What Is Cultural Appropriation? | Feminist Fridays

Hi! Welcome to Feminist Fridays: a series
where we explore the social, the political, and the media from a feminist and intersectional
perspective…and use a lot of F-words. On today’s episode of Feminist Fridays we’re
gonna be discussing what has been by far the most requested video topic…cultural appropriation.
If you’ve ever been to a Halloween party then you’re most likely familiar with cultural
appropriation even if you didn’t know it at the time. What is cultural appropriation?
First we need to define what culture is. The sociologist Nicki Lisa Cole defines culture
as “the practices, beliefs, ideas, values, traditions, rituals, language, speech, modes
of communication, material objects, and performances that are central to the social of any given
group of people. Cultural appropriation is basically when you take something from a culture
that you don’t belong to, such as a Native American headdress…*cough* Coachella…and
use it outside of that cultural context. Usually without understanding its cultural significance
and often times changing its original meaning. For an example: the swastika, which we are
all familiar with as a symbol used by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Probably gonna
be swastika on the screen…just…we’re gonna go with it. Originally, the swastika was used
as a sacred symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism to represent prosperity, good luck, and liberation.
However, it started being associated with rather opposite concepts in the 1920’s when
it was appropriated and bastardized by the Nazi Party. This is the perfect example of
an outside group taking something from of religious and cultural significance and changing
its original meaning so that it’s no longer accessible to the group that it was taken
from. Modern examples of cultural appropriation include Katy Perry performing in a modified
kimono and Geisha makeup, Katy Perry performing in a Bindi…and just Katy Perry in general.
But isn’t America supposed to be a melting pot? The myth of the melting pot is an outdated
model used to describe the equal blending of cultures to create one single new and better
culture. However, most sociologists have scrapped this idea and choose to look at the blending
of cultures like a salad. They all keep their own distinct shapes and flavors and some cultures
are more prominent than others. Viewing America like a melting pot implies that all cultures
are mixed and valued equally which is not so much the case in the U.S. In the United
States you see a dominant culture that was originally established and enforced by white
European colonizers onto the native people of the land. An example of this is Christian
missionaries forcing Native American children to attend Christian boarding school where
they were literally forced to give up their cultural values and language in order to assimilate
into the dominant white society. You can also see tons of examples of this today, like the
negative stereotyping of black culture or the enforcement of the English language on
American citizens. So what is the difference between cultural exchange and cultural appropriation?
Cultural exchange occurs when two groups on relatively equal footing, meaning one isn’t
oppressing the other, share cultural items, idea,s or traditions with each other in a
respectful and informed way. A cultural group or group member is willingly sharing their
culture with another group and defining the exchange on their own terms. However, we also
need to look at the relationship between the cultural groups involved in the exchanging
of culture. Richard. A. Rogers states in his paper “From Cultural Exchange to Transculturation”,
cultural appropriation is inescapably intertwined with cultural politics. It is involved in
the assimilation and exploitation of marginalized and colonized cultures and in the survival
of subordinated cultures and their resistance to dominant cultures. When looking at cultural
exchange, it’s important to look at the power structures involved. Is the culture being
taken a dominant or subordinated culture? According to Rogers, there are two types of
cultural appropriation: cultural dominance, which is when a subordinated group takes elements
from the dominant culture. This is usually something that is imposed upon the subordinated
group and is more commonly referred to as assimilation. When immigrating to the United
States, it’s usually used as a tool to survive. The type of appropriation we’re more interested
in here is cultural exploitation, which Rogers defines as “the appropriation of elements
of a subordinated culture by a dominant culture without substantive reciprocity, permission,
and/or compensation. The line between cultural exchange and appropriation can sometimes be
kind of blurry and there’s a lot of grey area. So here are some questions you should be asking
yourself before incorporating parts of a culture that you don’t belong to. Is it a genuine
representation? Is it a sacred item like a Native American headdress or part of a sacred
tradition or ritual? Who wears the item or participates in the tradition–is it just
anybody or is it respected members of the community that had to go through a specific
process in order to gain access to it? If it’s an item you can purchase, who is laboring
and who is profiting from it? Is it from a group that has been historically discriminated
against? Might that group still be discriminated against today? And is the representation of
the culture presenting an exaggerated or negative stereotype? This is something I particularly
want to highlight. Historically, stereotypes have been used to justify racism and discrimination
against subordinated groups. For example, a couple hundred years ago black men and black
women were considered dumb, subservient, brutal, and likened to children needing guidance in
order to justify slavery. By dehumanizing them people were able to justify oppressing
them. It’s extremely important when exchanging culture to think critically about whether
or not we’re using accurate representations and if those representations perpetuate negative
stereotypes about the culture they belong to. Dressing up in a sacred Native American
headdress for Halloween might seem like a really fun idea but you need to think critically
about what you’re actually doing. You might have good intentions but perpetuating stereotypes
only simplifies and reduces those cultures rather than celebrating them. And by reducing
these cultures we reduce the people that belong to them and make it ea sier to justify their
oppression. Women’s bodies are not on public display for men to sexualize and give their
opinions on.


