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In defence of cultural appropriation

GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 Jul 20 - 07:42 PM
fat B****rd 01 Jul 20 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,Modette 01 Jul 20 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 Jul 20 - 12:14 PM
Donuel 30 Jun 20 - 10:35 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Jun 20 - 06:12 AM
Howard Jones 29 Jun 20 - 09:48 AM
Steve Gardham 29 Jun 20 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,Modette 29 Jun 20 - 08:36 AM
Howard Jones 29 Jun 20 - 07:43 AM
GUEST,GUEST, AnMal in Sweden 28 Jun 20 - 08:04 PM
GUEST 28 Jun 20 - 02:10 PM
Jeri 28 Jun 20 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,Lighter 28 Jun 20 - 12:47 PM
Jack Campin 28 Jun 20 - 11:56 AM
Steve Gardham 28 Jun 20 - 10:04 AM
GUEST,GUEST, AnMal in Sweden 28 Jun 20 - 09:14 AM
GUEST 27 Jun 20 - 07:25 PM
Lighter 27 Jun 20 - 12:29 PM
Dave the Gnome 06 Jan 16 - 10:39 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Oct 15 - 09:58 AM
wysiwyg 22 Oct 15 - 04:00 PM
Jeri 22 Oct 15 - 11:22 AM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Oct 15 - 10:59 AM
Richard Bridge 22 Oct 15 - 10:49 AM
Richard Bridge 22 Oct 15 - 10:47 AM
Jack Campin 21 Oct 15 - 06:55 PM
GUEST,21 Oct 15 - 08:11 AM 21 Oct 15 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,cultural mutt 21 Oct 15 - 06:08 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Oct 15 - 04:59 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Oct 15 - 04:49 PM
wysiwyg 21 Oct 15 - 03:06 PM
GUEST,21 Oct 15 - 08:11 AM 21 Oct 15 - 11:56 AM
Richard Bridge 21 Oct 15 - 10:50 AM
GUEST 21 Oct 15 - 08:11 AM
Richard Bridge 21 Oct 15 - 07:22 AM
Richard Bridge 20 Oct 15 - 10:10 PM
Jack Campin 20 Oct 15 - 07:45 PM
wysiwyg 20 Oct 15 - 06:08 PM
Richard Bridge 20 Oct 15 - 06:38 AM
theleveller 20 Oct 15 - 05:07 AM
GUEST,Peakers 20 Oct 15 - 12:30 AM
Richard Bridge 20 Oct 15 - 12:21 AM
GUEST,Peakers 19 Oct 15 - 11:28 PM
CupOfTea 19 Oct 15 - 10:15 PM
Richard Bridge 19 Oct 15 - 09:01 PM
wysiwyg 19 Oct 15 - 07:37 PM
Richard Bridge 19 Oct 15 - 06:35 PM
Jack Campin 19 Oct 15 - 04:06 PM
Mo the caller 19 Oct 15 - 01:49 PM
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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 Jul 20 - 07:42 PM

Modette: Bruce is from New Jersey. If 299:300 consumers do not like his fake accent on a song he gets a framed platinum trophy and a fat six-figure bonus check. You're welcome... and a camp is a category.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: fat B****rd
Date: 01 Jul 20 - 01:05 PM

To quote Francis Ford Coppola "If you're going to steal, steal from the best"


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: GUEST,Modette
Date: 01 Jul 20 - 12:39 PM

Totally wrong, Phil. There are those who categorise and those who don't. I know which camp is the more welcoming.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 Jul 20 - 12:14 PM

There are only three types of people in the world, the evil, the ignorant and the hip. Defending the ignorant from the evil is the hip person's burden in life.

Bruce Springstein not being a British pop singer does not make that "American accent" his real voice. He's from east New Jersey, not west Okla-tana, or wherever.

