Is St. Patrick's Day Cultural Appropriation

Cultural appropriation - Cultural appropriation

Cultural appropriation is the adoption of an element or elements of one culture or identity by members of another culture or identity. This can be controversial when members of a dominant culture are from minority cultures.

According to critics of the practice, cultural appropriation differs from acculturation, assimilation or the same cultural exchange in that this appropriation is a form of colonialism. When cultural elements are copied by members of a dominant culture from a minority culture and these elements are used outside of their original cultural context - sometimes even against the expressly stated wishes of members of the original culture - the practice is often received negatively.

Cultural appropriation is viewed as harmful by various groups and individuals, including indigenous peoples who advocate the preservation of culture, those who advocate collective intellectual property rights of the origins, minority cultures, and those who lived or are living under colonial rule. Cultural appropriation can include the exploitation of the religious and cultural traditions, fashion, symbols, language and music of another culture.

Those who view this appropriation as exploitative state that cultural elements are lost or distorted when removed from their original cultural contexts and that such representations are disrespectful or even a form of profanation. Cultural elements that can have a deep meaning for the original culture can be reduced to "exotic" fashion or toys by those from the prevailing culture. Kjerstin Johnson wrote that the imitator "who does not experience this experience can temporarily" play "an" exotic "other person without experiencing the daily discrimination of other cultures". Academic, musician, and journalist Greg Tate argues that appropriating and "fetishizing" cultures actually alienates those whose culture is appropriated.

The concept of cultural appropriation has also been heavily criticized. Critics note that the concept is often misunderstood or misapplied by the public, and that "cultural appropriation" charges are sometimes misapplied to situations such as trying foods from another culture or learning about different cultures. Others argue that the act of cultural appropriation, as it is usually defined, does not constitute meaningful social damage or lacks conceptual coherence. In addition, the notion of intellectual freedom can set arbitrary limits on the self-expression of artists, heighten group differences, or promote a feeling of enmity or complaint rather than liberation.


Cossack man wearing the chokha, a clothing that the Cossacks appropriated along with other cultural features from the indigenous peoples of the Caucasus

Cultural appropriation can involve the use of ideas, symbols, artifacts, or other aspects of man-made visual or non-visual culture. As a concept that is controversial in its applications, the appropriateness of cultural appropriation has been the subject of much debate. Opponents of cultural appropriation consider many cases as unlawful appropriation when the subject culture is a minority culture or is subordinate to the dominant culture in terms of social, political, economic or military status or when it comes to other issues, e.g. B. an ethnic or ethnic history of racial conflict. Linda Martín Alcoff writes that this is often seen in the fact that cultural outsiders use the symbols of a suppressed culture or other cultural elements such as music, dance, spiritual ceremonies, ways of dressing, language and social behavior when these elements are trivialized and used in fashion rather than fashion respected in their original cultural context. The opponents regard the issues of colonialism, context and the difference between appropriation and mutual exchange as central to the analysis of cultural appropriation. They argue that mutual exchange takes place on a "balanced playing field" while appropriation takes parts of an oppressed culture out of context by people who historically oppressed those who historically took it from and who lack the cultural context, to understand them properly. respect or use these elements.

Another view of cultural appropriation is that the demand for criticism is "a deeply conservative project" that, despite advancing roots, "tries firstly to preserve the content of an established culture in formaldehyde, and secondly tries to prevent others from doing so to interact." Culture ". Blogger Noah Smith characterizes cultural appropriation as often harmless or mutually beneficial and cites mutation, product diversity, technological diffusion and cultural empathy as its advantages. For example, the film Starwars used elements from Akira Kurosawa s The hidden fortress composed of elements used by Shakespeare; Culture as a whole is probably better off in any case of appropriation. The fusion of cultures has produced foods like American Chinese cuisine, modern Japanese sushi, and Bánh Mì, each of which is sometimes viewed as part of the identity of its respective culture.

Scientific study

Cultural appropriation is a relatively new topic in academic studies. The term appeared in discussions of post-colonial criticism of Western expansionism in the 1980s, although the concept had been explored earlier, such as in "Some General Observations on the Problems of Cultural Colonialism" by Kenneth Coutts-Smith in 1976.

