Cultural Appropriation

My Facebook friend shared an article about a young celebrity schooling people on cultural appropriation. I never heard of the term so after reading the article I looked it up and read further on Wikipedia.

Now, I love different cultures and always have. I believe in showing respect to the different cultures that people belong to. But I was left thinking about being white in America and how it seems I don’t really have a culture. That’s probably not true, but when I think about me being a part of a culture, I feel like I don’t fit in anywhere. And now I am not allowed to adopt anyone else’s culture because I am part of a majority, at least that what I have got from it.

I love Asian culture and have a deep respect for it. I believe there are concepts that I and other people as well can learn from and even adopt. I am studying Japanese language and cook Japanese food. From what I have gathered, Japanese people want to share their culture with the world. I have never intended to show any disrespect to Asians.

Being disrespectful and exploiting cultures is wrong. People are being cheapened when that happens and people are of great value and should be shown great respect. Referring to the Huffington Post article, when does making music in a certain cultural style disrespect that culture? Hip-hop is known to have developed in America. And America is filled with people of different cultures, having arrived here either ethically or non-ethically. It seems that it has become a part of American culture, so shouldn’t all the Americans have dibs on it? I know it has been traditionally a part of Black culture, but does that keep it off limits to Natives, Asians, Hispanics, Europeans, Middle Easterns, etc.? I am being genuine. Can culture really be “stolen,” as the Wikipedia article mentions? I don’t think every circumstance where a person from one culture uses or adopts something from another is disrespectful.

Being white always will keep me shoved in a certain group. I haven’t experienced racism or prejudice, at least not knowingly. So I say anything in regards to other cultures with humility, knowing I haven’t felt what they have felt. I can’t help that. I can help how I treat every single person. I can educate people on the beauty of other cultures and the stupidity of being racist and prejudice.


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