Ask any hipster, Harry Belafonte's and Arthur Lyman's Yellow Bird are the English pop songs stolen from the Haitian Kreyole folk song Choucoune. No music was listened to in the forming of this hipness. One 'English cover' does not exist, the other is an instrumental and the Haitian original is petite bourgeoisie lounge music.

Africa is, and always was, a continent. It does not matter how hip the spelling, it ain't, and never was, a race, culture, country, ethnicity or music.

Best to approach all such like assuming one is the stoopidest (two o's) least decent human that ever fell out of the clown car. It won't always be true of course, but believing the opposite is just as unhip.

On the bright side, you'll have a lot less to protest in life.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Donuel
Date: 30 Jun 20 - 10:35 PM

The great ones employ other people's music
Begginers steal.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Jun 20 - 06:12 AM

Whilst I generally agree with Howard that there is a lot of nonsense attached to CA there are varying degrees of effects it can have. At one end of the spectrum you have the many pop singers all around the world adopting American accents to sing in(bloody annoying! Why?) and at the other you get countries passing laws to copyright the names of items of food etc. engendering heated legal cases, and right-wingers deliberately provoking violence by mocking other cultures.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Howard Jones
Date: 29 Jun 20 - 09:48 AM

Err, it was a spoof video,Howard, and not the only one she's made.

I dare say. That didn't prevent it from being widely ridiculed, although I think the claims the nation was "outraged" weretypical journalistic exaggeration. I'm not sure people could decide whether or not it was a spoof - on the one hand it was all so wrong that it surely couldn't be serious, on the other hand she's American...

It does cast a light on the nonsense of cultural appropriation. It's not like tea is native to the UK. The American way of making tea (unspoofed) is fairly vile, but it that's how they like it who are we to criticise?


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Jun 20 - 09:15 AM

AnMal
It's not the leaders themselves that are worrying me, it's the people putting them in power.

With CA it is the intent that is obviously the real problem, and unfortunately intent is not always overt or provable. As someone has already stated CA can be seen as complimentary. When we get right down to basics most racism stems from fear of the 'other' and CA done sympathetically can help to reduce that fear.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: GUEST,Modette
Date: 29 Jun 20 - 08:36 AM

Err, it was a spoof video,Howard, and not the only one she's made.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Howard Jones
Date: 29 Jun 20 - 07:43 AM

All cultures have borrowed from others (taken if you prefer) and adapted them to their own needs. It can be annoying to see others get them 'wrong' but no culture can claim a monopoly on ideas. It's not just minority cultures, for example an attempt by an American to make a video showing how to make a British cup of tea has drawn ridicule here.

Claims of cultural appropriation often seem to be really about other ways that culture is treated. For example there have been complaints from black people about white people wearing their hair in cornrows. Now whilst hair braiding is a big thing in black culture it is not uniquely African and has been practised in many cultures for thousands of years. The real issue is that whereas on whites it is seen as cool and fashionable, when blacks do it they get negative reactions. One boy took his school to court because he was told it was against their rules on hair.

Some of the things done in its name, such as student unions banning fancy dress, seem ridiculous to me. When I was a student, racism meant the Holocaust, the Civil Rights movement, apartheid, "No Blacks, no Irish" signs in pubs. It didn't mean wearing someone else's hat.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: GUEST,GUEST, AnMal in Sweden
Date: 28 Jun 20 - 08:04 PM

Steve Gardham:
I see it a bit differently, actually. I honestly think we are seeing changes and progress made today that would not have been possible in earlier generations. Of course there are political currents today that scare me and make me feel rather powerless, but I also see people willing to protest and speak up in a way that didn't in the ver beginning of this millennium. And the generations growing up right now seem so much better at seeing through the injustice of certain traditions than my generation ever was.

Jack Campin:
The Bihor story makes me smile when I think of it! Me and my husband watched comedian Jack WHitehall and his dad go on a European trip together and they went to Bihor to shop. They had to put up with paying fair prices, and I think they were not entirely prepared for that :).


