Cultural appropriation or Culture misappropriation is the act of adopting elements of an outside, often minority culture, including knowledge, practices, and symbols, without understanding or respecting the original culture and context and using it for one's personal interest. It happens in adopting hairstyles, fashion, dances, food, etc.
There have been several American celebrities accused of cultural appropriation in order to ‘promote their image’. Also, in American Football, there is a national football team called ‘redskins’, named long after the slur was coined in the 18th century. A database published in 2013 by the National Congress of Indians (NCAI) indicates that there are currently more than 2,000 secondary schools with mascots that reference Native American culture. It is something so deeply rooted in America, that sometimes they don’t even realize it. So, what can we do to change? Educate people on the significance of culture and how it is something they identify with - not something for fashion or for show. All ages, children and adults, should learn about the importance of cultural appreciation.
Culture appreciation is when someone seeks to understand and learn about another culture in an effort to broaden their perspective and connect with others cross-culturally.
Improving cultural sensitivity by paying attention to one's own prejudices and biases, listening to others, asking questions rather than making assumptions, and cultivating knowledge about other cultures is already a step in the right direction. We can learn how to appreciate the culture, and not pick and choose what we enjoy. If you decide to embrace another culture, you should be there when they need it.
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