Cultural Appropriation: Nasty but Necessary?

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Purple Knight
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Cultural Appropriation: Nasty but Necessary?

Post #1

Post by Purple Knight »

Question for debate: Do you agree or disagree with the parable below as an accurate analogy for the cultural appropriation paradigm in modern western society?

Once upon a time there was a very bad child. This was not surprising, as she was never taught any better by her parents. She hit other children and even stabbed them. She bullied them and hurt them. When she turned 10, she was taught to hunt and kill other people. It was a common practice in her family, and indeed, for them it was the norm.

One day the girl started having misgivings about her behaviour. When she turned 11, she decided to turn her back on her family and learn to be a good person. She was not alone, and many children from her large family were doing the same. She stopped going to the family school and went to the public school instead, though there, there were many people who had been hurt by her and other members of her family.

The girl still played her old games and clung to her old toys. Even though many of them were designed to help a child develop killing skills, she didn't think it mattered since they were just toys. However, when the other children took offense to toys like the stabinator and Mister Fleshpeel, the girl happily discarded them as parts of her old life that were best forgotten, even though she really loved Mister Fleshpeel and he was more her imaginary friend than a doll.

The girl started playing with normal toys instead. She got a Barbie doll and a jump rope.

When the other children saw the girl playing with her Barbie doll and jump rope, they didn't like it. Her face was different than theirs and it upset them to see the face of one of the murder family using what were once symbols of innocence, happiness and peace.

The other children told the girl to get rid of the new toys. It was cultural appropriation, they said, and it was wrong for her to play with things invented by those her family had oppressed.

"But then I have nothing to play with," said the girl. She was trying to be good, but sometimes it felt like the other children were seeking to punish her for her old life, not help her be one of them.

The other children said she should stop stealing things from other cultures and use things from her own. They didn't quite seem to understand that she had got rid of those things precisely because her culture was, in itself, objectionable.

The girl grudgingly got rid of her jump rope and Barbie doll and just resigned herself not to have any toys. Most of the children were happy with that and stopped there, but a few were still very angry about everything the girl and her family had done, so when they saw she was really trying to change and would heed them, they made more demands. Do this, don't do that, no don't do that other thing after all. They corrected her at every turn because they knew that she knew that they were fitter to decide what was right, since they lived in a good culture all their lives.

Eventually the girl got sick of it and went back to her family, who loved her and told her that she didn't need to change, even when she did. They are evil, they want to hurt you, so that is why we hurt them first. After the girl's experience, the bald-faced lies of her parents made perfect sense. The girl forgot about trying to change and hunted people for sport again. When she died, she, like all her family, went to Hell, and all the good children went to Heaven because they really were entitled to punish her for her misdeeds, but that didn't make anyone's mortal life any better.

The fundamental premise of the tale is simply that cultural appropriation really is wrong, and it actually is the worst sort of stealing, but that it may nonetheless be advisable for the sake of harmony not to chastise anyone for it. (That is, if you really want harmony. If your goal is justice then obviously letting people do wrong is contrary to that.)

I don't expect there to be anyone on the forum who doesn't concede that cultural appropriation is wrong; I expect everyone to already accept that. Might it be necessary anyway?

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Re: Cultural Appropriation: Nasty but Necessary?

Post #2

Post by nobspeople »

[Replying to Purple Knight in post #1]

I don't think it wrong at all, as seen as a natural occurrence that I'm seeing.
When cultures mix, they tend to share things about their culture (music, food, stories, religions, etc). Some consider this 'bad cultural approbation'. I see it as nothing more than life.
Now if someone were to take something from a particular culture to use it against them, or in a negative way, I could see how that could be seen as bad. That said, bad or not, it happens.
Cultural appropriation, from what I've seen (which doesn't speak for all of it, I admit) is a bunch of people who complain about something from their culture (even though many times they don't know from where it originated) so they can become 'the victim'.

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