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jun 20 - 02:10 PM

I can appreciat complaints from minority groups about things that are significant to their culture. What really pisses me off is the "white saviour" type.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Jun 20 - 01:08 PM

I'm all for giving credit to the originating culture, but has anyone else thought the folk music IS cultural appropriation?
As Americans, we have our toe in the water of many cultures, but does heritage allow me to use facets of some culture? There isn't much in the USA, if anything, that didn't originate with some "other" culture.

Personally, I'm not going to worry about it.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 28 Jun 20 - 12:47 PM

AnMal, well said.

The philosophy opposed to "cultural appropriation" would logically require ethnic minorities everywhere to revert to their "traditional" styles, music, art forms, religions, practices, etc., giving up majority influences. Anything else is "cultural appropriation." And what would be the benefit of that?

Of course "CA" is tendentiously defined so as to apply only to majority imitation of aspects of minority culture, especially (though not necessarily) to make money. But just as obviously, nobody's culture is being taken away, which is what "appropriation" generally means.

If CA were to end tomorrow, what person would be better off in any way?Meanwhile, real issues with real consequences are made even more complicated through useless entanglement with dead ends like "No More Cultural Appropriation!"


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Jun 20 - 11:56 AM

Bihor vs Dior is a nice example of the appropriated hitting back and winning.

Bihor Couture

There's quite a lot more about it on the web, I first saw it in a French video on FB.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Jun 20 - 10:04 AM

We are fighting a losing battle. I used to think the world was moving forward and globalisation was gradually winning, but fear of the other and greed go hand in hand to set us back half a century. The current crop of people in the world with the power are very frightening. The rich and greedy have almost total power over the media.

I don't despair for myself. I'll be lucky if I can survive 20 more years, but I despair for my family and the good people in this world who are not greedy and not easily led.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: GUEST,GUEST, AnMal in Sweden
Date: 28 Jun 20 - 09:14 AM

(Suppose I should sign up on Mudcatonce and for all since I keep coming back to read threads and have posted a few times over the years - but not right now.)

I have enjoyed the discussion in this thread since it started. Cultural appropriation as a term first showed up in my world when I took took an interdisciplinary course at uni: "Language, culture & identity". I was confused by it back then and started exploring it from as many different angles as I could find. The result is that I'm even more confused now, more than twenty years later. The big problems for me is how words like "culture", "ethnicity", "identity" and "race" get thrown around in debates like they don't need an explanation at all. Who gets to pick the tags? Why is it okay for someone else to decide what or who I am and what culture or cultures I belong to? I think both the article that Dave the Gnome linked to back in 2015 and the one that Lighter linked to now,five years later, showcase the general confusion around these concepts and how badly we really need to rethink and redefine.

At the bottom of it all lie our prejudice towards the Others and the system of racism we've built up for ourselves - I think those are monsters far too big to fight using simple tags and tokens and trying to somehow sort out what is "okay" for anyone to wear, to sing to call themselves, etc. In Sweden (and I assume in many other places) we play a little game when we have our eyes opened to a situation of inequlity: we change the terms we use to talk about it. The swedish word for "cleaning woman", "städerska", was replaced by "lokalvårdare", "caretaker of localities". It was done with the best of intentions, trying to make people look at the underpaid (mostly) women doing hard and necessary jobs with more respect, but it just ended up beng a joke. No wages were raised, and while a few more men (usually with darker skintones than the women who held the jobs traditionally) took up the brooms, they didn't do it voluntarily, with pride to call themselves lokalvårdare. People in general didn't change the way they looked at the man or woman with the mop and bucket. These days we are supposed to use the term "städare" (which is gender neutral) and the workers mostly belong to big cleaning companies and don't get hired directly by the workplaces they work in - a more modern approach to the profession that of course hasn't changed the way people look at it one bit. People in general still think of it as a low status job and are often horrible in their condenscending attitudes towards the people who do it. It is still underpaid. It is still mostly done by the same people (women of working class background, the occasional man of refugee background). A lengthy story but I wanted to make a parallell here. If Sweden doesn't once and for all start improving wages and working conditions for cleaners and start treating them like the equals of the other workers in the workplace, we will never get out of this loop. We will make up new terms and make cosmetic changes forever. And if we don't start dealing with the real problems of racist killings, immigrant unemployment rates, prejudice in courts and police force, neglect of low-income neigbourhoods and estates then we'll be forever removing offensive articles of clothing (with or without just reason) and avoiding singing the songs we love because we haven't really solved the root problems.

