argument top image

What is cultural appropriation?
Back to question

Cultural appropriation is the theft of elements of another culture for personal gain.

Borrowing elements from another culture is not cultural appropriation. But leveraging them or exploiting them for financial gain is cultural appropriation.
< (1 of 1) Next argument >


Borrowing from another culture is a gesture of appreciation and is not cultural appreciation. Stealing or exploiting another culture for financial gain is cultural appropriation.

The Argument

There is a difference between borrowing and stealing. Cultural appropriation is when someone steals from another culture for their own financial gain. For example, if someone who is not Native American, begins making jewellery in a Native American style and selling it for profit, they are stealing from Native American culture.

Counter arguments

Ideas don't work like physical objects - you can't "steal" them; if I use your idea of an aspect of your culture, you still can have it at the same time. Cultural expressions belong to the realm of ideas, which propagate and multiply when shared. Sharing culture makes it richer, and cultures that are not shared become abandonded and die.


[P1] Cultural appropriation is not borrowing elements from another culture. [P2] Cultural appropriation is using elements of another culture for personal financial gain. [P3] Therefore, if no financial gain has been made from the instance of cultural borrowing, it is not cultural appropriation.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Cultural appropriation does not require personal financial gain.


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 1 Sep 2020 at 13:38 UTC