Talk:Cultural appropriation

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Archive 1 (2005)


could someone explain why this shouldnt be merged into acculturation? --Urthogie 16:38, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

I think it has enough size and merit to stand alone as an article. I've taken the step of adding a section and copying in the lead to acculturation. - FrancisTyers 17:29, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
  • My impression is that this is, properly, a subset of acculturation, and recognized as such by antropologists, but that it happens to be a particularly controversial subset with a particularly POV article. I'm a little bit skeptical about whether this is actually the term used by anthropologists, though, since it seems like an inherently somewhat POV term. I've asked on Wikipedia:Reference desk/Humanities, and I hope that someone can clarify whether this is the case. -- Creidieki 17:48, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

It seems like this section was created based on a POV disagreement then. Aren't we not supposed to split articles because certain things are debated? And what, really, is the difference between this and acculturation?--Urthogie 18:07, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

  • If this article is actually "negative views on acculturation", then it's disingenous, yes. I thought that this was about a specific type of acculturation, i.e., taking small, separate elements from another culture without copying the context or values. So, wearing a t-shirt with kanji on it because kanji are cool is "cultural appropriation", but trying to consciously emulate Japanese business culture (in the whole) would be a different type of acculturation. Again, I'm hindered by my complete lack of knowledge on the subject, which is why I'm trying to gather other information. -- Creidieki 18:36, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

I don't know much about this either. Anyone with more knowledge willing to explain how its different?--Urthogie 18:59, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

I don't claim to be an expert, but I've been to a few trainings which included an hour or so on the topic. I have found it to be poorly defined even by those who are very passionate about it, but this is what I do know of their definitions. CM occours when you take something out of a culture without understand it/saying who's shoulders you stand on.

The whole "elvis did not invent rock and roll" sentence is so POV, I'm waiting for the legal "I support this message" message... from elvis's detractors.

As I said, I know lots of people who are very passionate about this stuff. I will ask them for comment. -The pi pirate 20:37, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Let's bring it back to dictionary definitions. The pertinent definition of appropriate from Merriam-Webster in this case is no. 3: to take or make use of without authority or right; and from Cambridge no. 1: to take something for your own use, usually without permission.
Merriam-Webster gives us this for acculturation - 1 : cultural modification of an individual, group, or people by adapting to or borrowing traits from another culture; also : a merging of cultures as a result of prolonged contact; and 2 : the process by which a human being acquires the culture of a particular society from infancy.
These are obviously two entirely different concepts. Cultural appropriation is generally understood to be the theft of aspects of the culture of oppressed/other people by the dominant/hegemonic culture. At its most extreme it has led to convictions of fraud in Australia - passing off artworks by non-Aboriginal artists as Aboriginal. These papers from an Australian conference examine some of the issues, particularly the significance of authenticity in the depictions of Aboriginal culture. This paper examines the intellectual property issues involved in cultural appropriation.
This book review of this book gives us this definition of cultural appropriation:
"the taking - from a culture that is not one's own - of intellectual property, cultural expressions or artifacts, history and ways of knowing"
and this statement in examination of the issue:
"Finally, four important themes arise from these essays and deserve mention: a concern for `cultural degradation,' when appropriators are said to steal the cultural soul of a people, `misrepresent them, silence their voices and purport to speak for them'; a concern for the dilution, alteration, and commodification of cultural treasures, as well as the trivialization and profaning of sacred practices; a concern for material deprivation when appropriators profit from the intellectual property of others without due compensation; and a concern for claims of sovereignty and control over cultural goods, which are often ignored."
For another example, this paper examines the differences between appropriation "from other cultures in accordance with the Aristotelian vision of creative, open-ended cultural life ... do[ing] justice to narrative traditions" and "superficial appropriation in cinema, television, New Age spirituality, advertising and mainstream media ... associated with greed, egocentrism and the profit motives of capitalism."
This is a well-known academic concept, not just discussed in anthropological terms but also in sociology, queer theory, linguistics, cultural studies - a google for ["cultural appropriation" discipline] (ie/ sociology, queer theory etc) or [1] will give you far better results, but a visit to your local university library might be more effective; personally I think the article is quite good as it stands. I've got a lot on at the moment, but I'll do some reading and come back. Natgoo 23:02, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
No offense, but that puts an inherent POV into the page. Hegemony is a disputed idea. Cultural theft is a disputed concept. This article even existing seems to be just to accentuate the "cultural theft" thats going on :)--Urthogie 08:16, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
None taken, but I disagree - it's a value-laden POV concept, but I think this article describes it in an NPOV way, including criticism of the idea. It's no different in that sense to our articles on Pro-life or any one of a number of controversial topics. In my response above I gave you some links to demonstrate that in some countries it is legally theft - I suggest you read them, and some of the academic works on this topic, before you make a decision about what belongs in an NPOV encyclopaedia. Natgoo 10:31, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the excellent explanation. A change I would suggest to the article is to make it more overtly clear that it is a value laden concept, as opposed to the relatively indisputed concept of acculturation.--Urthogie 11:55, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