Culture and race theorist George Lipsitz used the term "strategic anti-essentialism" to refer to the calculated use of a cultural form outside of one's own to define oneself or one's group. Strategic anti-essentialism can be observed in both minority and majority cultures and is not limited to just using the other. Lipsitz argues, however, that the majority culture, if it tries to strategically protect itself against the essential by appropriating a minority culture, must take into account the specific socio-historical circumstances and the importance of these cultural forms in order not to maintain the already existing majority against unequal power relations Minorities.


Art, literature, iconography and jewelry

A common example of cultural appropriation is the adoption of the iconography of another culture and its use for purposes not intended by the original culture or even contrary to the customs of that culture. Examples of this include sports teams that use tribal names or Native American images as mascots. Wearing jewelry or fashion with religious symbols such as the war hat, the medicine wheel or the cross without believing in the religion behind it; and copying iconographies from the history of another culture, such as Polynesian tribal tattoos, Chinese characters, or Celtic art, worn regardless of their original cultural meaning. Critics of the practice of cultural appropriation claim that separating this iconography from its cultural context or treating it as kitsch risks offending people who want to revere and preserve their cultural traditions.

In Australia, Aboriginal artists have been discussing an "authenticity mark" to ensure consumers become aware of works of art that have a false meaning to the Aboriginal people. The movement for such a move gained momentum after John O'Loughlin was convicted in 1999 for selling paintings he mistakenly identified as the work of noted Aboriginal artist Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri. In Canada, visual artist Sue Coleman has drawn negative attention for incorporating and merging styles of indigenous art into her work. Coleman, who has been accused of "copying and selling indigenous art," has described herself as a "translator" of indigenous art forms, which has sparked further criticism. In his open letter to Coleman, Kwakwak'awakw / Salish Artist Carey Newman stressed the importance of having artists accountable within indigenous communities as an antidote to appropriation.

Historically, some of the most hotly debated cases of cultural appropriation have occurred in places where cultural exchange is highest, such as along the trade routes in Southwest Asia and Southeast Europe. Some scholars of the Ottoman Empire and Ancient Egypt argue that Ottoman and Egyptian architectural traditions have long been falsely claimed and praised as Persian or Arabic.

Religion and spirituality

Native American religion and ceremonies

Many Native American people have criticized what they see as the cultural appropriation of their sweat lodge and vision seeking ceremonies by non-Native Americans and even by tribes that traditionally did not have these ceremonies. They claim that there are serious safety risks when these events are conducted by individuals who lack the years of training and cultural immersion to conduct them safely, pointing to the deaths or injuries in 1996, 2002, 2004, and several high profile deaths in 2009.

South Asian Religions and Practices

Some practices of the religion of Indian origin have been appropriated by others for various reasons.

The transition from the ancient Indian yoga practice to consumeristic, individualistic and prominent Western varieties is full of contradictions and is illustrated in Alistair Shearers " The History of Yoga: From Ancient India to the Modern West "labeled as" certainly embezzlement. "Western suburban yoga is not" the full meal "and deals with body yoga [without its indicative spiritual aspects] since the entire system" sells yoga for a short time. "


Cultural appropriation is controversial in the fashion industry, as some trends believe that the ancient legacy of indigenous cultures will be commercialized and cheapened. There is debate over whether designers and fashion houses understand the story behind the clothes they take from different cultures, aside from the ethical issues of using the common intellectual property of those cultures without consent, recognition or compensation. In response to this criticism, many fashion experts claim that the event is a matter of "cultural appreciation" rather than cultural appropriation. Businesses and designers claim that the use of unique cultural symbols is an attempt to recognize and appreciate that specific culture.

17th century to Victorian era

During the 17th century, the forerunner of the three-piece suit was adapted by the English and French aristocracy from the traditional clothing of various Eastern European and Islamic countries. The Justaucorps frock coat was copied from the long zupans worn in the Rzeczpospolita, the tie or scarf was derived from a shell worn by Croatian mercenaries for battle Louis XIII, and the brightly colored silk vests made popular by Charles II of England were inspired by Turkish, Indian and Persian clothing acquired by wealthy English travelers.

