Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cultural Appropriation

We have discussed the issue of cultural appropriation in our class before. The excellent blog, Threadbared, was brought up in this context. Due to the recent conflagration caused by the Urban Outfitters' Navajo flask and undies, and the constant recurrence of this topic in art school, I researched this issue a bit more and came across a couple of excellent blogs and other entries on Threadbared that I wanted to share here:

This latter post contains a succinct re-post from the blog Jezebel:

"'What’s so wrong with being inspired by another culture?’ Nothing, really. But “inspiration” drawn from a historically oppressed culture comes with a tangle of baggage born of generations of marginalization and bias.”

“A Japanese teen wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the logo of a big American company is not the same as Madonna sporting a bindi as part of her latest reinvention. The difference is history and power. Colonization has made Western Anglo culture supreme–powerful and coveted. It is understood in its diversity and nuance as other cultures can only hope to be. Ignorance of culture that is a burden to Asians, African and indigenous peoples, is unknown to most European descendants or at least lacks the same negative impact."

"It matters who is doing the appropriating. If a dominant culture fancies some random element (a mode of dress, a manner of speaking, a style of music) of my culture interesting or exotic, but otherwise disdains my being and seeks to marginalize me, it is surely an insult.”

One of these sites also featured this hilarious and smart satirical ad for a new fashion line:

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