Cultural appropriation IS taking culturally significant items like headdresses or special ritual garbs out of context and using them as costume.
Cultural appropriation IS NOT utilizing cultural garbs within their proper context.
Cultural appropriation IS taking religious practices out of context or with minimal knowledge and using them regardless.
Cultural appropriation IS NOT respectfully following a religions practices as prescribed.
Cultural appropriation IS choosing to participate or self initiate into religions that are closed to outsiders.
Cultural appropriation IS NOT being initiated by a practicing member of that closed religion, even though you’re not from that region or ethnicity
Cultural appropriation IS disrespectful use of any aspect of a culture that is culturally significant to that culture.
Cultural appropriation IS NOT respectfully learning about and engaging within a specified cultures practices
Culture IS complex. Cultures spread and wane in phases over time and over geographical locations, especially now in a world where many countries are no longer geographically isolated from one another
Culture is NOT a clearly delineated arrangement of highly divided groups of people. Cultures rarely exist in a singular space or among a singular group of people anymore. Globalization has contributed to cultures being scattered, mixed, and blended among one another throughout the last several hundred years or more.
Many practices are not reminiscent of one particular culture and exist across many of them.
All cultures pull connections from a similar set of long-gone ancestral practices that evolved in separated pockets over the last several thousand years.
Cultural appropriation can be a serious and damaging problem, but this site has a horrible tendency to throw it around every time someone who SEEMS disconnected from a particular region expresses even the slightest iota of interest in learning about another culture. This behavior is divisive and unproductive. We need to celebrate and respect the cultures that have flourished and evolved throughout our history WITHOUT condemning anyone’s willingness to learn and interact with them.
Educate kindly and engage thoughtfully. There’s a great deal of beauty to this world, the knowledge of which should be encouraged to be learned about by as many people as possible. Knowledge is powerful. It can stomp out ignorance and replace hate with understanding and acceptance.