During the Highland Clearances, the British aristocracy adopted traditional Scottish clothing. Tartan received a false association with certain Highland clans after publications such as James Logan's romanticized work The Scottish Gael (1831) prompted the Scottish tartan industry to invent clan tartans, and tartan became a desirable material for dresses, vests, and ties. In America, at the time of the westward expansion, plaid flannel had become workwear and was widely worn by pioneers and cowboys of the old west who were not of Scottish descent. In the 21st century, tartan is ubiquitous in the mainstream.

By the 19th century, fascination had shifted to Asian culture. Dandies from the English Regency era transformed the Indian churidars into slim-fitting pantaloons and often wore turbans in their own homes. Later, Victorian men wore smoke hats based on the Islamic fez, and fashionable women of the turn of the century wore orientalist Japanese-inspired kimono dresses. During the fad of tiki culture in the 1950s, white women often donned the qipao to create the impression they had visited Hong Kong, although in America the clothes were often made by seamstresses from rayon instead of real silk. At the same time, British teenage teddy girls wore Chinese coolie hats because of their exotic connotation.

In Mexico, the mestizo peasant class sombrero was adopted from an earlier hat introduced by the Spanish colonial rulers in the 18th century. This in turn was carried over into the cowboy hat American cowboys wore after the US Civil War. In 2016, the University of East Anglia banned the wearing of sombreros for parties on campus, believing it could offend Mexican students, a move that has received much criticism.

American western wear was copied from the workwear of the 19th century Mexican vaqueros, particularly the pointy cowboy boots and guayabera that were fitted into the embroidered western shirt. The china poblana dress associated with Mexican women was adopted from the choli and lehenga worn by Indian maids such as Catarina de San Juan, who came from Asia from the 17th century.

Modern era

In Great Britain, the coarse tweed cloth clothing of the Irish, English and Scottish peasantry, including the flat cap and Irish hat, was used by the upper class as British country clothing for sports such as hunting or fishing in a nod to the then Prince of Wales. Country clothing, in turn, was appropriated by the affluent American Ivy League and later by dapper subcultures in the 1950s and 1980s, both for its practicality and its association with the English elite. During the same period, British comedian Tommy Cooper was known to wear a fez during his appearances.

When keffiyehs became popular in the late 2000s, experts made a clear distinction between wearing a real scarf and a fake made in China. Palestinian independence activists and socialists denounced wearing scarves, which were not made in Palestine as a form of cultural appropriation, but encouraged other Muslims and progressive-minded non-Muslim students to buy shemaghs made in the Herbawi factory in order to show solidarity with the Demonstrate Palestinian people and improve the West Bank economy. In 2017, Topshop caused controversy by selling China-made rompers that mimicked the pattern of the keffiyeh.

Several fashion designers and models have featured imitations of Native American war bonnets in their fashion shows, such as Victoria's Secret in 2012 when model Karlie Kloss wore one on her walk on the catwalk. A spokesman for the Navajo Nation called it a "mockery". Cherokee academic Adrienne Keene wrote in the New York Times :

For the [Indian] communities who wear these headgear, they represent respect, power and responsibility. The headdress must be earned and given to a leader trusted by the community. When it becomes a cheap commodity that anyone can buy and wear for a party, that meaning is erased and not respected, and the indigenous people are reminded that our cultures are still viewed as something of the past, unimportant in today's society and unworthy of respect.

Both Victoria's Secret and Kloss apologized for their no intention of offending anyone.

The culturally significant Hindu festival Holi has been imitated worldwide and integrated into fashion. For example, in 2018 pop artists Pharrell Williams and Adidas collaborated to create the Holi-inspired clothing and shoe line "Hu Holi". According to Raja Zed, President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, the collection is a "trivialization of the traditions, concepts, symbols and beliefs of Hinduism". The collection contained many items that contained leather, a violation of Hindu beliefs.

Archbishop Justin Welby of the Church of England has claimed that the crucifix is ​​"just a fashion statement and has lost its religious meaning". Crucifixes have been incorporated into Japanese Lolita fashion by non-Christians in a cultural context that differs from its original meaning as a Christian religious symbol.

