Cultural appropriation

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by birch, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. birch Valued Senior Member


    i think the backlash and claims of cultural appropriation are silly. it doesn't make sense and inconsequential.

    this is about a certain dish. really? a dish? i am asian and i change up the recipe myself so what is wrong with that? how does that affect others preparing the dish the way they want to? i personally don't like sour kimchi just as i don't like saurkraut. i make my own fresh like a salad and i know others who do the same. so i must hide this 'crime' or else i'll have the original foodie police at my door? what?

    this recipe some are claiming others are messing with is not the original anyways. the original had no pepper in it and was not spicy. that recipe still exists and people still make it. it's called water kimchi which is just cabbage or radish in a bland vinegar base with some onions similar to pickles. the pepper came from south america. you don't hear anyone claiming that recipe is being messed with or colombians claiming appropriation and demanding their pepper back. well, they are all dead anyways since that was a few centuries ago; the ones who are responsible for the original recipe and the ones who added pepper.

    what if i want to put pineapples or marshmallows on my pizza? it's a crime because that's not the original recipe? that's an insult? that stops another from making pepperoni?

    if someone wants to change the recipe themselves or add pineapples or whatever, what does it matter as long as they are not outlawing if you like the original?

    that's how recipes evolve and become more varied as people put their own spin on it. these same criticisms are over music, hairstyles, food (apparently), fashion, technology etc. practically anything. why care? it doesn't stop you or anyone else from doing what you want to do.

    but that is how things become interesting as different people and different cultures put their spin on it and then people share it back and forth. that's how it evolves and creates more diversity/choices.

    i don't get it.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
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  3. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    if a company could take ownership of all food sales do you think they would ?
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  5. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    I think food is a particularly bad example. North America, in particular, is an amalgamation of many cultures. Most families are an amalgamation of several cultures. it would not be possible to isolate the constituent cultures in every meal. Let 'em eat pizza with chili sauce and perogie toppings if they want to.

    On the other hand, I wouldn't walk down the street wearing an "Indian" feather headdress any more than I would wear a Victoria Cross that I bought at a flea market.
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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

    ?? You would order it that way. Pineapples on pizza are common here.
  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I have difficulty in greeting the topic of "cultural appropriation" with anything other than a weary groan. It seems the epitome of the hair-trigger identity politics that increasingly blights western political discourse.

    I should have thought we should embrace the diffusion of elements of one culture into another. It has happened throughout history and I would have thought it was a sign of openness and lack of prejudice. Does anyone really think that jazz is a bad thing, or that you should have to be black to play it? Or that we should all stop eating pasta and leave it to the Chinese?
  9. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    I think the term is legitimate but overused. American minstrel shows appropriated African slave culture in an exploitive way. Blacks were largely excluded while being ridiculed and a false narrative about the simple pleasures of plantation life was promoted.

    If we participate in another culture as equals, with respect, it can't be a bad thing.
  10. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    I hate American beer, you know, making love in a canoe and all that...
    sideshowbob likes this.
  11. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I see your point but what gets me about the term is that it does not mean what it says. Appropriation simply means taking and owning. There is nothing intrinsically negative about that. The example you describe is not simply picking up and using something from a culture (as was done with jazz for instance) but setting out to caricature it, in order to reduce something (the living conditions and consequent lifestyle of ex-slave people) that should have been a cause of shame for the former slave-owners into something cute and folksy - and thus not morally threatening.

    It seems that by "cultural appropriation" people means "BAAAAD cultural appropriation", while what it is that makes it bad is left undefined.
  12. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    So do I, but that is because it is so often such terrible p1ss. I have no trouble "appropriating" Belgian beer, however.
    Beer w/Straw likes this.
  13. birch Valued Senior Member


    there are some appropriations i do disagree with and that is china doing laughable shit like this. there is a market open where the group isn't just cutsey, girly or sexy juxtaposed with the kpop boy bands with fierce choreography. instead, this is just a parody of a boy band and it can be used as fodder to just make fun of boybands. great, because that's just what asians need. this is not androgynous and they don't know the meaning evidently because they are too black/white in their thinking. why do they have to copy exactly except they are girls? they think this shit is original. it is not. their statement that girls don't have to be only feminine doesn't mean you copy a boy band exactly and replace it with girls. just because you have a different snatch copying a boy band to a T doesn't mean you are making a statement. that's stupid but who knows, they may become popular. the only statement or market they should be targeting is transgender, bi or gay community and stop with the bs that they are making a statement for girls. that's insulting because they are not and girls don't want to copy boys. they want to be who they are.

    is there something wrong with their brain that they can't see that there is not an asian girl group that has dynamic choreography and doesn't act just cutsey with just casual/street clothing? if they are aware of the groups out there then they would know but that blindspot just flies over their head. that's the avenue they could have taken. evidently they can dance just as strongly but no, they have to copy a boyband exactly, even down to the choreography instead of dynamic choreography that incorporates natural femininity as well. this groups's only statement is you must be just like a guy in order to be strong. again, that stupid black/white pov.

