Cultural appropriation (CA) - legit or taboo?

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Cultural appropriation (CA) - legit or taboo?

Post #1

Post by nobspeople »

I've never been, nor will ever be, a Justin Bieber fan or defender. But I came across this article in my feed today. ... 19370.html

Don't all cultures take things from other cultures over time? Food, fashion, traditions, words, religions...the list is almost endless.

Indeed, JB is, in my opinion, a [word not allowed on this site] and likely is using this for attention (again, my opinion). And this is just one example of CA.

But is CA wrong? Should people be 'outraged' or should the relax and worry about things more important in today's world?
Have a great, potentially godless, day!

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Re: Cultural appropriation (CA) - legit or taboo?

Post #21

Post by help3434 »

[Replying to nobspeople in post #1]

Europeans have worn dreadlocks for thousands of years. So have other peoples and cultures. I find it a little strange that some people have decided that only black people should wear dreadlocks.

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Re: Cultural appropriation (CA) - legit or taboo?

Post #22

Post by Ionian_Tradition »

nobspeople wrote: Wed Apr 28, 2021 10:11 am
But is CA wrong? Should people be 'outraged' or should the relax and worry about things more important in today's world?
As near as I can tell, the purported immorality of CA hinges upon at least one of two underlying assumptions:

1. CA is tantamount to theft.
2. CA is a cause for offense.

In the case of the former, the notion that CA constitutes theft presupposes that “culture” is a form of intellectual property for which some meaningful sense of ownership can be clearly assigned. However, this assumption seems rather untenable given the fact that the myriad of causal influences which actually produce an object of culture are often so varied (and geographically/chronologically dispersed) that clearly delineating between legitimate owner and mere recipient of cultural IP becomes largely unfeasible. It is this infeasibility which produces the further difficulty of clearly identifying the proper set of individuals to whom authority is rightly given to determine how, and by whom, cultural IP is to be utilized. Sans a precise, non-arbitrary, method for determining ownership and authoritative jurisdiction of cultural IP, any effort to claim that CA constitutes theft will remain dubious at best.

Regarding assumption 2, it is important to note that though an offense can be associated with an immoral act, it is not at all clear that offense (in itself) is immoral. After all, one needn’t think too strenuously to conjure up any number of examples in which an act deemed offensive can, in principle, still be said to be morally neutral or even good (e.g. gay pride parades, onscreen nudity, or for my Christian friends, Jesus labeling the Jewish religious leaders as “white washed sepulchers”). If this is so, then it is simply not enough to claim CA is wrong merely on the grounds that it is deemed offensive. Rather, it is incumbent upon those who hold CA as a moral infraction to show how the offensive nature of CA is directly tied to a clearly identifiable illicit property imbedded within the act itself. Barring purported theft, it is difficult to think of what could possibly serve as this illicit property. If, in fact, no such property exists, then CA cannot be “wrong” in any meaningful sense of the term.

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