Hairstyles, makeup and body modifications

  • The leaders of ancient Israel condemned the adoption of Egyptian and Canaanite practices, particularly cutting one's hair or shaving one's beard. At the same time, the Old Testament distinguishes the Hebrews religious circumcision from cultures such as the Egyptians, where the practice had aesthetic or practical purposes.
  • During the early 16th century, European men mimicked the short regular haircuts and beards on rediscovered ancient Greek and Roman statues. The curly hair preferred by the Regency-era dandy beau Brummel was also inspired by the classic era.
  • In the 17th century, Louis XIV began wearing wigs to hide his baldness. Like many other French fashions, these were quickly appropriated by courtiers from the Baroque period in England and the rest of Europe, so men often shaved their heads to make sure their wig fitted properly.
  • American soldiers during World War II adopted the Mohawk hairstyle of the Indian tribe of the same name to intimidate their enemies. These were later worn by 1950s jazz musicians like Sonny Rollins and the 1980s punk subculture.
  • In the early 2000s, it was popular in the West to acquire tribal tattoos from the African and Polynesian cultures, as well as earlobe piercings known as plugs, which are known to be associated with the Buddha.
  • There is debate about non-black people wearing dreadlocks - a hairstyle most associated with African and African diaspora cultures such as the Jamaican Rastafarian - and whether or not they do is cultural appropriation. In 2016, a viral video was released in which a young black student argued with a white student and accused him of cultural appropriation. In 2018, white actor Zac Efron was accused of cultural appropriation when he posted a picture of himself in dreadlocks.


While the history of colonization and marginalization isn't unique to America, the practice of non-native sports teams deriving team names, images, and mascots from indigenous peoples is still widespread in the United States and Canada and has grown to some extent Degree continued protests by indigenous groups. Cornel Pewewardy, professor and director of Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State University, cites indigenous mascots as an example of dysconscious racism that continues to preserve the superiority of dominant culture by placing images of Indians or First Nations in a fabricated media context. It is argued that such practices maintain the balance of power between the dominant culture and indigenous culture and can be viewed as a form of cultural imperialism.

Such practices can be seen as particularly harmful in schools and universities that have a stated purpose to promote ethnic diversity and inclusion. Recognizing the responsibility of higher education to eradicate behaviors that create a hostile environment for education, the NCAA launched a policy against "hostile and abusive" names and mascots in 2005 that changed many of the Native American people except those who have an agreement with certain tribes on the use of their specific names. Other schools keep their names because they were established for Native American education and continue to have significant numbers of Indigenous students. The trend towards eliminating indigenous names and mascots in local schools has been steady. According to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), two-thirds have been eliminated in the past 50 years.

In contrast, the Seminole tribe of Florida did what the Washington Post Considered an unusual move, the use of their historical guide Osceola and his Appaloosa horse as mascots Osceola and Renegade endorsed by the Florida State Seminoles. In 2005, after the NCAA attempted to ban the use of Native American names and iconography in college sports, the Florida Seminole tribe passed a resolution prohibiting the mascot portrayal of aspects of the Seminole culture in Florida and Osceola FSU was expressly supported. The university was granted a waiver, citing the close relationship with the team and the Florida tribe and the ongoing consultation between them. In 2013, the leader of the tribe rejected objections to outsiders who interfered in the tribal approval, stating that the FSU mascot and use of the Florida State Seminole iconography "represent the courage of the people who have been and been here are still here, known as the undefeated Seminoles ". Conversely, in 2013 the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma expressed its opposition to the "use of all American Indian sports team mascots in the public school system, college and university level, and by professional sports teams". Additionally, not all Florida State Seminoles members endorse their leadership's stance on this matter.

In other former colonies in Asia, Africa and South America there is also the adoption of indigenous names for mostly indigenous teams. There are also ethnically related team names derived from prominent immigrant populations in the area, such as the Boston Celtics, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and the Minnesota Vikings.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games, which will take place on the Australian Gold Coast from April 4, 2018, have named their mascot Borobi, the local Yugambeh word for "koala", and tried to label the word through IP Australia. The request is denied by a cultural heritage organization in Yugambeh, which argues that the Games Organizing Committee used the word without proper consultation with the people of Yugambeh.