IMO this article is a disaster. But IMO "acculturation" is also disaster. Ericd (talk)

18:26, 15 June 2005[edit]

Cultural appropriation is a perjorative description of the spread of cultural elements; selectively labeling some culture spread one way and other culture spread another way.


Another example would be the use of songs or music in general in manners that wholly contradict the original meaning, intent, or origin; e.g. the commercial use of songs like the grim coal mining tune Sixteen Tons and the anti-war song Fortunate Son to promote General Electric and flippantly-patriotic clothing, respectively.


An example is elements of African American music and language being labeled "appropriated"; yet the elements of European culture adopted around the world are labeled cultural imperialism. Calling the use of African American Vernacular English "appropriation" is especially ironic since the language used to assert the insult is a European language; which well illustrates the biases involved in selecting which culture spreads are perjoritively labeled and which aren't. WAS 4.250 00:38, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

True true. Merging sounds fair enough to me. This article tries really hard to explain a certain phenomenon that [usually] occurs when different cultures have been exposed to each other for some time, viz exchange of customs, habits, trends, lifestyle patterns, ideas and values. Cf also Westernization, Cultural imperialism, Cultural assimilation or Globalization, Syncretism, Language shift, Creolization.
But the title of the article implies that this is not a good thing. Maybe this article ought to just read: "Cultural appropriation" is a term, usually derogatory, used to refer to cultural exchange, q.v. Having such a large body of text that focuses on subcultures within US society, is more or less like explaining creole language or miscegenation under a non-neutral header like "degenerate speech" or "impurity of blood". Even if the content is informative, the title is biased. //Big Adamsky 06:44, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Again, I disagree - the concept, as treated in academic literature and from the perspective of people who have their culture appropriated, is a negative one. Do some reading, add some sources to the article, but please stop trying to make a value-laden concept value-free. If it's that controversial, whack a controversial banner on the article. Natgoo 10:36, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
from the perspective of people who have their culture appropriated is POV. Without knowing the color of my skin, is it "appropriation" if I
  • use English? (or is it cultural imperialism?)
  • make money singing hip-hop?
  • buy copyrights to rock songs?
  • buy copyrights for songs sung by another ethic group?(Michael Jackson bought rights to Beatles' songs. Is it "appropriation" or "cultural imperialism"?

China has retained ALL rights to Pandas. If you eat a turkey are you "appropiating" native american's intelletual property rights to turkry DNA?

The perspective in this article is POV. WAS 4.250 13:55, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Yes, it's a POV concept. Please specify what parts of the article you feel are POV - or be bold! Please, do some reading about the topic and make some additions/ changes if you feel they're necessary. Natgoo 23:16, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Indeed, I think the article needs to distance itself from the values, but still address them.--Urthogie 14:01, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Urthogie, I like the new intro - the hypatia article you linked to is great. Natgoo 23:18, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Reference for Irish stuff[edit]

I went to my university homepage by accident and came accross this: [2]. - FrancisTyers 10:23, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Yoghurt and feta cheese[edit]

Yoghurt and feta cheese (Turkish origin, adopted by Greeks) seems to me a poor example: it's simply cultural (or culinary) diffusion, not appropriation, no? Can we delete that paragraph? - Jmabel | Talk 01:02, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

