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A personal opinion on culture appropriation racism and preservation of identity of minorities in the

His work linked ancient and modern traditions and helped transform Indian modernism.

  • His home and gallery were ransacked, many of his paintings destroyed;
  • At the same time, their study found that while most European American students dissociated themselves from the film Crash altogether or situated themselves outside racism, a few students showed hints of self-reflexive critique, which is an important step toward resisting dominant perspective;
  • When the relationship progresses into the enmeshment phase, people gradually start symbolic convergence based on the commonality that they share.

His home and gallery were ransacked, many of his paintings destroyed. Husain, who died in 2011, was forced to live his last years in exile, in London and Qatar. Were he still alive today, M. The idea of cultural appropriation has, in recent years, moved from being an abstruse academic and legal concept to a mainstream political issue. And who gives permission for someone from another culture to use such knowledge or forms?

Appropriation suggests theft, and a process analogous to the seizure of land or artefacts. With artefacts and land the meaning of ownership is clear, even if in many cases disputed.

What really lies behind the debate about cultural appropriation is not ownership but gatekeeping — the making of rules or an etiquette to determine how a particular cultural form may be used and by whom. What critics of cultural appropriation want to establish is that certain people have the right to determine who can use such knowledge or forms, because at the heart of criticism of cultural appropriation is the relationship between gatekeeping and identity.

Such policing is deeply problematic, both artistically and politically. It deadens creativity and it assaults imagination. The importance of imagination is that we can take ourselves beyond where we are, beyond our own narrow perspectives, to imagine other peoples, other worlds, other experiences. Without the ability to do that, both artistic creativity and progressive politics shrivel.

Many objected to a white painter depicting such a traumatic moment in black history, and for that depiction to receive the accolade of a Whitney Biennial presentation. In my view neither painting has significant artistic merit. For critics of cultural appropriation, however, the real difference is not aesthetic, but identitarian. Schutz is white and Taylor black.

To subsume aesthetic considerations to those of identity is to render art meaningless. It is also politically troubling. They want to protect marginalised cultures and ensure that such cultures speak for themselves and are not simply to be seen through the eyes of more privileged groups.

  • For each theory, a brief genesis is provided with an emphasis on key concepts as they relate to cultural identities;
  • There was a point in the latter 1990s at which suddenly every sitcom and drama in sight had to have a gay or lesbian character or couple;
  • Because who is the appropriator par excellence, really?
  • On the other hand, too much emotional insecurity will cause fear of outsiders or unfamiliar strangers;
  • Others have called for attention to the saliency of racial identities in intercultural communication studies e.

Yet, as the poet Amiri Baraka once observed, the issue here is not that of cultural appropriation at all: It would not have overthrown Jim Crow laws in the 1950s.

It would not rid America of discrimination in the labour market today. Only mass social and political campaigns to transform the very structures of society — such as the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s — can bring about such change. The campaigns against cultural appropriation are an implicit acceptance that the playing field cannot be levelled, and that the best we can do is fence off certain areas.

  1. Across time, field, and space, groups of intercultural communication scholars have attended more to certain cultural identities than others. This type of contract suggests a person is not going to change who he or she is and is forcing other people to act like him or her Jackson, 2002.
  2. Since its inception, IMT has been applied to examine different intercultural relationships such as intercultural friendships e.
  3. Third, cultural identities vary in the levels of intensity with which they are communicated. Second, cultural identities differ in the salience or importance of particular identities relative to other potential identities across situational contexts, time, and interaction.

There are certainly many cases of the racist use of cultural forms, from minstrelsy onwards. Much art, though, is necessarily disrespectful, even contemptuous, of cultures and traditions. Such responses were inevitable — the point of the painting was to challenge traditional portrayals of the Madonna. In its retelling of the story of the founding of Islam, and its portrayal of the Prophet and of his wives, the novel was inevitably, and deliberately, disrespectful of Islamic traditions. Husain did not intend his paintings of Hindu deities to be disrespectful.

But many Hindus certainly saw them as so, a disrespect made worse, in their eyes, by the fact that the artist was not Hindu himself.

Cultural Identities

It also conflates respect for people with respect for their cultures and traditions. Equality requires us to treat all people as autonomous moral beings with equal rights and dignity. But while that requires that we respect the right of others to hold different ideas and beliefs, it does not require us to treat all their ideas and beliefs and traditions with respect or deem all ideas and beliefs and traditions as being of equal worth.

The bane of cultural appropriation

And its impact is as pernicious. Every society has its gatekeepers, whose role is to protect certain institutions, maintain the privileges of particular groups and cordon off some beliefs from challenge. Such gatekeepers protect not the marginalised but the powerful. Racism itself is a form of gatekeeping, a means of denying racialised groups equal rights, access and opportunities. In minority communities, the gatekeepers are usually self-appointed guardians whose power rests on their ability to define what is acceptable and what is beyond the bounds.

An American woman wearing a Chinese dress is not cultural appropriation

This is true not just of debates about cultural appropriation, but of much wider controversies over minority communities and the arts. These tableaux were drawn from nineteenth-century racist freak shows, which Exhibit B took as the starting point for an exploration of slavery, colonialism and present-day racism.

But black sociologists apparently do. Cultures work not through appropriation but through messy interaction. Writers and artists, indeed all human beings, necessarily engage with the experiences of others.

  • Cupach assume that the core aspect of IMT is the ability of individuals to experience and negotiate their identities in ways that can be understood and accepted by mutual parties in intercultural communication processes;
  • But writing fiction takes gall;
  • Counterstorytelling as a method views and legitimizes the personal and communal experiences of people of color as sources of knowledge;
  • Deeply rooted in colonial histories, racial and ethnic identities will continue to be salient, prominent, and influential in intercultural interactions in the foreseeable future.

The painting must go. Far from aiding the marginalised, such campaigns serve to close down dissent and debate. Nobody owns a culture, but everyone inhabits one or severaland in inhabiting a culture, one finds the tools for reaching out to other cultures. Cultural interaction is necessarily messy because the world is messy. Some of that messiness is good: Some of it is damaging: Such damaging messiness will not be cleaned up by limiting cultural interaction, or by confining it within a particular etiquette.

In reframing political and economic issues as cultural ones, or as issues of identity, campaigns against cultural appropriation obscure the roots of racism, and make it harder to challenge it. The campaigns against cultural appropriation are bad for creative art. And they are bad for progressive politics. They seek to police interaction and constrain imagination. For the sake of both of art and politics we need less policing and constraints, more interaction and imagination. Kenan Malik is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster.

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