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Old 09-10-2019, 09:32 PM
CairoCarol is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 5,003
I dunno, it depends on how you define "cultural appropriation." As a Westerner heavily involved in teaching and promoting a traditional Indonesian art to other Westerners, I try to be mindful of this. To me, something becomes appropriation when it is adopted/adapted with no attempt to understand the significance, history, aesthetics, and possibly sacred connotations of something from another culture. Sincere attempts to learn and show respect are fine, even if they don't succeed in reproducing the original. Even fusion is fine, if it demonstrates some attempt to understand the meaning of the practice/ food/clothing/whatever being integrated into some other context. (Hell, life would be much worse for us all if there were not continual instances of cultures influencing each other, producing wonderful new things).

What's not okay, and what does smack of appropriation, is mindless adoption of a cultural practice when there has obviously been no attempt to understand proper use or context. Something smacks of stereotyping rather than honest appreciation, like "hey, the Japanese wear kimonos, look at me, I'm wearing a kimono, now I'm like a Japanese person!" - when it could have easily been done right with a little interest in authenticity, but instead it is carelessly done wrong. Imagine, for example, an American burger joint in Okinawa decorated with Christian crosses because the owner saw some pictures of a church in the US and thought the crosses looked pretty.

Anyway, that's my two cents. We adopt and adapt Javanese stuff all the time in my group, but before we take a symbol like the "tree of life" which is such an iconic symbol of wayang (shadow puppetry), and incorporate it into a logo for our group, I read up and ask around whether we might be offensive/ignorant.
If I waited for memory to serve, I'd starve.