I, for one, will strive to listen to people when they criticise me for things like wearing a bindi, I will try to keep up the dialogue but I will refuse to simply be a tag someone else has pasted on me and prescribed a culture that I'm supposed to belong to - that is not how identities work and not how cultures work.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jun 20 - 07:25 PM

Florence: 'I confess! I confess!'
Chorus: 'Me too! Me too! Me too!'


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Lighter
Date: 27 Jun 20 - 12:29 PM

Back in the news. You decide:

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/florence-pugh-apologizes-cultural-appropriation-132700034.html


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Jan 16 - 10:39 AM

Rather than start a new thread I thought I would tag this on here. Not music or fashion this time but food, drink, bars and, potentialy, lifestyle. I am not sure it is as bad as the author says but I found it an interesting viewpoint.

The poor fetish: commodifying working class culture

If anyone feels it deserves a thread of it's own, please feel free to start one.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Oct 15 - 09:58 AM

The obfuscation of the difference between racial prejudice, race discrimination, and racism arises to my mind mostly from those who wish to defend white privilege - for their own advantage.

It's not clear, Richard, whether you mean that distinguishing between those things is obfuscation, or that confusing them is. My feeling is that it can be useful to distinguish between race discrimination - actions and structures which can be made illegal - and racially prejudiced internal thoughts and attitudes which cannot, and which need to be dealt with in other ways.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Oct 15 - 04:00 PM

AR = Anti-Racism. Anti-Racism training is about deliberate action against Systemic Racism.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Jeri
Date: 22 Oct 15 - 11:22 AM

Ifá isn't an acronym, even if Richard Bridge wrote it in all caps.
Wikipedia


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Oct 15 - 10:59 AM

is there another word for inter-ethnic prejudice with no asymetry of power.

Try xenophobia, sometimes spelt with a z. Fear of/hostility towards the stranger. Probably more prevalent in England than racism as such.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Oct 15 - 10:49 AM

The obfuscation of the difference between racial prejudice, race discrimination, and racism arises to my mind mostly from those who wish to defend white privilege - for their own advantage.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Oct 15 - 10:47 AM

IFA is a religion - or perhaps more accurately a belief system. Its origin is Afrikan.

I don't know AR.

Oyinbo is a Yoruba word used to describe white people - but also (although to a lesser extent Afrikans of sharp European style features and/or paler skins including albinos. It has become a generic Afrikan term for white people - to the extent that I may be excused for omitting the correct tone markings. The first two syllables have falling tones and the third a rising tone. I have heard a number of different explanations of the etymology.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Oct 15 - 06:55 PM

Please folks. if you're going to use acronyms or foreign words (IFA, AR, oyinbo) explain them at least once. I've never seen any of them before.

Conversely: the distinction between racial prejudice and racial discrimination was explained to me in primary school in New Zealand about 55 years ago, and not in terms that suggested it was some kind of new discovery even then. How come it isn't still common knowledge in the developed Anglophone world?


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: GUEST,21 Oct 15 - 08:11 AM
Date: 21 Oct 15 - 06:10 PM

Thanks Susan. On reflection most of what I had been thinking was racism may actually be zenophobia, or even just not being from a multicultural environment so not sure how to behave when cautious about someone who is different.