I think cultural diffusion between any two warring cultures can be called "appropriation".--Urthogie 09:38, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
So half the vocabulary of English is "cultural appropriation" from French? White people eating chocolate or smoking tobacco is "cultural appropriation" from Native Americans? This is simply not how scholars use the term. - Jmabel | Talk 03:41, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
No? Then how do scholars use the term? The article gives the impression that it connotes diffusion between two conflicting cultures.----~~
As it says in the lead paragraph,
  1. the term (besides being a bit of a pejorative) connotes acculturation from a minority culture by a dominant culture. (The Greeks were not dominant over the Turks.)
  2. it involves a loss or change of meaning through a change of cultural context. (Yoghurt and feta cheese are not somehow deprived of cultural significance when they are made or eaten by Greeks rather than Turks.)
Jmabel | Talk 04:54, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Unless some reliable source calls Greeks eating yoghurt "Cultural appropriation", its inclusion doesn't conform to Wikipedia:No original research. Jkelly 04:56, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Cultural appropriation is nothing but a term for acculturation between warring cultures. There is always a loss of cultural value in this transfer-- its only called "cultural appropriation" when one group is pissed off at the other. So no we don't need a source calling it appropriation, a source calling it acculturation would do.--Urthogie 07:28, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Urthogie, do you have a citation for your claim here that "Cultural appropriation is nothing but a term for acculturation between warring cultures." As is evident from my remarks above, I consider that a mis-definition, and that is the nub of the disagreement. Here's an online citation that I believe bears out my usage: [3] from the site of the Unitarian Universalists of America. - Jmabel | Talk 05:30, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
Fine, let's go by this (POV) definition: "Cultural appropriation is acting in ways that belie understanding or respect for the historical, social, and spiritual context out of which particular traditions and cultural expressions were born." I don't see any citation that shows that the Greeks delve into the science of the Turkish culinary arts, or that they care about the lives of the farmers who used to make that cheese in the old country, or that they value other aspects of Turkish food in any other way. Until thats shown, one can assume that its been appropriated.--Urthogie 10:54, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
I still find your case here to be utterly unconvincing, but I'm not going to fight further over this rather minor matter. - Jmabel | Talk 21:53, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
I respect that, so if you want to revert it, go ahead.--Urthogie 07:05, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Vague sentence: please fix or remove[edit]

From the article "One unknown incident involving a Thai immigrant frowning upon the African American community has led to backlash where the individual being chastised posted retaliatory remarks on Indymedia." This is a vague sentence: please fix it (including citation) or remove; if no one has in a week, I'll feel free to remove it myself. - Jmabel | Talk 17:37, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

It's been a week. Removing. - Jmabel | Talk 04:08, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Possible refactoring?[edit]

Possible issues on what should be where among:

How should we refactor, how should we disambiguate? Discussion is at Talk:Reappropriation. - Jmabel | Talk 04:06, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Aggressive appropriation[edit]

"African American culture historically has been the subject of aggressive cultural appropriation." I'm not saying I disagree, but "aggressive" sounds somewhat POV. How about "a great deal of" instead? (And he starts the debate all over again...)--Raulpascal 20:58, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

And the war on prose continues. Why do people constantly want to turn good writing into mush, especially whent they "don't disagree"? - Jmabel | Talk 06:41, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Does having a written language count as appropriation? As far as I know, Africans had none of their own... (talk) 14:18, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Neither did the Europeans. :-) Northwestgnome (talk) 16:26, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

And now we all do. What a deal. Carptrash (talk) 21:44, 11 June 2009 (UTC)


I see that there is now a request for citation for pretty much all of the examples of what "some people" would consider cultural appropriation. In most cases, it should be easy to find primary sources in the form of blog entries that, in themselves, show that some people—the bloggers in question—would consider these things cultural appropriation. However, it is another matter to find a normally citable secondary source that bothers to state that some people think so. How do people think we should go about citing for this? - Jmabel | Talk 05:41, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Weak citation for "Plastic Paddy"[edit]

Urban Dictionary, the citation for "Plastic Paddy", is a weak citation. Am I correct that we recently deleted an article on this term on the basis that it was a not-very-widespread neologism? - Jmabel | Talk 01:11, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Proper citation added - WeniWidiWiki 03:02, 2 December 2006 (UTC)


While I think that there are forms of cultural appropriation, aren't many of the claims, merely racist? Many non-English people speak English - does that make them appropriators? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by MacRusgail (talkcontribs) 17:09, 16 December 2006 (UTC).

