The thing about the cultural appropriation vs. cultural appreciation/cultural exchange debate is that I feel like a lot of us E/SE Asian people do want to share our culture with others??? I can’t speak for other groups as I feel it’s not my place, but I can speak from my own experience as an Asian person.
Like there are infinite resources we have available to teach ANYONE our languages!!! You can google the significance of wearing the kind of clothing we do! Dictionaries and online lessons abound!!!
And our food? Heck, my parents are IMPRESSED when a non-Viet person can eat the food we freely offer them. I try to invite my friends to try Chinese and Vietnamese food all the time! I’d love to 飲茶 with so many of my friends who a majority of them aren’t even Asian and the prospect of them having a new world of food for them excites me!
Our art? My lion dance association offers lessons free to EVERYONE! As one master told my team one time, we are the result of the work of some very open minded people. Because a long time ago, Chinese wouldn’t teach martial arts to non-Chinese, so I myself am the result of the work of open minded people. Moreover, we have public festivals celebrating our arts and culture!
We love cultural exchange, we enjoy having our culture RESPECTFULLY appreciated.
But here’s the problem, there are people who don’t care about that. They bastardize our languages, cuisine, arts, etc. for some ~aesthetic~ or even just because of some sick fetish of us. That’s what we have a problem with. If you don’t care about our culture why should you be using any part of it!? I mean, I suppose it’s your problem if you make a fool of yourself getting a tattoo in 漢字 that you think says your mother’s name but really says “pork fried rice” but let’s think about it, you didn’t even care about someone’s thousands year old language to at least consult a dictionary (google translate don’t cut it) to confirm something says what you think it says? Of course that’s one example but it’s late. I just got off work and I just wanna eat and study.
Thanks for coming to my TED talk.