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Subject: Cultural Appropriation
Author: boingloings   (Authenticated as boingloings)
Date: March 24, 2013 at 3:19:32 AM
This is a discussion I've wanted to have for a while, but until recently lacked the terminology. I don't think it was brought up here.

Cultural appropriation is the adoption of an element of a culture by another culture, usually on that's higher in privilege. Common examples are fashion statements, ex. dreadlocks, henna tattoos, even mohawks on white people, or liberals thinking they're exotic by eating Vietnamese food.

The name nerd equivalent would be, say, a person of color living in the west being named Melissa or Tom. That's seen as totally normal, expected. But what if Tom were named Takehiko in honor of his heritage, or Melissa were named Mojisola in honor of hers? Then that would be seen as them not assimilating into Western culture, as just more "different." Same way if they would wear traditional dress or style, or packed home meals every day.

Conversely, what if a white child in the west were named/ went by the name Momoko? Would that just be seen as trendy, or exotic, like if they were to eat "traditional" Japanese food? This is a more likely example than say, Olamide because of the anime craze that makes 14 year old girls glamorize, want to be everything Japanese (if you use the internet, you know what I'm talking about). I actually had a friend who swore she'd change her name to one she heard from an anime (idk if she legally did, but she went by it). Is this okay? is it different than if you "connected" with the culture somehow?
If I loved the name Olamide, even had a personal connection with it and wanted to name my non-African child that, would that be okay?

I realize this is an uncomfortable topic, and that's sorta the point.

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