Cultural Appropriation Question

Discussion in 'General Education' started by mariecurie, Jul 30, 2018.

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  1. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    I would love some opinions on this issue I recently came across. I teach middle school, and I like to decorate my room in ways that the students find relevant and fun (memes, etc.). Let's say I have a door that's decorated with a certain song. It says, "I only love science and learning, I'm sorry" on it. It has a cutout picture of Drake's head and some other decorations. That song is pretty popular with the middle school age group. Would this be cultural appropriation?
     
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  3. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Cultural appropriation is PC nonsense. Almost every aspect of our society is the result of cross-cultural differences and influences from foreign cultures.

    It’s a free country and people can express themselves or dress themselves appropriately however they want.
     
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  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'm struggling to see how this would be considered cultural appropriation. Are you wondering because Drake is a person of color?
     
  5. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    yes
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'm not a big fan of the idea of cultural appropriation (if only because the first time I heard of it was from people giving me grief because my lily-white daughter was wearing a Moana costume and it didn't occur to them that she was five and it was Halloween and seriously why would you decide that in front of a five year old at Halloween would be a good time to rant about that?) but as far as I understand it, cultural appropriation wouldn't come into play here.
     
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  7. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Cultural appropriation is real, but I don't see what you described as cultural appropriation.
     
  8. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    It’s only “real” because hypersensitive people like to make issues out of non-issues.

    Japanese pop culture, for instance, has become hugely popular in the US and people dress up in anime garb and attend events all the time dressed as their favorite Japanese characters. This is just one example of many and that doesn’t seem to be a problem, but all of a sudden people are taking issue with how people express themselves from different cultures.

    If you have time to complain about what appropriate clothes other people are wearing, then you evidently have too much time on your hands and not enough hours of work. (This is not directed at you, but naysayers at large.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
  9. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    I don't want this to be about whether cultural appropriation is "real," because I believe that it is and it's worth thinking about as a teacher. I want perspectives on this specific situation and how it may be deemed as inappropriate or offensive. I would particularly like to hear from people of color, if you're reading this.
     
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  10. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    People of non-color can interpret things as cultural appropriation just as easily as people of color. Why assume it's only a one-sided thing? As a person of color who grew up being told by people of non-color that I "acted white," couldn't that mean I was guilty of cultural appropriation?

    I believe the op's situation is not cultural appropriation because cultural appropriation involves a dominant culture adopting the elements of a minority culture. So many people are mixed ethnics, mixed nationalities, and mixed race that it would be impossible to label a person as doing this unless you are giving that person dominant cultural status over your own. No one has a dominant culture. That's a made up thing by people who believe they're top dog. Cultural appropriation is an outdated term, by definition. Do what you want as long as you're using common sense and ready to deal with it if you're being insensitive.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
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  11. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    As someone who believes it is real, how would YOU define cultural appropriation? Before you receive a flurry of responses, it would be helpful if everyone were to start on the same page. Do you really believe that a "person of color" would be better qualified to comment on this subject? Would you prefer the respondent to be of a particular color? If so, which one? IMHO, this is indeed a provocative can of worms.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
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  12. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I had to look up “cultural appropriation”. o_O
     
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  13. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    To be honest, I'm not sure and I lack experience dealing with things like this. It's a gray area in my opinion because it could be largely determined by intent and perspective. It's when a supposedly dominant culture adopts part of another culture's identity, that other culture having been persecuted or illegitimized in some way, and in the process, the dominant culture tries to wipe that culture's history or experiences away. I hope that makes sense. To me, that last part is key - I feel as though I'm celebrating an artist's music by decorating my door like that - not at all trying to wipe someone's cultural experiences from history.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
  14. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    From what I understand, in order for something to be considered cultural appropriation, it has to be offensive or hurtful to someone from that culture. I'd like to hear from those who would be offended or deem it as such.
     
  15. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    This is where I believe intent also matters. Your daughter is emulating Moana, wanting to dress like her because she looks up to her as a role model. I honestly don't understand the harm in this, and that's why I was hoping someone could explain it to me.
     
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  16. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I’m European, African-American, Asian, and Native American. I definitely qualify as a “person of color” even though I have very light skin and predominately European features (wavy brown hair, green eyes, narrow nose, etc.)
     
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  17. whizkid

    whizkid Cohort

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    [​IMG]
     
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  18. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Hahahahaha! That’s hysterical!
     
  19. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    You’re amazing, you know that?!
     
  20. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    According to mariecurie's comment, you are therefore entitled to be offended by insensitive people such as: Asians and blacks who dye their hair blonde, non-Chinese who wear tatoos of Chinese characters, non-native Americans who like to wear moccassins, Japanese that have surgery to make their eyes less slitty (more Caucasian), or those who like to sing ethnic songs that are not of their own ethnicity. I've read that the fork originated in Europe and the spoon originated in Africa. Are those of us that use such utensils guilty of cultural appropriation? What about non-Asians that use chopsticks or frequent Asian restaurants? I'm offended that everyone tries to speak Spanish with the proper inflection, but don't have a clue how to properly pronounce chow mein or won ton. People should get used to being offended!
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
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  21. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Bravo, bravo! Encore!

    Can’t get any better than this comment.
     
  22. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I'm still having a hard time picturing the door you're describing... Are those the lyrics of an actual song?

    Putting up pictures of a celebrity wouldn't be cultural appropriation, especially if you have other celebrities and memes up as well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2018
  23. JimG

    JimG Comrade

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    No
     
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  24. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    If it's a question of classroom decoration, my suggestion would be to seek guidance from a department head or administration. A good rule would be to consider how a student's parent or grandparent might react to the situation.

    Beyond that, this thread is going far off the topic and getting more into stereotyping.
     
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