African American culture

The term wigger (common spelling "wigga") is a slang term for a white person who takes mannerisms, language and fashion associated with African American culture, especially hip-hop and, in the UK, the dirt scene, which often implied imitation badly done, though usually with sincerity rather than mockery. Wigger is out a Portmanteau White and nigger or Nigga and the related term Wangsta is a mashup from it Would-be or White and Gangsta . Among black hip-hop fans, the word "nigga" can sometimes be seen as a friendly greeting, but when used with color by both whites and non-blacks it is usually considered offensive. "Wigger" can be derogatory and reflect stereotypes of African American, black British, and white cultures (when used as a synonym for white trash). The term is sometimes used by other whites to belittle the perceived "black act", but it is often used by African Americans like 50 Cent, offended by the wigga perceived humiliation of blacks and culture.

The phenomenon of white elements adopting black culture has been widespread at least since slavery was abolished in the western world. The concept has been documented by a white majority in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and other countries. An early form of it was that white negroes in the jazz and swing music scene of the 1920s and 1930s, as explored in the 1957 Norman Mailer essay "The White Negro". It was later seen in the Zoot Suiter of the 1930s and 1940s, the hipster of the 1940s, the beatnik of the 1950s to 1960s, the blue-eyed soul of the 1970s, and the hip hop of the 1980s and 1990s. In 1993 an article in the British newspaper described it The Independent the phenomenon of white, middle-class children who were "would-be blacks". In 2005 the publication of Why White Kids Love Hip Hop: Wangstas, Wiggers, Wannabes, and the New Reality of Race in America by Bakari Kitwana, "a cultural critic who has followed American hip hop for years" .

Robert A. Clift's documentary Blacking Up: Hip-Hop Remix of Race and Identity interviewed white enthusiasts of black hip-hop culture. Clift's documentary explores "racial and cultural ownership and authenticity - a path that begins with the stolen blackness that Stephen Foster, Al Jolson, Benny Goodman, Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones have seen through to Vanilla Ice (pop music) ur-wigger." ...) and Eminem ". A review of the documentary referred to the Wigger as "white poseurs" and states that the term Wigger "Used both proudly and mockingly to describe white enthusiasts of black hip-hop culture".

The term " Black fishing "Popularized in 2018 by writer Wanna Thompson, it describes female white social media influencers adopting what is perceived to be an African look, including braided hair, dark skin from tanning or makeup, full lips and large thighs. Critics argue, that they seized the attention and opportunities of black influencers by adopting their aesthetics and compared the trend with blackface.

Indigenous cultures

Since the Middle Ages, non-Slavic rulers in Eastern Europe have appropriated the culture of their subjects in order to gain their trust. The Vikings in Kievan Rus mimicked the costumes and shaved heads of the Slavic population, converted to Orthodox Christianity, and Russified their original Scandinavian names.

Whites in Indian outfits (1909)

Critics see the abuse and misrepresentation of indigenous culture as an exploitative form of colonialism and a step towards the destruction of indigenous cultures.

The results of this exploitation of indigenous knowledge have led some tribes and the United Nations General Assembly to issue several statements on the matter. The Declaration of war against the exploiters of Lakota spirituality contains the following passage:

We claim that any "white man shaman" who emerges from our own communities takes a zero-tolerance stance to "authorize" the expropriation of our ceremonial ways by non-Indians. All of these "plastic medicine men" are enemies of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota.

In Article 31 (1) of the Explanation the United Nations on the rights of indigenous peoples is it [called:

Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, and control their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines and knowledge of culture protect and develop properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games, and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to preserve, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.

In 2015, a group of Native American scholars and writers issued a statement against members of the Rainbow Family whose "cultural exploitation ... dehumanizes us as an indigenous nation because it implies that our culture and humanity, like our land, is everyone's." Thing is take ".

