With the risk of looking like a fencesitter, I do think both sides suck.
One side argues cultural appropriation is problematic because minorities in the west grew up witnessing their heritage ridiculed and to only get praised after white people find it cool. Another side argues cultural appropriation is not a thing because many Asians in Asia actually appreciate it when foreigners -white westerners, particularly — embrace their heritage.
There is one problem: both sides ignore that Asians in Asia — the non-marginalised ones, at least — don’t know how it feels to witness their heritage ridiculed and used as props by the others. It is obvious they don’t share the same grievances with their overseas fellows.
They generalise the demographic they are supposedly defending. If two fruits that grew on the same branch can be different from each other, what makes them think ones that are from different trees will definitely be the exact same?
Or maybe, the problem is they only think only one group has valid opinions. I don’t know why they cannot comprehend that the experiences of Asians in Asia and Asian minorities in the west are equally valid.
I initially thought it had something to do with the inability to grasp nuances. If they have contradicting opinions about the same places, then it is the case. It obviously isn’t.
Their opinions do not contradict each other because they are talking about entirely different places! It is like hearing about two houses with different inhabitants and then debating about which inhabitants are real and which ones aren’t.
Personally, I believe there is nothing inherently wrong about wearing any cultural attributes, regardless of their origins. Dictating how people ought to treat those attributes crosses the line; it is genuinely borderline cult-like. Hurt sentiment is a horrible reason to punish the so-called wrongdoers.
But, at the same time, we are obligated to humanise the people who create the cultures we enjoy; the cultures would not exist without them. You cannot love Chinese food and then dehumanise anyone you perceive as Chinese. In that case, the backlashes are actually justifiable and you have no right to complain about being cancelled.
Oh, and I specifically use Asians as an example because I am an Asian myself and I have encountered opinions about cultural appropriate both from Asians in Asia and Asian minorities in the west.
The opinions I hear about black cultural appropriation, however, always comes from people living in the west. I have yet to hear what Africans have to say about this.
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