Caution and/or aggression when faced with the unfamiliar is widespread amongst non-human vertibrates. It may be something that we all have to learn to deal with in ourselves and with which some cultures offer more support and reinforcement than others.

I am sure I learned at schools that west African slaves were mainly bought from slave traders, the payment being with goods from Europe. I suppose that may have been a lame attempt to throw some of the responsibility back to Africa, but that doesn't mean it was not true.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: GUEST,cultural mutt
Date: 21 Oct 15 - 06:08 PM

I've often heard it said that a language informs and determines the thought processes of the speakers of that language. Since the history of the English language is a story of perpetual appropriation of words, perhaps we are linguistically pre-programmed for cultural appropriation.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Oct 15 - 04:59 PM

PPPS - I have spoken to my G/F and she is insistent that slavery in Africa predated European involvement as evidenced by the Yoruba word for it that differs from the debt-indenture term. I've forgotten the exact words since she told me this morning - I have in total about 3 words of Yoruba. Bear in mind that Yoruba culture and IFA can be traced back at least 8,000 years. Other Afrikan cultures subsisted before the Yoruba arrived from Egypt.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Oct 15 - 04:49 PM

1. Agreed.
2. Agreed but is not (3) subsumed in the others?
3. You can contact me via PM for email addy and I will bring G/F (who is Yoruba) into the discussion if she accepts
4. Yes. Sorry, but too many oyinbo disguise hostility in dissembling manifestations.
5. I am getting older and grumpier and unfriending and blocking people on facebook at quite a rate. What's an AfAm training leader? What's the training module in question? What's AR training? I'm just going on bump of direction, but thanks for the compliment.

Currently having a row (all right, constructive discussion) on FB with several apparently learned Islamic scholars on Islamic dress standards for Muslim women. Do we object to the discriminatory nature or do we accept the agency of the submissives who wear that stuff (provocation intentional)? I think I've won the argument about whether it is discriminatory.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: wysiwyg
Date: 21 Oct 15 - 03:06 PM

Systemic Racism does. Unfortunately the word "racism" is a loaded and multi-definition term.

In the model I teach, Systemic Racism stands on 3 legs:
Prejudice
Power
"Tradition" about the system (propaganda and myth).

Wish you'd join Mudcat to facilitate continued discussion.

To say more I'd need my laptop instead of this fone. Right now I'm too in love with Richard Bridge's stunning thinking.

Richard, did you characterize a prev post of mine as too generous about assuming good intention?

That came from two places for me. One, if I know someone even a little I usually know and see their b4st side. Two, in the training model I use, EVERYONE is assumed to be intending good. Further, in that model's guidelines, we assume that people are only responsible for knowing a thing AFTER they have heard the correct information. For example I once committed a HUGE faux pas with my AfAm training leader... my supervisor and (that day) we were co-presenting. Huge. In front of and involving the group. We stepped outside while the group was watching a video. She perfectly modeled those training guidelines in how she asked what I had been thinking and then corrected me, thank goodness! And we just boogie on from there... the trainees got to see how this was possible. It works!

This is not to say that I think Mudcat is an AR training. I've been here 15 years and know better. But for me, the assumptions of that training model are so deep in me now that I do rely on them for MY end, or these little discussions would terrify me out of them! ;-)

~Susan.your.ally


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: GUEST,21 Oct 15 - 08:11 AM
Date: 21 Oct 15 - 11:56 AM

Does racism depend on an asymetry of power? If so some of what I have thought was racism isn't racism. Is there another word for inter-ethnic prejudice with no asymetry of power.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Oct 15 - 10:50 AM

I think not. It is the formation of a new and largely syncretic religion. It does not it seems to me involve the adoption of form without understanding, nor the theft of cultural identity. I wonder if the idea of a power structure (or taking from the disempowered) has a place in defining cultural appropriation, in the same way that racism and sexism depend on asymmetry of power.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Oct 15 - 08:11 AM

Is this cultural appropriation ?