Not sure I understand your first question, but as to your second: not as a rule. First, the term is used mainly to refer to things a dominant culture takes from one it has power over, and there really is no non-English-speaking culture currently in that relationship to the English-speaking world. But there are some elements of something like cultural appropriatation, rather than just cultural diffusion, when English words are used as "cultural tokens", such as when a Romanian says miting ("meeting") rather than adunare, or when a French person refers to le weekend, or a Japanese uses ansa ("answer") as a transition to answering his or her own question. - Jmabel | Talk 07:15, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
I'll speak to the first question. "Culture" is not the same thing as "race" . Cultural appropriation can occur regardless of the races of the cultures, which could be the same or different; although, to the extent that racial identity is part of a cultural identity, there can be overlap. However, even if it were about race, it is not "racist" to identify the way societies or people operate along racial lines and describe the power dynamics within that behavior. --lquilter 14:03, 20 December 2006 (UTC)


Hi, I reverted to the last edit from April 16th. There's currently a "heated debate" going on at Hampshire College about the matter of cultural appropriation, and I found it appropriate (lol) to remove what seems to have been a trolling edit. Sykopomp 02:27, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

I just moved this sentence here[edit]

because (opinion) it does not really belong in the article.

In some cases, appropriation can occur to the point to where the dominating culture will credit itself for the establishment of the expressive element.[citation needed] For example, some believe that Elvis invented rock and roll[citation needed], which he did not.

It is possible that the editor who wrote it had a valid point to make but this sentence is not going to make it. Perhaps if s/he were to try again . . . ..? Carptrash 00:20, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

I agree this is a valid point, but yes, it needs to be sourced. I know I've seen it written about, at least in periodicals. The same has been said about rap; when The Beastie Boys became popular, some wrote of the fear that people would think rap was their invention. Probably music criticism is the place to look for sources on this. I probably have something around here... maybe in Dave Marsh's work. - Kathryn NicDhàna 01:53, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
I doubt that any one who knows anything at all about the history of R&R thinks that Elvis "invented" it. Even "White Only" folks know that Bill Haley came out with Rock Around the Clock well before Elvis got going. This is the same sort of thinking that has white Elvis stealing, or better, culturally appropriating, Hound Dog from black Big Mama Thornton. It just ain't so. Carptrash 02:52, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Inherent POV...[edit]

This article is inherently POV.

Doesn't the whole concept of "cultural appropriation" = "cultural theft" kind of imply that somebody owns a culture? Isn't that kind of a POV statement to begin with? Aren't all cultures the common property of all humanity?

Or do some groups have ownership rights over certain cultural products? For example, it's cultural appropriation when Westerners wear Japanese kanji on their t-shirts or watch anime, but it's cultural imperialism by the West when the Japanese put English words on theirs or watch Westerns?

(Doesn't this tend to imply that the culture of the "other" is somehow more fragile than Western culture? And doesn't this kind of imply a hidden assumption by those who talk about "cultural appropriation" that the culture of the "other" is somehow inferior to Western culture, because it's somehow weaker? Bigots.)

Aah, yes, now you begin to understand, Mr. Smith. 2 + 2 does not equal 4, 2 + 2 equals 5. 2 + 2 equals whatever the Party says it does. (talk) 23:41, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

History section[edit]

I see the entire history section (as seen in this version) has been deleted twice now. The first time[4] by some anon, on the basis it was "islamic propaganda is fucking obvious" and glorified Islam. The second time[5], by User:Bloodofox on the basis, "Section is completely unreferenced. Anyone can pull unreferenced information at any time for any reason". it lacked citations.

