Intercultural Communication

Course Website for Tunghai FLLD Seminar

Appropriating cultures

Posted by thuicc on March 8, 2006

There’s an interesting entry at TheThink about “racial ownership“–by which the writer, Phillip Moore, is describing how certain ethnic groups seem to consider aspects of their culture as their own exclusive property and are offended by or ridicule anyone from other ethnic groups who try to borrow or adapt those cultural aspects. For example, Moore asks:

Just because I am black, should I ridicule Japanese society for adopting hip-hop and putting their own spin on it, even when most of the Japanese who are die hard hip-hop fans know absolutely nil about the true origins of hip-hop, which date back to Afrika Bambaataa and The Last Poets in the 70s? Should I make fun of them for wearing their clothing in a seemingly awkward style, in what would seem a desperate attempt to mimic the flawless hip-hop styles of African-Americans? Should I trash the term “J Rap” as a term for nothing more than Japanese wannabes?

He also criticizes Asian Americans (in particular, Asian Americans whose ancestors came from East Asia) who make fun of people from other ethnic groups who get tattoos with Chinese/Japanese/Korean characters on them. He implies that such people (or, on the other hand, African-Americans who make fun of Japanese [or Vietnamese or Chinese] rap) are often being hypocritical.

What do you think?

(Via Mixed Media Watch, where they’re discussing the post, also)

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