The Importance Of Cultural Appropriation

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Cultural appropriation has been in the limelight over the years and this controversial topic has sparked off many debates. According to Sherwood (2017), the term “cultural appropriation” is defined as the act of adopting the elements of one culture by members of the presiding culture. It comes in many different forms, ranging from food, fashion to even music. While it may be deemed to be necessary for one to appreciate another’s culture, cultural appropriation, when used with the wrong intention, can potentially harm the society. This is especially so in America’s music industry or more specifically, black music.

Cultural appropriation is especially problematic in this aspect because most of the time the contributors, which are the
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(Gray,
2017) Although, there are some who argued that the whites are really just curious to learn about the styles of different genres. While this may be true to a certain degree, it is very difficult to ascertain the true intentions behind the appropriators and because of this, there is an equal chance that the whites are just trying to reap the profits off the black through appropriation.

Furthermore, cultural appropriation undermines the originating culture. Very often, the originating culture are seen to be disrespected by the appropriators as ideas are borrowed without a deep understanding of the culture concerned. For instance, Bresnahan (2016) mentioned that just last year, Coldplay’s and Beyoncé’s music video for the song “Hymm for the Weekend” in which Beyoncé was portrayed as a Bollywood actress, sparked a lot of anger among the public as it was seen as a form of stereotype towards the blacks. Indeed, such acts can have a catastrophic impact on the originating culture as they might be misunderstood by the public, resulting in them being marginalised and alienated.

In order to mitigate the problems that come with cultural appropriation, measures such as
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Hence, taking into account of the benefit cultural appropriation can bring about, here are some suggested solutions that can effectively resolve the problem of cultural “misappropriation” and yet allow for countries to continue exchanging cultural elements. One way to achieve this would be through education. Like what most people say, education empowers. By instilling common knowledge of cross cultural sensitivity onto the general public from a young age, they will be able to comprehend the importance of thoroughly understanding another culture before borrowing ideas from them. Unfortunately, educating a person takes time and therefore this measure can only be effective in the long run. As a result, short term measures must also be implemented in complement with education and one possible example would be the signing of an agreement between the cultures involved. Embedded within this agreement would be the sharing of profits generated so that the appropriated culture will not be exploited. As long as both sides can come to a common consensus, cultural appropriation can still continue, thereby not hindering culture
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