I don't see that either of these stated reasons are sufficient for the removal.

Regards the intemperately-phrased first reason, the text was hardly aggrandising or propagandistic in tone. In fact it was a rather dry description of achievements in the "Islamic Golden Age", such as may be found in any secondary-level history textbook.

Re the second, WP:PROVEIT does not give one carte blanche to remove "for any reason". It applies not to any [uncited] material, but "any material challenged or likely to be challenged" [emphasis in original]. I don't quite see what would be challenged about the statements made here on the Islamic Golden Age. Are there any in particular you think are not true?

More to the point, is whether the contents of that section have relevance as an illustration or example of 'cultural appropriation', and whether or not the transmission of certain knowledge from Greco-Roman to Islamic spheres has been described as such. That's something much more open to question, and if the objection had been that mentioning mediaeval Islamic achievements in this context was perhaps more akin to an [uncited] personal opinion of the section's author(s), I'd be more inclined to agree. What it needs is not cites to back up the factual/unproblematic statements, but cites to show why it is relevant to this article, and that it has been notably described by WP:RS's as cultural appropriation. But perhaps that's what the 2nd reversion was meant to convey.--cjllw ʘ TALK 09:41, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Cartoon Leprechauns Upset People?[edit]

The article text: Some people of Irish ancestry see the usage as an example of cultural appropriation and even racism. Leprechauns appear in many Celtic mythological motifs, and the reduction of this mythological figure to a set of stereotypes and clichés may be perceived as offensive. is cited to [[6]] which makes zero reference to anybody actually being offended at the reduction of this mythological figure to a set of stereotypes by people of Irish ancestry or otherwise, and just uses the mascot as a rhetorical example, and goes on to say that such mascots do a lot of good. Is this just interjection on behalf of a wikipedia editor or is there a source that says people really do get upset about this? Davémon (talk) 18:43, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Only support section?[edit]

Why is there only a "support" section. Usually w/ these kinds of articles, theres a support and against section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:24, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

The whole article is "against." However, I think the title of the support section should be changed. Can't think of what it should be, but it's not so much that they support cultural appropriation but that they see it as positive or at least a non-issue.Makana Chai (talk) 19:28, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
My thoughts exactly. I've renamed it Criticism for lack of a better term.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 19:39, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
The whole article is "against", but shouldn't articles be based on WP:NPOV rather than biased one way or the other? Davémon (talk) 20:27, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
"Criticism" sounds better, thanks. I don't think it violates NPOV because the subject matter is about a POV, but the article is presenting it in a neutral way. Makana Chai (talk) 22:01, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
The section complies with WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 22:15, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
Where does the idea that "cultural appropriation" is a POV come from? It's a subject area around which there are many POVs and the subject is controversial, but it is not in itself a POV. "Cultural appropriation" is just one way of discussing how material cultures interact with each other. Point in case, Michael Lazarus isn't critical of "Cultural appropriation" at all - he is critical of the wholly negative view of cultural appropriation held by some commentators. By calling his statements "criticism" the article naturalises the view that the activity of cultural appropriation is bad, marginalising the positive aspects of it, and creating bias where there need not be any. For one good example (out of many, many, academic works on the subject) of a neutral treatment see: A Companion to Aesthetics, Volume 3 Stephen Davies, et al. [[7]]. I think that represents the neutral, tone we should be aiming for, rather than the overly simplistic for/against structure. It also contains some of the more significant examples that the article is woefully missing: Picasso and the Elgin Marbles. What do you guys think, can we raise it up a level? Davémon (talk) 10:47, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
Well, you're reading too much into a few quick comments, but, it comes from the lead of the article:

"It describes acculturation or assimilation, but can imply a negative view towards acculturation from a minority culture by a dominant culture".

And from the first paragraph of the Overview section where it gives an alternative that's considered blameless:

The term cultural appropriation can have a negative connotation. It generally is applied when the subject culture is a minority culture or somehow subordinate in social, political, economic, or military status to the appropriating culture; or, when there are other issues involved, such as a history of ethnic or racial conflict between the two groups. A more neutral term is cultural assimilation which does not imply blame.

