There needs to be a bit of clarification about what constitutes “cultural sharing” vs. cultural appropriation.

…because all too often, I see people respond to accusations of appropriation by stating, “but culture was meant to be shared!” And while that’s all well and good, there is a huuuuuuge difference between sharing, and 99% of the crap that gets posted at this blog.

Ever been to a powwow? If not, I highly recommend attending one at some point in your life. Not only are they great fun, but they’re a great example of sharing culture. Typically, powwows are open to the public, as a way to introduce non-natives into the traditions and cultural aspects of different tribes. The indigenous community welcomes you at a powwow. We want you to see our rituals, watch our beautiful dancers, buy our handmade goodies, and try our magical delicious life-changing fry bread. That is cultural sharing: one group inviting another to partake in their traditions.

This shit? Has fuckall to do with cultural sharing. See, the word “sharing” implies a give and take, and I assure you that actual ndn people had nothing to do with any of this. No, what this is is non-native people seeing an aesthetic they like, taking it for themselves, and then crying about “but-but… shaaaring!” when people ask if they could, I dunno, not steal our traditions for their own personal gain? There is nothing revolutionary or artistic about Urban Outfitters using Navajo motifs for their own profits, and there’s nothing revolutionary or artistic about a skinny white girl running around in a knockoff war bonnet.

If you insist on standing up for this kind of thing, do so, but don’t you dare try to defend it as “cultural sharing.”


Posted on 3 September, 2012, 10:07pm. This post has 863 notes.
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    I agree with this. Making a mockery of other cultures without knowing the significance of a culture is wrong. But if the...
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