In her letter on Native American Intellectual Property for the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), Board Member Professor Rebecca Tsosie emphasizes the importance of these property rights being held collectively, not by individuals:

The long-term goal is to actually have a legal system, and certainly a contract could do that that recognizes two things. Number one, it recognizes that indigenous peoples are peoples with a right of self-determination that includes government rights over all property of the indigenous peoples. And number two recognizes that indigenous cultural expressions are a form of intellectual property and that traditional knowledge is a form of intellectual property, but they are collective resources - so no one can give away the rights to those resources. The tribal nations actually have them in common.

Minority languages

The use of minority languages ​​is also cited as cultural appropriation when non-speakers of Scottish Gaelic or Irish receive tattoos in those languages. Likewise, the use of false Scottish Gaelic in a tokenistic fashion, aimed at non-Gaelic speakers in signage and announcements, has been criticized for being disrespectful to fluent speakers of the language.

Since the early 2000s, it has become increasingly popular for people of non-Asian descent to get tattoos of Devanagari, Korean letters, or Han symbols (traditional, simplified, or Japanese), often without knowing the actual meaning of the symbols used.

Movie and TV

In the 2010 census, Americans from Asia made up 4.8 percent of the US population. According to a 2016 study by the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, one in 20 (5 percent) speaking roles goes to Asian-American citizens. However, you only get one percent of the main roles in the film. White actors make up 76.2 percent of the leading roles, compared to 72.4 percent of the population according to the latest US census.

In 2017 provoked Ghost in the Shell that is on his manga Ghost in the Shell based by Masamune Shirow, disputes over whitewashing. Scarlett Johansson, a white actress, took on the role of Motoko Kusanagi, a Japanese character. This was viewed as a cultural appropriation by some fans of the original manga, who expected the role to be played by an Asian or Asian-American actor.


During Halloween, some people buy, wear, and sell Halloween costumes that are based on cultural or racial stereotypes. Costumes that depict cultural stereotypes such as "Indian Warrior" or "Pocahottie" are sometimes worn by people who do not belong to the stereotypical cultural group. These costumes have been criticized for being tasteless at best and obviously racist and dehumanizing at worst. There were public protests calling for an end to the manufacture and sale of these costumes, linking their "humiliating" depictions of indigenous women to the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women. In some cases, themed parties were held asking participants to disguise themselves as stereotypes of a particular racial group. A number of these parties were held at colleges and at times other than Halloween, including Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month.


The marketing of traditional Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods as Israel has led to allegations of cultural appropriation by Palestinians. This differs from a natural process of spread, development, or cross-pollination of culture because of the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict. As such, it is viewed as cultural appropriation because it is "based on exploitation and consequent extinction, followed by the willful rejection of these acts". In other words, it is seen as particularly harmful to the Palestinians because it further removes the Palestinian people and their history from the Holy Land.

Boy Scouts of America-associated dance teams

In chapter 4 of his book Playing Indian Indian historian Philip J. Deloria refers to the Koshare Indian Museum and Dancers as an example of "object hobbyists" adopting the material culture of the indigenous peoples of the past ("the disappearing Indian"). without dealing with contemporary indigenous people or recognizing the history of conquest and dispossession. In the 1950s, the Zuni Pueblo City Council saw a performance and said, "We know your hearts are good, but even with good hearts you have done bad." In Zuni culture, religious objects and practices are only intended for those who have acquired the right to participate by following techniques and prayers that have been passed down for generations. In 2015, the winter night dances of the koshare were canceled after the Hopi Nation's Cultural Preservation Office (CPO) received a belated request that the troupe should stop their interpretation of the Hopi and Pueblo Indian dances. The director of the CPO, Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, saw a video of the performances online and said the performers "mimicked our dances, but they were insensitive to me". In both cases, the Koshare Dance Team complied, removing the dances that were deemed inadmissible, and even going so far as to give items that were considered culturally significant to the tribes.

The objections of some Native Americans to such dance teams center on the idea that the dance performances are a form of cultural appropriation that places dance and costumes in inappropriate contexts without their true meaning and sometimes mixes elements from different tribes. In contrast, the dance teams state that "[their] aim is to preserve the dance and heritage of Native Americans through the creation of dance regalia, dance, and teach others about Native American culture".