    that lack of a strong girl group, androgynous (feminine/masculine balance) with fierce choreography is lacking in asia but still represents actual girls that can relate (not just feminine, bubblegum or cutsey) is wide open in asia because there aren't groups like that. this world makes me scratch my head sometimes. that market/space is right there to snatch up and they can't see it.

    if you evaluate male kpop groups, they pretty accurately represent most young fashionable males today and is reflected in their wardrobe as well as their choreography is aggressive/physical. pretty understandable for the appeal and relatability. now, real asian girls and women don't walk around all day acting cutsey, sexy and ultra feminine like they are in neverland in videos/media or the opposite extreme of short-shorts/halter tops or leather miniskirts. they have real lives and wear regular clothing, not pink polka dot dresses or miniskirts all day. some do but most don't. some are sporty, most are casual/normal but still fashionable etc. yet, there is no group that represents that to the same degree as male kpop groups. it's such a stretch to envision a female group that just wears current casual fashion, still looking like females with fierce choreography instead of swinging their hips in six inch heels or making heart emojis, right? omg, that's just so obvious, it's an impossible concept. the idea that women don't have to be caricatured is still a foreign concept. one extreme or another. i'm not blaming them totally because you see that also in western music industry. but there isn't an excuse when that market is right before your nose and they have a pretense of making strides or statement.

    china pisses me off with this kind of shit. almost nothing out of china is considered cool in the west because of this type of stuff. they as a group have almost no sense of swag or personal style. they should just stick to making products and use their technical bent instead of making more fodder for asian embarassment and leave the more subjective cultural stuff to korea and japan that understands concepts such as blending/real spin/ creativity. pfft.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018
  14. birch Valued Senior Member

    i am not saying china isn't an amazing country or culture. they have huge landmass, an abundant workforce/population and tons of resources. within that population are a huge number of people with untapped potential/talent and it just kind of astounds me that as far as influencing the world on a cultural level/media/brand recognition, two small nations that are like a pinprick next to them do that on a global scale much more than they do. maybe that is not their priority.

    in the west, there is nothing about china that anyone knows about except being the largest trading partner, walmart, bruce lee/kungfu and chinese american food. that's it. literally. nothing else culturally has filtered over since way back in the day. there are so many interesting and fascinating different ethniticites and enclaves exist in china and they are virtually unknown to the rest of the world, including the west. that also means their cuisine, customs, history and culture.

    why that makes me a bit thoughtful on this subject is that had korea and japan just been assimilated into china, if it would be similar as those unique customs, cuisine, people, attributes etc would be rather invisible/obscure among the rest and therefore to the rest of the world. china represents a hidden world and untapped potential in many ways yet. china is caricatured in the west as lacking diversity due to the little they know when it's actually the opposite; it's full of diversity that is unknown and not developed or marketed.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    There's a grey area around religion, though.

    Trivializing living religious rituals and their associated objects, people, myths, etc, is not always openness and lack of prejudice.
  16. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I'd have thought trivialising anything was not a good idea. Normally taking up cultural ideas implies taking them seriously rather than trivialising them, surely? The Roman emperors appropriated Christianity. But not by trivialising it.
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    When the Washington Redskins football team played in the Superbowl in Minneapolis, the local red ghetto nearby (mostly Lakota, Dakota, and Ojibwe) - just up the tracks of the railroad Sitting Bull made his reputation fighting, on the main limo line from the nice hotels near the airport and the University - was treated to the sight of the bimbo wives of rich white men from Washington DC walking past their low-rent housing dressed in such symbols of honor and respect as were granted to Sitting Bull, in large part for his accurate estimation of the character of rich white men from Washington DC and intransigent opposition to their agenda.

    They waved their fake peace pipe treaty tomahawks, shook their booties to get the fake feathers of their imitation full-train Sioux "war" bonnets to dance with the fringes of the fake deerskin jackets the originators of the originals of can no longer afford or easily make, and teetered over the winter sidewalks and parking lots in high-heeled shoes gussied up to look like moccasins of some tribe last seen in the marketing materials of a Florida roadside tourist trap.

    Sitting Bull was defeated, imprisoned, and eventually killed, significantly by means of the US government slaughter of the bison that were a necessary food source if he and his tribe were to live in freedom - an ecological disaster created to abet a sociological atrocity.

    In the game, the Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills (major bison slayer).

    So if we take that scene seriously, rather than as a triviality, what do we see?
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
  18. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    It starts with an intersection of crass and insensitive exploitation, and while I tend to think there comes a point at which some complaints just don't make sense, I'm going to leave it to those advocates until I can't avoid it, which in turn means whatever they were saying has caught on.

    To the other, there is a scene with Lupin III (Part IV) with the Franco-Japanese thief devouring what might be the best carbonara in San Marino, and that only serves to remind that yes, carbonara can be eaten with chopsticks, and Japan is never giving up its damn carbonara.

