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Why is Cultural Appropriation Considered Wrong?

By: Ryan L.

Why is cultural appropriation considered wrong? Cultural appropriation is the adoption or co-opting, usually without acknowledgment, of cultural identity markers associated with or originating in minority communities by people or communities with relatively privileged status. Can this be seen in areas such as music, dress, or art? Some view cultural appropriation as a celebration of that culture and make it more mainstream and thus accepted. They think it is an act of cultural sharing, which leads to greater understanding between peoples.

There are three top examples of insensitivity and perceived cultural appropriations in high fashion over the last few years. Dolce & Gabbana underplayed Chinese culture in a campaign in 2018; Gucci created a jumper resembling blackface in 2019, and Commes Des Garçons used cornrow wigs on white models in 2020.

In South Dakota, a Native American second tribal leader came forth requesting the removal of the four sculptures created by Ku Klux Klan member Gutzon Borglum on Mount Rushmore. Many support this viewpoint, mainly because the faces are carved on the tribal leader's sacred land. 

During a conversation with USA Today, Harold Frazier (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman) said, "Nothing stands as a greater reminder to the Great Sioux Nation of a country that cannot keep a promise or-understanding than the faces carved into our sacred land on what the United States calls Mount Rushmore.” Frazier stated his concern that we, as American citizens, are now being forced to witness our land's lashing with splendor, arrogance, and fire, hoping our sacred lands survive.

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