Cultural appropriation: a step in the wrong direction

  In an increasingly integrated society, the United States is becoming more diverse than ever, with a plethora of ethnicities, cultures, and languages blending into the melting pot on which this country prides itself. However, with this mixing comes its own challenges. Many in the USA do not want to move towards globalization, and others do so in the wrong ways.

  According to World History teacher, Mr. Trinkner, the concept of cultural appropriation has existed since early civilization began. Different cultures consistently borrowed from each other in order to improve and develop. Even the system of numerals commonly used around the world is an example of appropriation. In some ways, this process is essential, and helped create culture as we know it today.

  Yet, if conversing with those involved in social justice, cultural appropriation has a largely negative connotation. Sociology teacher, Ms. Porrini stated that cultural appropriation in the modern day is largely defined as using cultural symbols (such as the Hindu “om” or the Yin Yang) as a fashion statement, usually without understanding the significance behind it. Many do not give this much thought, but, when these symbols are used without reason, it can feel demeaning to people who belong to those cultures.    

 Cultures in America are nearly always diluted or blended together, so it is often difficult to determine what constitutes as cultural appropriation. Additionally, the topic is very subjective, as the harmfulness or offensiveness of such an act depends on an individual’s perspective. Still, it is important for the general public to be aware.

  “I see a step in the wrong direction,” said Mr. Trinker. Especially with the current political situation, division between cultures is occurring, rather than accepting culture and respecting it. While it may not be possible to limit appropriation, it is possible to learn from it. The belief of some is that, as long as people are aware of the meaning of the cultural symbols they are using and are appreciating instead of mocking the culture, cultural appropriation is not very much of an issue.

 However, as a sensitive topic, the opinions will always vary. In understanding cultural appropriation, one must consider all of the different points of view in order to be as accepting of this new integrated society as possible.