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The other day I went shopping at the mall and I saw a large number of, what I would argue, Native American inspired graphics - lots of feathers, dream catchers, and beads. It felt weird. If it wasn’t cultural appropriation, it felt dangerous close to the line.

Which brings me to my question...is there a respectful way to exchange cultural images and representations?

This morning Buzzfeed posted an article about a couple of teens doing a dance video. In the video they dance to a section of K-pop music. During that section, the choreographer had the girls wear a crop top that was vaguely Chinese style (print, color), chopsticks in the their hair, and Geisha style lipstick. The choreographer said she wanted to have a big costume change that represented the music. Obviously, it did not. There is nothing Korean in those outfits.


In fairness to the choreographer...I ask myself, how would I have felt if she had included a modified han-bok? Would it have been any better?

I think that the choreographer would still have been lambasted for cultural appropriation...but maybe not? I mean, dance and theatre are all about costumes to represent characters and is it insulting to have girls dress in Korean style outfits when dancing to K-pop?

Anyway, given the wonderful diversity of this group, I am curious to read other people’s opinions on cultural appropriation versus cultural sharing (for lack of a better word). I mean, our lives are global, we’re no longer limited to what is within 20 miles of us. Being inspired by another cultural can’t be a bad thing but how does one honor that inspiration without appropriating it?

Thoughts, my friends?


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