LET’S APPRECIATE... NOT APPROPRIATE
HOW YOU CAN AVOID CULTURAL APPROPRIATION IN A COSMOPOLITAN CITY LIKE DUBAI
W e are living in ‘politically correct’ times. No doubt you’ve noticed that every other minute someone is being offended by something someone said, did, wore or assumed.
People are even offended by the assumption of offense itself. It’s exhausting to say the least. And the expectation that one must remember all the nuances of offence to everyone who ever existed all at once is, to me, offensive.
Cultural appropriation is one of those issues that many of us are on the fence about or simply don’t understand. It’s more than a buzzword, popular phrase or a hot topic. The term cultural appropriation continues to show up on headlines accusing people of misrepresenting and misinterpreting culture to cause offense.
OK, let’s take a minute here to think this one through. It’s confusing we know, it’s complicated, messy and sometimes hard to get our head around it but it’s important to understand what culture appropriation is and to recognise that it can cause offense.
So, what is cultural appropriation? Simply put it is the adoption of the elements of one culture by members of another culture. This “adoption” is often conducted in a “colonial” manner meaning that these elements are copied or taken from a minority or oppressed culture from members of a more dominant culture and used outside of their acceptable context.
In a place like Dubai, where there is a multitude of cultures intermingling with each other, this idea of cultural appropriation might seem inevitable. But it’s important to note here that there is a huge difference between cultural appropriation and fusion. Most notably we’ve seen that when it comes to fashion, style and performance, cultural appropriation seems to be a major issue.
So in an attempt to make everyone’s life a little bit easier, we’ve listed recent examples of alleged cultural appropriation and how you can avoid getting caught making the same mistakes.