    And, hell, what part of Japanese culture, since I'm on the subject, isn't appropriated?

    I think it has something to do with how respectfully or disrespectfully we treat whatever it is we are using. Bacon-flavored Kosher, for instance, would be problematic. I really wonder what happens if we put out a "Body of Christ" chocolate crucifix, and who will complain that we made the cross out of white chocolate, instead of Jesus. No, actually I don't, but Nuns on the Bus is one thing, and a bunch of Muslim nudists calling themselves Nuns on a Stripper Pole better have a damn good act or else the Catholics would be right to complain.

    Nor have I stopped to watch the video of Gordon Ramsey being told his pad thai sucks.

    Oh, hey: There is a television advert for a cashback scheme on a credit card, the one where the customer talks to themselves on the helpline. And this time it's an Asian woman, and I think her reaction, her gimmick, is supposed to be some manner of stereotype, but I have never seen it in life, only from performers. What the hell is up with that one?

    • • •​

    Well, we've gotten better at it in recent years.

    (That bit with excessive hops? Yeah, that's our fault. And my coast, too, not the Belgian trend in New York.)

    Then again, I'll pay homage to the Escondido corner.

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  19. birch Valued Senior Member


    this is one of the dumbest moves and the reason why china is not as culturally influential overseas is because they keep their own people naive from the rest of the world. they also hinder them this way.

    considering simple infrastructure and food safety issues can be easily remedied if they just put in place some code and agency to enforce (they have the manpower) is a testament that those who rise to power are not always qualified or the best for the job. evidently, their are plenty of losers in power.

    i can understand blocking some of these, even facebook but google? wall street journal? nasa. gov? bbc? amnesty international (lol)? way to keep your population ignorant.

    even spiegel online (shopping) was blocked at one point but now it's unblocked. who the heck makes these decisions and what's the logic behind it?

    youtube has been blocked since 2009. that's like blocking your population from the world as most of them never leave the country to know anything outside of it. that's an almost unforgivable travesty. this is similar to north korea.

    blocking google search and youtube is literally blocking the world from a billion plus population. that's just wrong.

    it makes me angry that so many corrupt as well as irrational people rise to power and make crappy as well as stupid decisions that are so obvious to anyone with any sense.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
  20. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I don't follow. The undeniable fact that some people can be culturally insensitive or boorish does not seem to me to prove anything.

    My view is that if we decide to give that form of boorishness a special term to distinguish it, (which I see little point in doing) then we ought to create one that refers to trivialisation and insensitivity. "Appropriation" is quite the wrong word to denote that, for the reasons I have given.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    It proves that the taking up of cultural "ideas" is not necessarily, or reliably, a sign of respect or serious attention; that it can be, and often blatantly is, a trivialization of even the people whose cultural heritage is being taken up.
    Unless it is a fair description of the event - if, say, the "war" bonnet Sitting Bull was granted by the consensus of the people who knew him best was no longer able to serve as a signifier of the kind of esteem and respect he earned over a lifetime of displayed character and ability, due to the manner in which it was "taken up" by people who had not earned it and had no respect for its significance, and their power or control over the cultures involved.

    This use of "appropriation" would be an assessment of the reality of a particular situation - a judgment call. Some cultural borrowing, spreading, influence, mutual interaction, "taking up", would not be "appropriation" - some would be.

    Another example might be the "taking up" of the musical features of American black culture Blues by English rock bands comprising young white Englishmen - the long discussion about whether or not that was "appropriation" seems to have been generally settled by the overt respect and public acknowledgment those young men displayed for the original, and the acceptance of their borrowing by blues musicians of consensus high status - who were not supplanted or dismissed or disrespected in consequence. But it was a serious question.

    One doubts the rich men's wives who took up Sitting Bull's "war"bonnet as a fashion accessory at a Superbowl would have received Sitting Bull's blessing.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
  22. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    "yessim massar" ?
    the compliant appeasing chinese(profile label asian) person who has no legal rights(in western society or working in the old hong kong etc... colonialism etc...) and has barely come out of common slavery engaging with upper class and mild class western "masters".
    yes boss no boss anything you say boss...

    theatrical stereo types are designed to convey a lagre or complex message quickly.
    Racial stereo types are "problematic"(as you say)

    the joke inside the joke of a non native language speaker answering your call to resolve an inssue that most likely requires the caller to be stretching thier ability to comprehend is quite funny.

    during a conversation on the phone it is interesting for someone who thinks your name should probably sound like "smith" but hear something that they cant attach a cultural narative to is quite fascinating.(responses vary wildly)
    (i have listened in profesionally on many such phone calls to follow up complaints, check for quality and look for possible alternative or better ways to respond or engage, fact find, fact check etc)
  23. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    This is exactly what I object to: the distorting of the term "appropriate" to mean "appropriate-in-a-disrespectful-or-otherwise-"bad"-way (-as-determined-by-suitably-right-on-people)".

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