Cultural appropriation

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Cultural appropriation is a term that was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in early 2017. We will examine the meaning of the term cultural appropriation, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Cultural appropriation refers to the adoption of certain elements of a society by members of another, usually dominant society. Cultural appropriation may involve absorbing elements of another culture’s music, art, religious practices or other customs. Though what is and what is not considered cultural appropriation is hotly debated, most consider whether the absorption of elements of another culture is with respect and within the appropriate cultural context. The term cultural appropriation first appeared in the 1970s in essays decrying colonialism.


“All who cry ‘cultural appropriation’ or whatever nonsense about any race of skin color wearing their hair in a particular style or manner — funny how you don’t criticize women of color for straightening their hair,” he wrote on Instagram in response to the digital backlash, adding that the dreads were inspired by the hot pink locks of his friend, producer Lana Wachowski, who is a white trans woman. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Several Twitter users called for Patrick to delete the post, while someone else pointed out: ‘It’s cultural appropriation since he himself doesn’t face the struggles w/ having this texture.’ (The Daily Mail)

Like so many acts of cultural appropriation from the past a lack of familiarity or a genuine connection to the traditions involved was hardly an obstacle to commercial or critical success. (The Observer)

Cultural appropriation has always been a touchy subject, but the topic has become especially heated in recent years thanks to so many media outlets setting bad examples (ahem, Vogue). (The Huffington Post)