  1. Connal Kelleher said:

    I'd like to start this comment by stating that I'm not a feminist. However I'm not an MRA just looking to start trouble. I'm just fascinated to hear people's answers. If it is Cultural Appropriation to wear a costume that was only worn by a respected member of the community; What's the rule with Medieval European costumes. There are thousands of people who wear the costumes of Kings, Queens, Knights, Prince and princess'. These were respected members of their community so is it Cultural appropriation for people of colour to wear them as they were historically worn by white people? Or is it not racist because they are white and therefore have 'never been oppressed'?

    September 24, 2016
  2. i9incher said:

    so is it cultural appropriation if a black person cosplays wearing a kimono?

    I have many African American friends who cosplays this way, so are they appropriating them? (especially since there are more black Americans than Asian americans)

    I mean, since they use it as a "costume." isn't that appropriation?

    September 24, 2016
  3. ace625 said:

    The term appropriation implies ownership and culture being property certainly doesn't mesh with mine or most people's ideas of what property is. Ownership is accorded to those who expend effort to create a resource – can we actually pin down who invented head dresses or hair braids? I'm at a loss to find historical examples of this academic definition of cultural exchange. Cultures are very rarely on equal footing in terms of prestige or power and that's probably a big reason why any culture is transfered in the first place – it's a way to gain practices which are of a higher value to individuals. As such a Native American who sees a headress Haloween costume might recognize that people are valuing the headress uniquely for its aesthetic value and are not maliciously trying to degrade a people's beliefs. The sacredness and the appearance of the item are divorced from each other for the costume buyer. Is this something to take offense at?

    September 28, 2016
  4. Jane lane said:

    Appropriation is very subjective thing. Is wearing jewellery you bought from a country you while traveling appropriation? You could be wearing another cultures colours or necklaces in solidarity. Halloween was originally a Scottish and Celtic tradition and now is nothing like the original. Culture will change and the meaning of customs will change over time. Is doing yoga cultural appropriation? What about belly dancing? There are also many groups of people considered to be of color who have oppressed each other and taken their culture. It seems to be something which the PC left have embellished and does detract from a lot of important issues that are going on.

    October 2, 2016
  5. rr rr said:

    marina so how do you describe mestizo and white people in lati america? a lot of their cultures comes from native and african sources but theyre both the opressors… but no one ever argues that its their culture

    October 7, 2016
  6. remus grrrl said:

    Would also like to mention that the swastika was used also in a lot of Native American and South American cultures from way, way back……back when there was no contact between the continents. So it is not just a Hindu thing. Just thought you might like to educate people with the truth.

    October 8, 2016
  7. Paula Norris said:

    Just yes!

    October 11, 2016
  8. Arturo Stojanoff said:

    Your "s"'s are so clean and piercing. I love them.

    October 12, 2016
  9. Blackrose 78 said:

    It's one thing to completely rip off something of value from another culture and call it your own but to incorporate elements and make something new is different. If it's not an obvious rip off then that's Art.

    October 14, 2016
  10. big john said:

    So how does this work in a multi cultural society where integration is dependent on some level of cultural mixing, which in turn changes the culture of a society.

    October 25, 2016
  11. The Outsider said:

    It looks like all the racists look up these cultural appropriation videos just to dislike them and comment something ignorant and shitty. /rolls eyes

    October 31, 2016
  12. Artsy_Judoka said:

    Having groups become dominant and controlling of one another is bad, but the spreading and shifting of cultural significance is not part of that problem. It happens in all instances of multicultural interaction and is critical to the excitement and vibrancy of of culture which is and always will be a process of wild change not something you can hold tight and keep the same. If you could hold a culture still and unchanging you would have killed it.

    November 3, 2016
  13. enellv said:

    To be honest swastika is/was a symbol used in most nations (including Germanic). It was even wildly used in Christian practices. In my country, Latvia, we still include the symbol in various ethnic parades (like our song and dance festival), but I'd guess even in other countries in Europe the swastika might be used and still appear from time to time as it was really popular but unfortunately it got stained with the nazi name. It's probably mostly known as the religious symbol of Hinduism and Buddhism but it has deeply rooted history in most of the nations in the world, I just would not count it as taking from another group. 🙂

    December 2, 2016
  14. A box of roses said:

    I think that the problem is when we praise on race for doing something cultural different and be horrible to another
    (Such as the women loved kylie jenners dreads and make fun of Zendayas )
    I think thats the problem

    December 6, 2016
  15. Aya said:

    The Nazi Swastika is flipped to symbolize destruction instead of continuation of the life cycle. The original one is still a big part of religion *symbol.

    December 10, 2016
  16. FujoshiPeanut said:

    I agree in the cases of the swastika and like situations, but it's not all appropriation. I am not offended when a white person wears dreadlocks. I'm pretty sure not a lot of black people don't believe that. Hell black people relax and straighten their hair. Is that cultural appropriation?

