GiovanaDeOliveira and BridgetHoffmann, Staff Reporters
In recent years, there’s been a growing debate over cultural appropriation, which is the adoption of elements of a minority culture by members of the dominant culture. While cultural appreciation is used when elements of a culture are used while honoring the source they came from. It can be difficult for one person to distinguish the fine line between either of these scenarios. How can both sides of this controversial topic be happy without crossing the line of cultural or racial insensitivity?
It all begins with respect and knowing what rules you can not violate. For example, imagine someone decides to dress up as a Native American and wear a headdress for Halloween or a music festival. Yet, they have no sort of cultural background as a Native American and the place that they will be going to has no sort of aboriginal background within the community. That would then be wrong and it crosses the line of cultural appreciation and appropriation and the elements aren’t being honored like they should for appreciation.
The significance of religions and cultures are rooted in history. This means that if one decides that they want to wear something that comes from a different religion or culture to look “hip” or “trendy,” then they’ve crossed the line and are no longer appreciating that culture. However, when you try to participate in another culture and religion in order to show its members your respect, it has to be done right in order to truly be appropriate.
Understanding the culture and being able to use it in your own style depends on if you have any type of connection with it in your background in order to make sure that it does not become an inappropriate use of its relevance. No culture nowadays is homogeneous, meaning that it’s a society that has similar kinds of people, especially where there are no significant ethnic differences. This means you need to understand the history of its people to appreciate the culture correctly. However, no variation of using other cultures or religions to just be trendy is acceptable. Understanding where one person crosses the line of appreciation and into appropriation is essential to understanding how to not be offensive and disrespectful to others.