Cultural Appropriation

This weeks readings focused on the importance of understanding cultural appropriation. The reading discussed how perhaps it is not as important to criticize people for appropriating others cultures; rather, work on understand why something is being appropriated. There are specific westernized standards that decide what parts of culture are “worthy” of being taken from. Pham states instead of just calling out when something is being appropriated, the real problem comes from why society is choosing to use only one specific part of someones culture.

With this video, I wanted to integrate understanding what cultural appropriation is (as it can be confusing), and where we see it in todays society. The first clip is a part of Katy Perry’s Geisha style performance in which she performs in a traditional Japanese fashion. This video features the quote, “Rather than obsess over whether certain forms of cultural appropriation are “good” or “bad,” “racist” or “post-racial,” we should ask what is not able to be appropriated, and why.” In this case, it is more important to acknowledge the appropriation and analyze why this style of performance was used by Perry. What gave her the power to be able to choose that this was a culture worth appropriating? Pham argues that the dominant population is able to pick and choose certain pieces of other cultures that they find aesthetically pleasing, without understanding the history or consequences.

I paired the Katy Perry performance video with a clip from a YouTube video discussing why cultural appropriation is an issue in our society and how it is harmful. I think it is just as important to understand why this is problematic, and then analyzing what makes certain cultures “worthy” of westernization.

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