Cultural Appropriation (cont.)


This is for cynicallyjaded, who was interested in my views on cultural appropriation.

I feel that the careless throwing around of the term cultural appropriation somewhat deligitimises it when it actually occurs. A non-native wearing Native American tribal headdresses and prancing around with facepaint on, or someone wearing a bindi with no regard for the meaning behind it; that is what I understand to be cultural appropriation, and when used in that context, then yes, it is a problem and it does happen.

Cultural appropriation is so much more than someone simply wearing the clothes of another culture; or eating the food of another culture. I agree that imitation and appropriation are two completely different things; which it seems a lot of people on tumblr don’t understand.

Now, the reason why I became annoyed with the term being thrown around, is because the things that were being said were along the lines of ‘white reverts and reverts in general feel cut off from their own cultures so they appropriate Arab culture and fetishise it.’ 

I felt that that was offensive to reverts who are genuinely trying to follow Islam without any interference from culture. I just want people to think before they completely debase and alienate us reverts by making it out like we’re trying to steal everyone’s cultures. If you do meet a revert who you think is ‘appropriating Arab or Asian culture’, then why not speak to them about it, and give them naseeha, as opposed to making angry tumblr posts on the topic.

If people want to take up a cause; why don’t we deal with the sheer amount of racism in the ummah? Or our Muslim brothers and sisters who are imprisoned? Or our brothers and sisters in other countries being tortured and oppressed. Just saying, there are bigger issues at hand here.

(Anyway, cynicallyjaded, I generally agreed with the views expressed in your post.)

I agree with your views as well. The part I missed in my post was when cultural traditions are used mockingly by others not of that culture. In that case, they’re just downright disrespectful, and again, would probably have a cultural void of their own, hence their need to legitimise their rootless stupidity by ridiculing the culture of others. 

But if not done offensively, I find it difficult to imagine any good reason for someone to take exception to others adopting or even adapting their cultural practises to fill a need in their own life. Even cultures themselves have variations of practises and traditions within their own groups, Indians being a typical example. You have the Indian culture itself, and then you have the castes within the culture that have various permutations of how certain cultural practises are observed. 

But for some, such variations are only allowed if you’re of the same racial or ethnic background, which is somewhat hypocritical (in my opinion), since that would tend towards racism or bigotry rather than a defence against cultural appropriation. 

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