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Oct 15 - 07:22 AM

PS - I checked. In West Africa, and in the UK, it is far more usual to refer to "the African Holocaust" (partly at least to get whites to understand) than to the maafa.

PPS - if you want an example of totally unmeritorious cultural appropriation from Miley Cyrus, who only two years ago was saying she would not take advice from "elderly Jewish men"(in the record industry), try this one - https://www.facebook.com/topic/Miley-Cyrus/104061006295771?source=whfrt&position=3&trqid=6208057928623969703


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Oct 15 - 10:10 PM

It's quite hard to know where to start with that, Susan.

Even if I leave out your apparent implication that Israel is a rightful construct, a strongly contentious one in many threads on this forum and in the rest of the world, there seem to me to be many issues to consider.

The furore (this time round) about appropriation of Afrikan cultural heritage appears to have been started by a British-Nigerian commentator, so it's not an oyinbo perception. Some Afrikan commentators assert that before the maafa the practices of servitude in Afrika were not slavery as such, but I think that this overlooks many of the habits that came westward from Egypt and beyond, even before the invasion of Afrika by Xtianity and Islam. Be that as it may, the linguistic experience of trying to reunite the Jewish Diaspora is in the opposite direction to that of the slaves taken from Afrika to America.

It must be admitted that (in a a way somewhat reminiscent of the migrations of British folk song to, round, and back from the Appalachians) aspects certainly of IFA have been preserved by the Afrikan diaspora and now enure to the benefit of Afrikan culture, but along the way syncretic additions (one might say corruptions) have appeared. These, however are analysed by Yoruba (well, mainly Yoruba, I think) scholars who seek to reconstruct the long-standing rituals of the 16-base divination and belief system. But, and it seems to me to be a big but, much of the current appropriation by African-Americans from older Afrikan traditions is without proper context and so damaging to the traditions. If, as is argued above, there are other traditions to which African Americans can cleave, then the misuse of Afrikan traditions is even less justified. It seems to me that to assert the equal validity of more recent cultural barnacles is inapt. From the European (and Afrikan) perspective in time, the USA is a country so new that it has no traditions yet (as distinct from the First Americans), while the traditions of most of the Caribbean (apart from those learned from the slaveowners) are from Afrika. Further, most modern African-Americans reject the blues as being a reflection of slave status - or so I recall from previous discussions here when there actually were some African-Americans participating.

Regrettably, many US slaveowners systematically and deliberately sought to expunge knowledge among slaves of their origins, traditions, and earlier languages, precisely to undermine any sense of identity that might found resistance to slavery in the USA. But, this, I argue, makes it the more important for those in the USA now recovering cultural identity to place things in proper context - even if the very use of a Kiswahili word (the maafa) rather than a word in any other of the Afrikan languages underlines the loss during slavery of more specific regional identities.

I would see myself as an ally rather than an occupier of the modern Pan-Afrikan movement (while noting my resistance to the apparent devotion to claims of regal heritage), so I don't think of what I say as laying down rules to African-Americans. Rather I point out (as nobody else seems, here, to get it or to put) the Afrikan perspective, as far as I understand it, on misuse in America of African traditions.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Oct 15 - 07:45 PM

The position of the African-American (and Caribbean) is I think different. What cultural referents can they adopt with pride other than African ones?

How about African-American or Afro-Caribbean ones? It's not like they failed to create any culture of their own in the New World.

My name comes from Huguenot refugees who arrived in England in the 17th century. There are African-Americans with ancestors who were brought (equally unwillingly) to the Americas even before that. I don't feel any particular reason to ignore everything my folks did in Britian in the intervening centuries in search of some phantom "cultural referent" in French Calvinism.

