural appropriation is harmful to cultures because it can lead to creating negative stereotypes and it oppresses the source-culture.
First of all, Cultural appropriation is deemed controversial because it can cause people to generate a negative stereotype of the source-culture. One of the most popular forms of cultural appropriation is, for instance, the use of Chinese characters, wearing native-American war bonnet, or styling the hair into dreadlocks, without any intention of understanding the meaning behind them “just for fun”. This can produce a negative stereotype of the source-culture, and makes people see a version of the original culture that was “manufactured” by people who are from outside that culture instead of portraying how these people truly are. It can lead the outsiders into thinking that the culture is “strange” or “exotic”. Also, people from the minority culture will be instantly linked to certain things from their culture, nothing less and nothing more. In another way, portraying these cultures with certain objects reinforces the stereotype that the people of a certain culture are all the same.
Second of all, cultural appropriation is problematic because it can cause oppression. Oppression is the use of power in a cruel way or an unjust manner, and the social support of mistreatment and...

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