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as a general rule. if what we’re calling ‘cultural appropriation’ sounds like nazi ideology (i.e. ‘white people should only do white people things and black people should only do black people things’) with progressive language, we are performing a very very poor application of what ‘cultural appropriation’ means. this is troublingly popular in the blogosphere right now and i think we all need to be more critical of what it is we may be saying or implying, even unintentionally.

There is nothing wrong with everyone enjoying each other’s cultures so long as those cultures have been shared

Eating Chinese food, watching Bollywood movies, going to see Cambodian dancers, or learning to speak Korean so you can watch every K drama in existence is totally fine. The invitation to participate in those things came from within those cultures. The Mexican family that owns the place where I get fajitas wants me to eat fajitas. Their whole business model kind of depends on it, actually. 

If you see something from another culture you think you might want to participate in, but you don’t know if that would be disrespectful or appropriative, you can just…ask. Like. A Jewish friend explained what a mezuzah was to me, recently. (It’s the little scroll-thing near their front doors that they touch when they come into their house. It basically means “this is a Jewish household.”)

“Oh, cool,” I said. “Can I touch it? Or is it only for Jewish people?”

“You can touch it or you can not touch it,” she said. “I don’t care.”

“Cool, I’m gonna touch it, then.”


It’s not hard.

You want to twerk, twerk. I’ve never heard a black person say they didn’t think anybody else should be allowed to twerk. Just that they want us to acknowledge that they invented that shit, not Miley fucking Cyrus.

this is a good post.

Thank you, I was trying to sort this out in my head but you explained it very well.

#free exchange of culture is great - taking that culture without invite and pretending yours is an original take#(worse still profiting off it)#is cultural appropriation (by @gnimaerd)

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