Gender and sexuality

Some people in the transgender community have protested against casting straight, cisgender actors into trans-acting roles, such as when Eddie Redmayne played the role of artist Lili Elbe in the film The Danish Girl and when Jared Leto played the role of a trans woman called Rayon im Dallas Buyers Club . Some in the gay community have raised concerns about the use of straight actors to play gay characters. this happens in movies like Call me by your name (currently actors Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet), Brokeback Mountain (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal), Philadelphia (Tom Hanks), Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and milk (with Sean Penn playing the role of the real gay rights activist Harvey Milk). On the other hand, gay actors playing roles, said Andrew Haigh, the writer and director, "You rarely see a gay actor applauding for acting." Jay Caruso calls this controversy "fully fabricated" on the grounds that the actors "play a role" using the "art of action".

Some heterosexual people controversially identify themselves through the oxymoron "queer heterosexual". There queer Generally defined as either synonymous with LGBT or as "non-heterosexual", this appropriation has been made by queer strongly contested by cisgender, heterosexual people by LGBT people. One reason for this is that the term has long been used as a bow to oppress LGBT people. LGBT persons who consider this use of the term "queer" by heterosexuals to be inappropriate say that it is obviously offensive as members of the dominant culture who do not experience oppression based on their sexual orientation or gender identity appropriate what they do see as fashionable parts of the terminology and identity of those who are actually suppressed because of their sexuality.

For someone who is gay and queer, a straight person who identifies as queer can feel like they have appropriated the good parts, cultural and political cache, clothes, and sound of gay culture without the gay riot of laughter , youthful shame, shame for adults, shame for shame, and the internalized homophobia of lived gay experience.

Other uses

Saint Patrick costume (left)

The Ghanaian government was accused of appropriating the Caribbean Emancipation Day culturally and marketing it as an "African festival" to African-American tourists.

For some members of the South Asian community, the wearing of a bindi point as a decorative item by a non-Hindu can be viewed as a cultural appropriation.

An Irish term for someone who is imitating or misrepresenting Irish culture is Plastic paddy .


In 2011, a group of Ohio University students launched a poster campaign denouncing the use of cultural stereotypes as costumes. The campaign shows people of color alongside their respective stereotypes with slogans like "This is not who I am and this is not okay." The aim of the movement was to raise awareness of racism on Halloween at the university and in the surrounding community, but the images were also shared online.

"Reclaim the Bindi" has become a hashtag used by some people of South Asian descent who wear traditional robes and is opposed to its use by people outside their culture. At the Coachella Festival 2014, one of the most famous fashion trends was the bindi, a traditional Hindu trademark. When images of the festival surfaced online, there was public controversy over the occasional wear of the bindi by non-Hindu individuals who did not understand the meaning behind it. Reclaim the Bindi Week is an event designed to promote the traditional cultural significance of the bindi and combat its use as a fashion statement.

Criticism of the concept

John McWhorter, professor at Columbia University, criticized the concept in 2014, arguing that cultural borrowing and cross-fertilization are a generally positive thing and are usually done out of admiration and with no intention of harming the mimicked cultures ;; He also argued that the specific term "appropriation," which can mean theft, is misleading when applied to something like culture, which is not viewed by all as a finite resource. In 2018, conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg described cultural appropriation as positive and rejected the opposition as a product of some people's desire to be offended. Kwame Anthony Appiah, ethics columnist of the New York Times , said that the term cultural appropriation mistakenly describes contemptuous behavior as a property crime. According to Appiah, "the key question in using symbols or insignia associated with another identity group is not, what are my property rights? Rather, are my actions disrespectful?"

In 2016, author Lionel Shriver asserted the right of authors from a cultural majority to write with the voice of a person from a cultural minority and challenged the idea that it constituted cultural appropriation. Regarding a case where US college students faced disciplinary action for wearing sombreros to a 'tequila party', she said: 'The moral of the sombrero scandals is clear: You shouldn't try on other people's hats . But that's what we're getting paid for, isn't it? Slip into other people's shoes and try on their hats. "After winning the 2019 Booker Prize, Bernardine Evaristo dismissed the notion of cultural appropriation stating that it is ridiculous to require writers not to“ write about [their] own culture ”.

See also