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What is cultural appropriation? Show more Show less
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Cultural appropriation, the adoption of aspects of another culture by members of a dominant culture, is not a new phenomenon. Today, wearing an insensitive Halloween costume or sporting a certain hairstyle can draw accusations of cultural appropriation. But what is cultural appropriation? A form of neo-colonialism? Racism? Cultural theft? Political correctness gone too far? Or is cultural appropriation actually cultural appreciation?

Political correctness gone too far Show more Show less

Western culture has a long history of borrowing from other cultures. Our cooking, art, and music demonstrates a rich blend of cultural influences. Yet all of a sudden, Western culture is not allowed to borrow from any other cultures.
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The charge of 'cultural appropriation' is racist

If the act of cultural appropriation was genuinely offensive, it would be offensive when everyone does it, not just white people.
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In today’s politically correct world, white people are constantly accused of racism. Cultural appropriation is another example of minorities finding an excuse to make white people out as racist. If it wasn't, it would be unacceptable for all races to culturally appropriate, not just white people.

The Argument

It is always white people being accused of cultural appropriation. When a white person wears henna, or braids their hair, or grows dreadlocks, they get accused of cultural appropriation. But when another ethnic minority does the same thing, they don’t face the same accusations. This demonstrates that cultural appropriation itself isn't the issue.

Counter arguments

This is not true. There have been plenty of cases where minorities have been accused of cultural appropriation. For instance, Pharrell wore a Native American headdress on the cover of Elle magazine and was forced to apologize for cultural appropriation following a barrage of criticism.


[P1] Cultural appropriation is only a problem when white people do it. [P2] If cultural appropriation was genuinely offensive, it would be offensive when everyone does it. [P3] Therefore, cultural appropriation isn't offensive. It is merely political correctness for political correctness' sake.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Cultural appropriation is offensive when anyone does it.


This page was last edited on Friday, 2 Oct 2020 at 12:43 UTC

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