No one said multiple points of view don't exist.
Renaming the "Support" section simply made sense given the article as it's currently written. "Criticism" is not "Opposition". It's obvious that Lazarus' criticism has more impact precisely because it's assumed that: 1) he's not (at all) opposed to calling to a spade a spade, and 2) he knows one when he sees one.
You are way off base with all the "naturalises"/"marginalises"/"creating bias" crazy talk, but, whatever Davemon... be bold, no one's stopping you.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 15:35, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

We certainly can give it a try. Though this is sort of outside my range of materials and references. Carptrash (talk) 14:35, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

Well, I made the comment re POV because I am a complete neophyte when it comes to this area. I'm a researcher in Hawaiian traditions and am writing a book that sort of touches on this subject. Anyway, I think that Davemon clearly has some background and knowledge in this area, and the article definitely needs work. So yes, be bold, and I'll certainly help copy edit. Makana Chai (talk) 18:56, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

White people who think they're native american[edit]

So what exactly is the term for this? There HAS to be one, and an article for it. -- (talk) 01:34, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

"Mistaken?" Carptrash (talk) 20:01, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

call it nit-pockng[edit]

but is the phrase " robbed of their cultural property " really accurate if those who were "robbed" still have all their "cultural property?" I understand that this is a sensitive and complex situation, but this does not feel right to me. Einar aka Carptrash (talk) 20:05, 24 October 2011 (UTC)


I was sitting down to enjoy my lunch, about to scoop a large spoonful of green chilli salsa onto my burger when I found myself wondering if I was engaging in some form of cultural appropriation? and this brought up the whole issue of food as cultural appropriation. If music and language and art and whatever else are under consideration, why not food? Hopefully I have not bitten of more than I can chew, but will let the idea digest and get back to it. Einar aka Carptrash (talk) 20:56, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

inappropriate photos[edit]

The wikipedia article on cultural appropriation is horrifying. The article begins with a photo bearing the caption: "Non-Japanese person learns Japanese martial art." That is simply appalling and grossly misrepresents the subject. Learning a foreign art is no more an appropriation of the culture than were an English speaker to learn French or a Brazilian samba dancer to learn Russian-style ballet. Cultural appropriation occurs when the "non-Japanese person" adopts uniquely Japanese traditions and social cues simply because they are Japanese rather than in conjunction with the study of the art. As another example, there is a picture with the caption: "Angolan patriots in Ghana using chromatic trumpets of European type." I would argue that it is a better example of the consequences of colonialism altering the native culture than an unsolicited appropriation of the foreign culture. This is, in a word, a travesty. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:30, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

cultural appropriation vs. cultural diffusion[edit]

There is a difference, and, as the above IP editor comments, this article seems to efface that difference. A European American wearing a headdress is prototypical "cultural appropriation", whereas a Haitian speaking French is not. One part of the story is the definition of "appropriation": to make into one's property. Thus "appropriation" connotes the taking control, "typically without the owner's permission." Bioprospecting comes to mind, as does African-American music. Wikipedia suggests that Appropriation (law) means setting something aside for a special purpose, which may also be an important part of the meaning of cultural appropriation: specifically, the process of taking a cultural element out of its context (and then repackaging it by itself).

But also: cultural appropriation is related to racism. That's not just my opinion; if you do a Google Scholar search for "cultural appropriation", you'll see that the vast majority of articles refer to cultural appropriation as more or less a bad thing, where a more powerful group exploits the culture of a dominated group. We don't have to play up the 'bad thing' aspect, but I think we might say that appropriation implies a relationship of dominance. Maybe this dominance isn't a necessary part of the definition—given that the ability to make something one's own property implies it—but it's surely a major feature of the phenomenon.

On the other hand, the 'headdress' form of appropriation, if it does involve property/control, does so more in terms of fashion than in terms of copyright, and is therefore more ambiguous. The headdress (probably) usually fits the 'out of context' definition.

So: Angolans using European trumpets? Very questionable, IMO. Jamaicans wearing dreadlocks? Definitely maybe. Pete Seeger copyrighting We Shall Overcome after it's already been copyrighted by a Black musician? That's cultural appropriation. So I'm not sure how to draw a line, but I do think we should take more of a stance in the definition in order to differentiate appropriation from diffusion.