Bruce Molsky has some intelligent comments about how this played out with musical traditions in the US. A lot of the "Celtic music" thing is thinly disguised racism - its advocates would like American traditional music to be seen as an ethnically pure offshoot of the traditions of some Celtic homeland that never was. As Molsky points out, a heck of a lot of the distinctive sound of American traditional music is of African origin. It was created out of both African traditions and those of the British Isles equally, and the place it was created was in North America itself. It's something both African- and European-Americans could be proud of, if they'd only let themselves.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Oct 15 - 06:08 PM

Richard, it's not up to us (us white folks) to judge how a people torn from their homeland and original cultures go about reclaiming their heritage the best way they can see how to do it. I (and many others) don't think it's so different from Jewish Holocaust survivors choosing to learn Hebrew to re-create their culture in the land of their forebears.

The Africans stolen from their villages to satisfy the greed of European-heritage people originally had as many languages as the surviving Jews had among them when they went "home." Their descendants find ANY way of rebuilding a sense of oneness with Mother Africa deeply meaningful, and that's about them-- not about how others view it from outside that experience. (White folks are so often so eager to say that our way of seeing them is better than their way of seeing themselves!) How often do you surrender your agency to someone else's view of what you should be or do?

The African term for the experience parallel to the Jewish genocide we now call the Holocaust is 'The Maafa.'

~Susan


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Oct 15 - 06:38 AM

I'm not sure of your point, leveller. When the (perceived) non-celts in the UK decide to pretend to be Irish for a day (usually St Patrick's day, but sometimes at Irish music sessions) some of us call them "plastic paddies" in a scornful manner - precisely because of the cultural appropriation involved. When a white Brit overdoes the dreadlocks and rapping about hoes and pool cues, some of us call them "wiggers" in a scornful manner - precisely because of the cultural appropriation involved. It's not all that different to the view that Azaelia Banks has of Iggy Azalea. It seems to me it's about a pretence for the purpose of exploitation.

The position of the African-American (and Caribbean) is I think different. What cultural referents can they adopt with pride other than African ones?

I don't quite get the position of white youth and youth of parentage from the Indian continent adopting, in the UK, the vocal tonalities and mannerisms of Caribbean yardies. It's clearly a form of cultural appropriation, but why? Is it rooted in the same place as the nastily entitled song from the Plastic Ono Band, "Woman is the nigger of the world"?


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: theleveller
Date: 20 Oct 15 - 05:07 AM

Just to change the geographical focus for a moment, I think it's fascinating how we in the UK see ourselves in relation to our cultural heritage – especially in light of the row over immigration and foreigners coming in and supposedly taking over and changing our culture. This was brought home to me by a series of programmes on the Beeb about the Celts, the last of which I watched last night. Although the Celts were 'incomers' to Britain at some undefined point in history, they became more or less indigenous, with tribes spread across most of the British Isles until they were pushed by the Roman invaders into the peripheral areas we now think of as the Celtic nations. Although the Romans lived in Britain for four and a half centuries and, it could be argued, had far more of an impact on our civilisation than the Celts, today there is little blatant Roman influence in popular culture, whereas Celtic influence in the shape of designs, jewellery, tattoos – even their Pagan religion – is to be found everywhere. We like to see ourselves as descendants of the Celts but still think of the Romans as invaders, despite the possibility that many of us have as many Roman genes as Celtic. The same could probably be said of the Anglo Saxon/Norman perception.

So when I said before that cultural appropriation is usually a form of cultural approbation, this is what I meant – people only adopt the styles of cultures that they feel comfortable with or in some way admire.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: GUEST,Peakers
Date: 20 Oct 15 - 12:30 AM

Wasn't sure. Thanks


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Oct 15 - 12:21 AM

*hanged*


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: GUEST,Peakers
Date: 19 Oct 15 - 11:28 PM

Joanne in Cleveland, nice posting.

Recently my older brother revealed our G-Grandpa (a judge in Idaho) had hung his Chinese butler: which may explain my status as the black sheep (literally and figuratively) in a tow-headed family.