    December 31, 2016
  17. Auz18 said:

    This youtuber doesn't quite hit the mark when defining culture, it's a lot more complicated than the analogy of a salad bowl. Unfortunately due to the argument being based on this definition the argument suffers. Culture, sub culture etc is never homogeneous, rather a persons world view is developed through experience which may share similarities with others but is otherwise unique.The definitions used here are outdated and akin to classical social theory which is morally and ethical sabotaged due to it's supremacist foundations. Additionally atypical sociology never quite hit the mark when it comes to culture, and they never fully transitioned form their need for fixity and definite answers… social anthropology has a wealth of literature that you can look up. Also when you add post-colonial theory to the mix then new questions are asked of what is 'cultural appropriation'.

    January 3, 2017
  18. Wade Rutherford said:

    The swastika has been universal throughout history, native Americans, Saxons, Pacific islanders, and other culture's have used the swastika.

    January 3, 2017
  19. Stephen hennessy said:

    cultural appropriation if I'm a practitioner of taekwondo and wear a dobak even though I am not korean?

    January 6, 2017
  20. Charles Waterman said:

    I agree with almost everything said here, and I'm really appreciative for The Feminist Fridays hosts' research and thorough, educated explanation of this topic. Clearly, "cultural exploitation" is bad, while "cultural exchange" can be non-oppressive and sharing if there is acceptance and support for the sharing on the part of significant/appropriate members the host culture.

    However, I think it would be more helpful to stop using the term "cultural appropriation" altogether. "Cultural exploitation" also involves taking elements of another culture "usually without understanding its cultural significance and often times its original meaning" I think a lack of understanding of the difference between cultural dominance and cultural exploitation is why people make some (excuse me) *silly* comments about "Why isn't Person Y from non-dominant culture Y using X from dominant white US culture X also cultural appropriation?"

    January 9, 2017
  21. Tyler Phan said:

    It's great to hear you quoting Richard A. Rogers, but I am afraid you have misunderstood his article. Considering you video video was made more than two years ago and your thoughts on the matter may have changed and/or you have probably heard what I'm going to say before, but it is important to clarify his article.

    Rogers (2006) actually lists four categories of cultural appropriation: cultural exchange, culture domination, cultural exploitation, and transculturation (477). The most commonly associated with the word 'cultural appropriation,' relates with his third category of cultural exploitation. He further problematizes the whole issue with the idea of transculturation. Personally, I felt that he was trying to monopolize on the concept of 'cultural appropriation,' but in doing so lumped heterogeneous and incompatible ideas under one category. Nevertheless, I am glad you're putting yourself out there to express your ideas. Keep it up!

    January 20, 2017
  22. Der Boss said:

    The Swastika doesn't come from there. Swastikas have been around for almost forever. It's like saying that the triangle belongs to a culture, because they used it. Swastikas were found in Asia, Eastern Europe, Middle and North Europe, in Africa and even in America.

    January 20, 2017
  23. Georgina Drewett said:

    great video but the defintion bits were a bit too wordy and difficult to understand. maybe you could try to explain them in your own words to make it a bit more digestable.

    February 18, 2017
  24. Bro Doodman said:

    Here's what I don't understand. Cultural assimilation has existed ever since the first human tribes came together. Animals assimilate with each other in their ecosystems in order to produce symbiotic relationships. Humans have assimilated, voluntarily, for thousands and thousands of years. Cultural "appropriation" is a way for racists to try to prevent assimilation from happening. Take the internet for example. If cultural assimilation never happened we would not have the internet today, our foods would have less variety, our clothing would be skins, and textile products would take a long time to produce. Throughout history one group gains technology from another group, who already gained technology from another group. That is how modern medicine was created. Without assimilation and cultural sharing we would still be speaking pre Shakespearean English and the USA, South Korea, and parts of Europe would have never existed. We are, in essence, animals. In order to survive as a species we must learn, adapt, and evolve. On the most basic level we are learning from each other, borrowing cultural and scientific information, language, and foods, and putting then together to form something greater: a world without racism, language barriers, or a need for war. We can't put an end to prejudiced notions of each other if we don't understand each other. If we don't understand each other we cannot learn from each other. Thus, on the most basic level possible, assimilation is the start of another stage of evolution.

    February 21, 2017
  25. Roman said:

    To all the trolls: please locate the nearest facilities and flush yourselves.

    March 4, 2017
  26. Roman said:

    Good work Marinashutup! You make proud and joyful!

    March 4, 2017
  27. Pandberri said:

    1:14 the budha/peaceful form of the swastika runs counter clockwise, as for the Nazi party form it was clockwise as the to be the opposite. 👍to let ppl know

    March 12, 2017
  28. woodsy said:

    The swastika was used by so many different cultures, celtic jewish, greek, aztecs, the ones you mentioned and so many others, the swastika was not cultural appropriation it was a universal sign.

