I think that tumblr seems to have a very warped idea of what cultural appropriation is. Maybe I’m wrong, but to me something isn’t cultural appropriation unless it is blatantly offensive to a certain culture.
Obviously I’m a middle class white girl who, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t know…
I think you made great points that I really appreciate you for sharing, because I find myself nodding to a lot of parts. As a person of color, I feel you and also do see it a little differently sometimes. I think it is often so difficult for individuals to tell the line between, what is appropriation and what is appreciation, because for everyone the line seems to be different, the standards are different, and it does seem like nobody can ever “do it right,” kind of a lot like feminism debate. Which is why I personally believe, like many other things in life, finding your own personal definition after a lot of research is the way to go. And be confident in that, but also be open to taking responsibility and hearing other people out if something you said publicly hurt someone too.
Sometimes, even when you are truly appreciating the culture, it might upset some people if they feel like you are only trying to take the pretty surface value of it and not the history that comes with it. I can see that too. And such criticism, I think, is often the natural consequence when you are willing to openly explore your own cultural identity and other cultures as well. And by no means I think we should all shut down and explore only what other people tell us we are allowed to explore. We are living in a true mixture of all different cultural influences nowadays, which is a huge part of me, and I think these are great debates we are having.
I also think that learning from other culture and being immersed in it is an important process for us to find our own identities, because there are people who are of mixed decent, or people who were born in one culture but moved to another, or even people who live in a certain culture but identify more deeply with another. And those are all great, I really think those are all choices people should definitely be free to make for themselves. I am also a person who was born and raised in Asian culture who have identified more with American culture, and was criticized for it - “whitewashed” was the word people used to hurt me. But this is who I am. And I think such process of exploration comes with a lot of harsh critique that can certainly seem unfair. Overall, I truly believe that as long as we all remain open and willing to consider the other person’s feeling when it comes to something so sensitive, we can truly define our own selves and our own cultural identity as well as validate other people’s emotions and our own about it.
I’m just really glad we are all speaking up about our own perspectives. I was really forced to shut down and adopt Asian culture as my only true culture when I was growing up, even if in my heart it really was not, at all. I know there are decisions you must make for your own, if it really feels right to you. And also questions that must be asked.