Were the implication true
it wouldn't matter one bit


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: CupOfTea
Date: 19 Oct 15 - 10:15 PM

On US TV there is a commercial for a genealogy website of a guy talking about how he grew up wearing lederhosen and doing German folk dance, but after getting his DNA tested, his ancestors weren't German at all! So now he needs to get tricked out in a whole kilt & etc, cause the family was "Scottish"

Balderdash. He's American, and like most of us, probably has a melting pot background. While some groups are clannish and tend to associate and preferably marry those of their own ethnic origin, this is becoming a more difficult way to live. Europe seems to becoming more sensitive to changes in their nationality mix as immigrants and refugees pour in. As fewer and fewer "pure" this that or the other group exist, it is going to be much harder to complain of "cultural appropriation" when each person may have legitimate claims on a dozen different cultures.

It saddens me some, as this process isn't always kind to cultural tradition bearers, but it makes me hope that in the wholesale mixing of races, cultures, and nationalities, what is gained is a wider appreciation of the value of all. Yes, it angers me some when significant elements of a culture are degraded, commercialized or lampooned - the stupid or mean spirited deserve to be called out.

I just think that diffusion is the tide, and appropriation the tip of the wave that gets attention. We can't stem the tide.

Joanne in Cleveland


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Oct 15 - 09:01 PM

I feel that is too charitable. The denial of white privilege is not, in my view, typically well meant. But (and it is a big but) a major part of the current cultural appropriation row is about African-Americans adopting African referents without understanding or appreciation, merely for reasons (for example) of fashion - or "to be cool".


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: wysiwyg
Date: 19 Oct 15 - 07:37 PM

Jeri, that was well meant I am sure... but most folks with a large number of Black friends are going to see it differently.

It DOES matter which race is copying which, and WHY, when there are so many inequities in place. And it's not about making anybody do anything. My posts here have been intended as information, not direction, for example. They come right out of what I teach in my field, and white resistance to the facts is typical AND well meant, if misinformed.

Cultural Appreciation is generally accepted for its intention, but Cultural APPROPRIATION actually IS a tense US issue-- wherever there is a sizeable Black (or other significantly-numbered oppressed) group rightly objecting to it-- and where the privileged white folks there care to think about it.

Halloween for example is another huge opportunity for colossal and hurtful cultural appropriation, well documented annually by people of color who (yearly) watch blonde celebrities go nappy in blackface-- while Black folks continue to die amid the national refusal to own up to its enslaving past in favor of continuing to profit unfairly from it.

The offensive message there would be: "I can play this part without fear for my safety if police show up, and I can have fun in your guise without paying the price every day that Black folks pay.And I don't care to help change Black un-safety. I can just play."

If you could do that in your neighborhood without reproach, then you live where the original economy of the area probably involved profiting off slavery; that's how we got mostly-white neighborhoods.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Oct 15 - 06:35 PM

Most amusing, Jack.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Oct 15 - 04:06 PM

The crucial thing isn't copying, it failing to share the story of where it comes from.

On another forum, an American Christian fundie posted that he was going to use Scott Skinner's slow air "Hector the Hero" in his church. I asked him if he really thought a Scottish Nationalist lament for a paedophile suicide was entirely appropriate. He really, really didn't want to know that and went absolutely ballistic.


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Subject: RE: In defence of cultural appropriation
From: Mo the caller
Date: 19 Oct 15 - 01:49 PM

From a completely different angle - and not directly relevant to the OP but thoughts sparked by it.....

When I go to a dance club (in England) we dance various dances. Some are American Contra. Some from the 17th century 'English Dancing Master'. Some collected from the villages 100 yrs ago.
The style used for Playford is probably not as it was in C17, but it is distinct; dances from Northern England were danced with a rant step; modern Contra is full of added twirls.
Some like one style and use it for all the dances. Others would NEVER twirl in a Playford 'back to back' or California twirl in La Russe.
Evolution or blurring?


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