    March 19, 2017
  29. Peggy Poet said:

    I am white and when I braided my whole head I was accused of cultural appropriation. I get it. Okay sorry. BUT if a black person dies their hair blonde / wears a wig isn't the same? I don't understand…

    March 21, 2017
  30. SuperTabbat said:

    Very informative.I had no inkling about the swastika. Wow.Just wow.Thank you for the education.

    April 11, 2017
  31. JiyongiesTOP said:

    Excuse me . Honestly if you're wearing something the wrong it's NOT okay but when something is right it's OKAY . PLUS SOME LANGUAGES ARE UNIVERSAL LIKE ENGLISH, SPANISH AND SOME ASIAN LANGUAGES LIKE KOREAN AND JAPANESE. Plus some languages are based off of English like Indonesian (BHS) , Spanish and Filipino ( Tagalog)

    May 7, 2017
  32. moon said:

    There's a difference between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation, I braided my non black aunt's hair, she thinks African American women are beautiful and she wanted to be as beautiful, she didn't go around saying #whitegirlsdoitbetter or #whitegirlswinning, she wanted to appreciate my culture, she understands the fact that if I wear breads I have a less chance of getting a job, but when she does it's called high fashion, she didn't call the braids "locs". I gladly braided her hair, because she respects me and respects my culture.

    May 21, 2017
  33. Petrhrabal said:

    if a black man wears a suite thats not culturally appropriate. Its a white heritage to wear suites not black, so stop wearing that.

    May 24, 2017
  34. Cletus TheFetus said:

    Proper "cultural appropriation" is how all societies advance. Play the computer game "Civilization" for a simple crash course. Or look at the development of the automobile. The Italians learned about pasta from the Chinese (does the name "Marco Polo" ring a bell?). The only truly unacceptable "cultural appropriation" is stealing someone else's ideas – that is, pretending YOU made up an idea and refusing to give credit to the people from whom you appropriated the culture. For example, playing blues, blues-rock, or pretty much any rock, and not acknowledging that black blues musicians were crucial to the development of rock is the awful "cultural appropriation" Marina speaks of here. Just being white and playing blues, rock, or even being a white rapper, is not inappropriate in the least. Nor is having dreadlocks (many white cultures developed them independently of African or Asian cultures), and so on.

    June 2, 2017
  35. akillarazarar said:

    This video is awesome 🙂 very intelligent (not only that one though, I just subscribed to the channel and I'm loving it).

    June 11, 2017
  36. J Martin said:

    About the origins of the Swastika: I went to this museum in Sweden and it said that it was also a symbol for the sun in Nordic culture. Not saying you're wrong (I have in no way researched for this other than with my poor selective memory) but as Scandinavia and Germany are closer, it makes more sense in my head that it was stolen from Sweden. Unless Hitler had tried getting some of that sweet enlightenment gold (spiritual gold) as an art project or smth. In that case, I am definitely talking out of my ass.

    June 19, 2017
  37. Kevon O'Brien said:

    if culture is a social concept created by man….why should i have to respect this? what exactly is the end goal of this?

    June 26, 2017
  38. Dark Angel said:

    So if me who grew up in hip hop culture compared to some black guys I know who didnt then its my culture correct? But I do hate when people use it in poor taste like trap artists and pop rappers and Drake. That shit offends the fuck out of me

    June 26, 2017
  39. Juan Salcido said:

    i am mexican and i never get mad by someone is using a sombrero de charro its funny see americans or asians o whoever is using the sombrero

    July 4, 2017
  40. Dwarf Of Programming said:


    July 6, 2017
  41. P. Mii love said:

    Although I can understand some of the points of what you are saying, in regards to learning a language I have a comment to make.
    Learning a language takes a lot of time, you have to attend classes (or study by yourself if you don't have a language school near you), buy books and dictionaries, watching programs/radio shows in that language in order for you to catch the accent and the entonation of the language. If the language has a different writting system you have to learn that too. It takes time and devotion to learn a language and get into the point where you can understand it and communicate. If a weaboo wants to learn japanese in order to understand manga and anime and with that consuming more of that industry isn't a bad thing. By buying manga books, anime dvds and anime/manga related goods from Japan he's helping the economy there. (what is bad is that if a weaboo is watching anime or reading manga online illegaly, that's being harmful to the industry). A person learning a language in order to infiltrate in a tribe and destroy it is an example of a wrong reason to learn a language for me.

    July 13, 2017
  42. glardian966 said:

    This Halloween, I'm dressing up as a crusader.

    July 18, 2017
  43. Aly A said:

    I think we can all agree that misusing and having blatant disrespect for another culture's icons and practices is bad. However, why is adopting certain aspects of another culture bad? As a mixed girl with a Scandinavian-Native American mother, a Filipino-Latino father, and a Mexican-Italian boyfriend, the lineage of my loved ones spans continents. Here in the United States we are a melting pot of skin colors and customs. We go to school and to work and parties with people of every background. We fall in love with people and produce children that look different than us because we are a country of mixed races and identities. We all deserve our own identities that set us apart from the rest, but to refuse the sharing of our cultures can only do harm.

