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Let’s Talk About Cultural Appropriation, College Tips  

As a college student, you must understand on a deeper level what cultural appropriation is. Thus, we created this brief post for you. You must know the concepts and even the Do’s and Don’ts, most especially that you will be dealing with different people from all walks of life, and from various countries.   

What Is Cultural Appropriation?   

When we say cultural appropriation, it means someone uses an object or elements in such a way that it doesn’t respect its original meaning. In some cases, the user doesn’t give credit to the source too. Quite frankly, many people aren’t aware that they are doing it, and so to be educated about the topic is necessary.   

Common Target Of Cultural Appropriation  

Many items are usually the target of cultural appreciation. Let’s summarize some below.   

  • Dance   
  • Artifacts   
  • Food   
  • Decorations   
  • Wellness practice   
  • Religious symbols   

This is just a partial list and there are still more items to watch out for. Simply put, be careful and cautious when borrowing elements from another culture.   

Why Is It Wrong?   

Think of cultural appropriation as plagiarism or stealing, in general. It’s as if you are using something valuable for your own gain. You don’t give credit where the credit is due. And you are forming stereotypes. All of these are not helping our society. It creates a wider gap between cultures and that could be a root for further discrimination.   

How Can You Know If Something Is A Cultural Appropriation?   

Before you start performing or showing the world what you’ve got, you have to ask yourself the following questions. That way, you can gauge if what you are doing will sit well in other cultures.   

  • What is your main goal for using the element from other cultures?   
  • Are you exploiting one’s culture?   
  • Are you insulting a particular culture?   
  • Are you getting a reproduction of the original artwork?   
  • Are you crediting the source of what you are doing?   

In other terms, you have to practice empathy. You have to place yourself if you are a person from that particular culture. Know how they would feel. In fact, it’s better to ask them first because you can only do so much. Your research might not suffice so talking to someone who could give first-hand information is highly recommended.   

Most Famous Cases Of Cultural Appropriation   

Madonna’s Voguing   

For years, many people thought that voguing was Madonna’s original step. However, it was a step that Black and Latinx communities created and was initially seen in New York City’s gay clubs.    

The Rock ‘N’ Roll   

Did you know that the rock and roll we know today was not from white musicians? It was from black musicians and unfortunately, they received small to no credit for it.  

Karlie Kloss’ Headdress   

When Karlie Kloss wore a feathered headdress while on a bikini, many were quick to point out that it wasn’t right. It’s insensitive, most especially for native Americans as only specific members of their tribe could wear such. For them, it displays honor and bravery. Obviously, it has nothing to do with wearing a bikini.  

What Is Cultural Appreciation?   

On the other hand, we have what we call culture appreciation. It is when you borrow the elements from a different culture with the utmost respect. You share ideas with other people without the intent of exploiting these same ideas.  

What Is Cultural Exchange?   

It’s important too to understand what cultural exchange is. For years, different people shared their cultures and this doesn’t involve power over the other. As long as you practice equality and the dominant group doesn’t take anything from the oppressed one, then it should be fine.   

Should We Try Out Different Culture?   

Certainly. There’s nothing wrong with that, most especially if you are treating the culture with respect. So, when the time comes that you are invited to a traditional Indian wedding, go ahead. If someone asks you to wear their traditional clothes, then do so with pride.   

Be Careful When Joining The Trend   

We understand that college students can be experimental with a lot of things, including fashion and style. However, some styles might not sit well with other cultures. Take for example Kardasian’s Kimono which received a lot of drawbacks.   

Let’s make it a habit to practice due diligence. Before you use or wear anything, a quick research could certainly help.   

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