Curious to hear what others think. Shalom, groupuscule (talk) 08:51, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

I tend to disagree with some of this. What Seeger did, in my opinion, is more like copyright infringement, if anything, and even the wikipedia article on the song states that " words, and tune differ substantially." Let's see, a song where the words and melody are different, what did he copy? Carptrash (talk) 18:45, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
If you are interested in exploring the history of "We Shall Overcome", you will find a great deal of similarity between the version Seeger copyrighted and Shropshire's original version. Regardless, the issue of appropriating black music is much bigger than one song; see Appropriation (music). Would you agree that "cultural appropriation" implies a relationship of dominance? groupuscule (talk) 18:12, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
To me, yes, I think of there being an implied relationship of dominance, but what we think is really beside the point, it's what the references think that matters, and since those can be difficult to come by, I guess it's back to what we think. I am looking for an image of a Hell's Angel type decorated with an Iron Cross to use as the lead image because in my opinion the picture that is there is not that useful. Who is dominant between the wehrmacht and the Hells Angels is an interesting point, but I feel that it is a good example of CA. Et tu? Carptrash (talk) 19:09, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Usefulness of this References[edit]

Sorry guys, I suck at Wikipedia, but I noticed the 13th reference does not support the statement in this article. Maybe I'm just misunderstanding but I don't think it's a sensical reference — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:54, 3 March 2013 (UTC)

Examples and references[edit]

The examples section is almost totally devoid of references. Every example should be backed up by a notable source that has identified the use as "cultural appropriation". No matter how obvious it seems to an editors, wikipedia rules require sources. Ashmoo (talk) 10:38, 18 April 2013 (UTC)


Declaring POV as no views against cultural appropriation KylieBrooks (talk) 02:26, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Do you mean views against the existence of CA, or against CA? Are their any views that you feel should be included that aren't? Ashmoo (talk) 18:44, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
I too am asking for some clarification on the (two above) above posting. Carptrash (talk) 21:16, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
My guess, given KylieBrooks's user page, is that the problem is that the article has an "Arguments in favour" section (so apparently also written by a member of the British Commonwealth) but not "Arguments against" section. (talk) 14:30, 23 August 2013 (UTC)


What separates appropriation from other forms of cultural change (diffusion, assimilation, articulation ...) is the cultural element is used without consideration of its original meaning, and the new uses may offend members of the original culture. For example the use of the didjeridu by new age healers. Canis5855 (talk) 23:37, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Good luck finding sources for this sort of question. To me the "appropriation" part implies that the group the originates the whatever was appropriated did not give it up willingly. But that is firmly an opinion. If you want to do something really helpful, find a better picture - which is to say a photo of something that has been taken - a new age healer with a didjeridu, for example. Carptrash (talk) 13:51, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
Kibby, M. D. (1999). The Didj and the Web Networks of Articulation and Appropriation. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 5(1), 59-75.Canis5855 (talk) 21:30, 7 April 2014 (UTC)


The current picture with the caption: "Using plastic bottles for carrying water is another example of cultural appropriation." is obviously inaccurate and pretty not OK to have on this page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:51, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Misleading Image[edit]

The current page has an image of two young girls fashioning their hair with the caption "White people with dreadlocks". Although culture and race often have a significant degree of overlap, "White people" are not by definition a culture, and thus the actions of these individual cant be cited as an example of cultural appropriation, which makes the image misleading. As it stands, we are insinuating that a Caucasian (the race is in this case is arbitrary) raised in a predominantly non Caucasian part of the world be guilty of cultural appropriation when they simply abide by their upbringing and social standards. For example, "White people" adopted by families in japan aren't guilty of cultural appropriation when they wear traditional Japanese clothing.

An image (or caption) that doesn't insist the viewer make cultural assumptions based on bold declaration of race would be more likely to help solidify the concept, instead of potentially allowing the viewer to confuse a social concept with genetics. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:50, 18 January 2014 (UTC)