    July 18, 2017
  44. Aileen Bordelon said:

    You clearly don't interact with people outside your own culture because many people different cultures love it when outsiders ad apt to theirs.

    July 21, 2017
  45. drlawitts said:

    If a German wears wooden shoes is it considered cultural appropriation or just homophobia?

    July 31, 2017
  46. Marcel Charter said:

    Whenever I see my kind on the telly as a stereotype my family laughs and claps. Prolly because no one ever mentions native Americans as much on the telly

    August 8, 2017
  47. DaileyOfficial on Twitter said:

    I hate how the Left turned a positive into a negative. If another culture wants to adopt parts of a different culture then thats a compliment. We should be a melting pot not multicultural.

    August 13, 2017
  48. failure2flinch said:

    no such thing as Cultural Appropriation and you are being OUTRAGEOUSLY SUPERFICIAL !    
    (and by the way the Nazi and Indian Symbols are NOT the Same thing! LOOK AT IT!)

    September 29, 2017
  49. Dan said:

    get a life

    October 4, 2017
  50. DokiDokiDaubeny said:

    The Nazis did not use a swastika they used a modified manji that was tilted at a 45 degree angle which was on a white disk with a red background this symbol is correctly called a hakenkruez

    However the National Socialist party did use a swastika pre-Hitler

    October 15, 2017
  51. RYANimations said:

    I think cultural appropriation isn't to be taken seriously. But it is extremely refreshing to hear someone other than my ideological (Ring wing) group explain it to me in a way that doesn't treat me like a child.

    October 16, 2017
  52. DaGamingLife said:

    so can mixed race do both? :3 or dont fit in either

    October 19, 2017
  53. Phish Phood said:

    Yes lets talk about cultural appropriation…..

    October 24, 2017
  54. Casey said:

    Thanks for this video it cleared something up with me. I sometimes listen to African music and have a Chinese take away. I was always confused how that wasn't considered cultural appropriation but dressing as Moana for Halloween is. In terms of the music and food it's members from a culture that's willingly giving it out and in Disney's or Katy Perry's case they've taken without asking. But does that mean if I made my own sweet and sour sauce that would be cultural appropriation? If the Chinese people at the take away apply for citizenship are they suddenly breaking cultural appropriation by continuing to run the business?

    October 27, 2017
  55. JuliannaJaynne said:

    I know this vid is super old, but I'm still hoping someone will see me and help me out. When I was a kid I dressed as Pocahontas for Halloween because she could paint with the wind, had a pet raccoon, and I loved her. Cool or not cool? What if I wanted do dress as my current fav Disney "princess" Mulan? Does it make a difference that I am representing a particular person rather than just a group?

    October 31, 2017
  56. LamiNalchor said:

    As far as I know, the Swastika was also a Germanic symbol, which was the original motivation for Hitler to use it.

    November 1, 2017
  57. IsabellaxCatherine said:

    Is laying edges cultrual appropriation

    November 13, 2017
  58. Lenny Nova said:

    You used something that is from another culture so pay me ! Pay me even though I didn't create it or own it !

    November 23, 2017
  59. Lenny Nova said:

    Today the number of oppressed people are oppressed by their own!Muslims are oppressing their own and butchering each other we see that everyday since the 1950s.

    November 23, 2017
  60. DomiDarling said:

    I HAVE A GENUINE QUESTION ABOUT THIS: I always nag my brother about listening to rap music (particularly white artists) because I believe that it is partaking in cultural appropriation. However, on the other hand he really does appreciate the art form (as do, I imagine the white rappers do), so where is the line between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation. I have always told him that cultural appreciation can only be achieved when both cultures are on a generally equal playing field. Would I be correct or not?

    November 29, 2017
  61. Jack Haveman said:

    My grand daughter has blonde, I mean extremely blonde, hair and brown eyes. Yet her grandmother is a full blood Native Canadian. If she wears anything from her heritage due to her legacy, would she be harassed for appropriating native culture? Will she have to carry a special ID to prove her heritage and would she be believed even if she did? Maybe wear something like the Star of David like the Jews did in Germany to show her ties to her grandmother.

    It seems we're doing everything possible to build walls around ourselves and we'll only allow those who fit the proper description or lineage inside. Then we stand behind those walls and peek out at our neighbours to make sure they're doing everything the way that they're supposed to. Mexicans must be Mexicans. Belgians have to be Belgians….and on and on. We can start to narrow it down even more. If you're not from my village, you can't wear our local hockey jersey or we'll rip it off you. Oh wait….we used to do that in the sixties.

    It's insane.

    December 5, 2017
  62. Lognhemr said:

    unt unt unt

    December 28, 2017
  63. Surfer Josh said:

    We don't need cultural appropriation. Just love others like you love yourself. Treat them like you would want to be treated. Imagine being in their shoes and presto! Problem solved. Love your neighbor. 🙂

    January 3, 2018
  64. salad gott said:

    That nazi symbol and the buddhist symbol faced diffrent way

    January 13, 2018
  65. Richard Parker said:

    As a Buddhist, I like to point out that both Hindu and Buddhists cultures have built themselves on cultural appropriation.

    For example, Tibetan Buddhism, a culture that is marginalized by the Chinese government, also culturally appropriated a lot of it's traditions from the Bon religion, which still exist in today's Tibet, and is also a culture that's been marginalized by Tibetan Buddhism. So are we supposed to tell Tibetan Buddhist that they have no culture of their own because a lot of it was "culturally appropriated" from a group they dominated, and that we now have to ignore the suffering Tibetan Buddhist have faced at the hands of Chinese communist? And do we have to pick a side, over which group is more historically marginalized, Tibetan Buddhists or Bon followers? ( I don't follow any of the Tibetan Schools of Buddhism, in case you're wondering)

    In Hinduism one of the ten Avatars of Vishnu is The Buddha. This was done after the death of Emperor Ashoka. Ashoka had converted to Buddhism, and Brahmin Priests were afraid Buddhism was going to replace Hinduism. So to fight this, the Brahmin turned the Buddha into one of ten Avatars of the God Vishnu, with the goal to undermine his teachings and stop the spread of a new religion. It would be like if the Catholic Church decided the best way to fight protestantism would be to turn Martin Luther into a Catholic saint and reinterpret his teachings so that it would fit with the same Catholic Doctrine he was trying to break away from. By your definition this is a dominant group taking something important from a marginalize group and striping it of its original meaning. Many Hindus today still believe that the Buddha is an Avatar of Vishnu. So are we supposed to say Hinduism is problematic for doing this? Or wouldn't it be better to just let it be and accept that all cultures take things from each other all the time? As a Buddhist, I'm perfectly fine with Hindus using the Buddha.

    January 21, 2018
  66. Ed O'Meara said:

    Hang on. The swastika wasn't actually taken from Hinduism. It was a good luck symbol in the late 19th/ early 20th century. Now, perhaps THAT was cultural appropriation, but the Nazis just took a generic, popular symbol of the day. Also, no amount of appropriation has made the swastika inaccessible to Hindus, so I'm not sure about this example.

    January 30, 2018
  67. thatsMeXxxx said:

    I don't get why you're criticising Katy Perry for appropriating ancient Egypt culture. Actually I always hated that video, thought it was pretty dumb and not accurate at all.
    But how can she offend people that don't even exist anymore? Maybe it's kinda disrespectful idk, but this culture has been dead for so long now that it doesn't really matter because no one will get offended anyways.

    February 12, 2018
  68. Evelina Åslin said:

    Genius ♡

    February 23, 2018
  69. sirsmack said:

    Thank you for using the Nazi symbol as an example. It is honestly the best way to contextualize what cultural appropriation is and how utterly degrading and destructive it is. Growing up Hindu in the US, I never saw any textbook that mentioned swastikas until I learned about world war II, and it made me absolutely furious. To this day it hurts me that that symbol will forever be remembered as a symbol of evil and destruction in our current modern context. It can never be dissociated from Nazism and fascism completely, and it pains me that an aspect of my faith was essentially raped by vile men who were too lazy to be original. Also, technically I'm Aryan by descent. The Aryans are the dark skinned ancestors of the people of Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. They were never, ever white. And that is another damaging aspect of appropriation. Nazis can fuck off for trying to claim my heritage and ancestry. It's going to take much longer to remind people of the actual historical facts. But it's always good to start where ever you can. Don't just read this article. Read about the history of the Aryan people in the Vedic era, and then go read about all the lost civilizations of Africa that the Europeans tried to erase from history. https://www.ancient.eu/Aryan/

    March 7, 2018
  70. Unoria SEIU said:

    When we say that a certain culture "owns" an idea or thing, which defines itself and it's identity, we see it stand out. Although, when refusing other cultures from growing and taking from that standing out culture (not including intentional negative reasons or misunderstanding reasons), those certain cultures not being allowed involvment in assimilation will feel segregated and an insecure feeling of inferiority, therefore, sparking things such as nationalism and racism. Yes, it is wrong for cultures to criticize and be ignorant towards outside cultures, although, i believe some parts of cultural appropriation is necessary for the blending of people to unite the human race as one major melting pot, or else, what is the point in putting these cultures close to eachother in the first place? For they will become isolated from eachother peacefully, and their differences will result in discrimination and non acceptance.

    March 8, 2018
  71. quiflington said:

    This is a real, real dumb and dangerous idea and it has permeated Western society on many levels. As an example- I play guitar. If i'm walking down the street and come upon some Mongolian guy totally kicking ass on his morin khuur I'm going to take his feel and incorporate it into what I do. You may call this cultural appropriation I call it being a musician. In other words- don't tell me how to run my business.

    March 23, 2018
  72. Jason Lee said:

    20 something year old girl gets on YouTube to lecture the world on what is and isn't acceptable… Kids can't wear innocently wear costumes at parties anymore because Swastikas. Got the message.

    March 27, 2018
  73. Agamemnon Sears said:

    Actually, there is a minor difference between the symbols of the swastika and the religious symbols of Asia and the Middle-East, so you have to pay close attention. One is pointing clockwise, while the other is counter-clockwise. They are similar, but they are not the same. It's like comparing a cross to an upside down cross. No offense meant, but please be careful when noting the similarities.

    April 2, 2018
  74. bajbhdkn said:

    I agree with the SJW on lot of things, but cultural appropriation is just not come of them. And Cosima Niehaus from Orphan Black agrees with me. But I agree with most of Mariana's videos.

    April 7, 2018
  75. artistphilb said:

    It's a new made up form of resentment for people who feel that they don't have enough things to be offended about, and for people who need more reasons to hate Katy Perry.

    April 10, 2018
  76. stonedidears said:

    Hi as a student of german history, the swastika is not that good as an example. You can find the geometry of the swastika on accient celtic atrefects, but also in africa and ofcourse all over asia. It is more plausible hitler took this symbol from celts or artefacts in europe as his symble, because off his ideology of a pure race. It is still kinda cultural appropriation, but in my opinion you frame it in the wrong context. I am sorry for my bad english. Still a good video

    May 9, 2018
  77. Matias said:

    Actually swastika was first used in Ukraine not in india.

    June 23, 2018
  78. Saffiyeh Jaffer said:

    question… I biologically have German- Irish,Romanian- Hungarian ancestry. however, I was adopted and raised by a Pakistan Dad and Tamil Mum. I was brought up exposed to Islam and Hinduism. I was taught to speak ,read,and write Urdu,Arabic, Hindi and Tamil.
    I somehow identify as S.Asian culturally, spiritually, and I do often dress in Salwarkhamees, sari, etc, as well as casual TShirts and stretch jeans. I cook S. Asian food at home though only… my question is , does this count as cultural appropriation ? am I doing something wrong? my parents and community seemed to be proud that I am the way I am , and that I am a byproduct of these cultures, but than I becomes confused at the concept of cultural appropriation,. especially

    June 24, 2018
  79. DaroriDerEinzige said:

    By the way, the stuff you said about the Swastika wasn't "wrong" – But also not right. It's much older than buddhism and also used in other religions, regions and so on.

    Anyway, I am glad that I don't have to live in the US ^^

    July 30, 2018
  80. toliverfive said:

    This subject is for people that like to waste mental calories, which in turn genrally makes them weak of mind and even miserable.

    August 13, 2018
  81. Jessy Hayward said:

    For example, I’m a white Hindu, so I can technically wear a bindi (which I’ll do when I’m married), but someone who is not Hindu cannot wear it. Most people wear it as a fashion statement which is really frustrating.

    August 25, 2018
  82. Abidemi Emmanuel said:

    This is my opinion but African braids are something the girls take part in we were frowned upon because of certain things like this and taking it and using it for a fashion statement I will admit in some ways it is is saying its not that important the hours and the pain girls go through and also the confidence it gives them is really important

    September 19, 2018
  83. JDP said:

    You are amazing ! Im so happy to meet someone who gets it ! I bet you get a lot of hate from yours truly !

    November 9, 2018
  84. Stephen Mayo said:

    Can you make a video discussing sterotypes in detail. People usually use sterotypes to enforce negative traits. However, the implications of not fitting into a "positive" sterotypes, such as an asian not being good at math, is equally damaging and not discussed often enough.

    February 5, 2019
  85. Représente La nation said:

    It’s a fake issue

    February 24, 2019
  86. Matthew Lowry said:

    Interesting arguments. This doesn't speak to the larger issue, I'm just addressing one argument you made, but I think equating past appropriation like the use of the swastika's use by Nazi Germany, and modern appropriation, Katy Perry's wearing of cultural clothing from other cultures than her own, doesn't hold water. And here's why. You mention that the meaning of the swastika was changed by the Nazis which made it no longer accessible to the Indian religions that used it beforehand. I agree. That's an extreme case. Probably the most extreme case in history, because of what happened in WW2. The symbol's meaning was changed so heavily and so recognisably by the Nazis, worldwide, and linked to horrific acts of hate and violence, it can no longer be accessed by Indian religion without that connotation being attached. completely fair. I can't, however, imagine a situation where Katy Perry wearing a bindi or kimono in a pop video restricts the people traditionally linked to those items from accessing them in any meaningful way. The pop video didn't address what bindis and kimonos mean to their cultures, but I don't see how it changed the meaning in any significant way to deprive those cultures from continuing to use those items in a totally significant way, to their cultures.

    February 27, 2019
  87. Emma Lynch said:

    I think anybody can use a culture as long as they respect it. Cultural appropriation is stupid.

    May 29, 2019
  88. Null Void said:


    August 8, 2019
  89. Kaiser 1404 said:

    Coltural Apropiaction is not rassistic, you ar a Rasist

    August 27, 2019
  90. Aaron Silver-Pell said:

    I can see it with the native american headdress- sure. They were genocided and it's a sacred item. But, like, a bindi? an egyptian costume? a geisha costume? OMYGOD someone is using a traditional dress. How special can the snowflakes get? I am 100% sure that most Indians are not traumatized by the idea of some white girl wearing a bindi.

    August 27, 2019
  91. Carly Wilson said:

    So my lot is from the Bell Beaker Culture (Native Britons). Yes we had beakers so of any one that is not British carries a beakers is offensive.

    August 30, 2019
  92. Swim Finn said:

    I feel like the people that push this agenda so hard beyond the normal boundaries (i.e., language learning) have come full circle and are in fact, more racist than the original "offenders". Thinking that people belong in these perfect boxes and must adhere to their labels is a far more frightening concept. It is those that cannot accept that change is constant are the ones who are doomed. Language and culture are constantly changing, especially when there is a high amount of contact between groups. 14% of Japanese is in fact, Portuguese. Arigatou is borrowed from the Portuguese word "Obrigado". Should the language purge itself? Should they go back to the original word okini? Where does it end?

    September 1, 2019
  93. John Webster said:

    What a freaking joke. We have actual real problems. We don't need to make up stuff to get offended by

    September 3, 2019
  94. Ryan Dravinski said:

    Cultural appropriation is such a fucking retarded concept. Especially the demonization of it.
    MMA practioner here. You see martial arts have thrived due to cultural appropriation. Kung fu would not have become as successful without westerners "appropriating" it.

    We also would not have the most effective martial art system (mixed martial arts) without this concept.

    Brazilian jiujitsu the best system for ground fighting( I'm a wrestler admitting this. Note I said ground fighting)
    Literally comes from the Brazilian gracies appropriating Japanese culture and art. I'm glad they did.
    Do you know how many lives they saved? How many women they gave confidence too? How much it changed the worlds perception of martial arts during the early UFC days?

    So go fuck yourselfs if you believe I shouldn't train judo because I'm white. Your opinion means nothing.

    September 22, 2019
  95. Sokami Mashibe said:

    I take a very different approach, one based on Evidence. I do not rely on a mostly theoretical approach that only has evidence for certain situations but not others, as is detailed in this video. every part of a theory must be based on evidence to be entirely valid. There is evidence presented at some parts of this video for when Appropriation is extremely damaging, such as the Nazi use of the Swastika, but that is used to make conclusions that don't quite follow. I argue that appropriation is only wrong on a purely situational basis according to what the evidence suggest. When there is strong evidence to suggest that things from a culture are being heavily bastardized for a particular political or economic agenda, especially including when it is at the immediate expense of others such as through the exploitation of labor, that is when there is valid reason to consider it very wrong. There is simply no evidence to suggest that there is any harm that can come from simply wearing something from a culture out of appreciation. However, if someone were to Derogatorily make fun of a a cultural dance, that can be seen in a very negative light, because such an action implies "These stupid people created a stupid dance that can be made fun of", which then leads to prejudice, which is something that is demonstrably very harmful. However doing a dance or wearing something out of simple appreciation or personal preference is not demonstrably harmful at all, because there is no evidence to suggest it is.

    October 12, 2019
  96. rantsu said:

    So you're saying Japanese should stop using kanji because they took it from China? Or are you a self hating white person?

    October 26, 2019
  97. Billy Riedel said:

    My feeling is if you are doing it to appreciate the culture then that is fine, but if you do it mock a culture, then that is wrong.

    November 13, 2019
  98. Ignacio Forte said:

    My culture invented the wheel why tf are you using my culture!!

    November 13, 2019
  99. philip freyaborn said:

    Swastika broaches are found in England in 6th and 7th Century Pagan Anglo-Saxon graves (so did Asians appropriate it from us?)………..Halloween is an ancient British Pagan religious festival (so are non-British people appropriating it from us?)…………Your hair's been bleached blonde (so are you appropriating and disrespecting our physical traits?)
    BTW for somebody who claims to be a Feminist…….You seem keen on defending cultures that often treat Women like crap………….FGM ,,,,,,,,, 'honour' killings ,,,,,,, The stoning of rape victims ,,,,,,, acid attacks on women ,,,,, forced marriages ,,,,,,,, female infanticide ………….. GOOD JOB THAT WE DON'T "APPROPRIATE" THESE CULTURAL CUSTOMS EH? ….GET YOUR PRIORITIES RIGHT YOU COMPLETE OAF

    November 16, 2019
  100. Kylynd Adams said:

    I wear a turban and I am white

    November 29, 2019

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