A Richer Tapestry: Cultural Appreciation (and Doing It Right)

We live in a world of diverse cultures, and it is so important for us to honor and appreciate other cultures, but there is a right and a wrong way of doing it. We only have to look at celebrities that are dedicating something to a certain culture that doesn't belong to them. The topic of cultural appropriation has been discussed widely over the last few years. Many consider it to be thinly veiled racism, but this is why we need to talk about cultural appreciation. How do we appreciate other cultures in the right way so that we can develop a richer tapestry in our own lives?

Being Conscious

We live in a world where we can't afford to be ignorant of other people's cultures anymore. In fact, it's nigh-on impossible to be ignorant. Because if we put one foot wrong on social media, it will easily come back to bite us. So before you start anything, you've got to think about what you are doing and who it may have an impact on. Buying a Tokyo Revengers jacket is something that can showcase your love of the popular Japanese anime series Tokyo Revengers, however, the show received a backlash due to the jacket’s manji symbol’s association with nazism, but the fact is that you choosing an item of clothing such as this will send very strong messages. 

It's not just about buying items of clothing because it looks good anymore. While we can argue that this is exhausting and we should be able to choose whatever clothes we want without offending another culture, we've got to be conscious of the things we purchase and how we convey our attitudes. We could very easily be perpetuating a stereotype that is harmful to this culture or we are showcasing a lot of ignorance that will encourage an internet pile-on. Just take the opportunity to step back and think first.

Reflecting on Your Culture

Culture is something that stems from within. If we want to appreciate other cultures, it makes sense for us to turn the mirror on to ourselves first. Because the fact is a lot of us may not have a great understanding of our heritage, but the best way to begin is to start asking questions and looking at our ancestry. A DNA test can show your ancestry, and you might be surprised as to just how far back your genes are rooted in a completely different culture, but this can also throw up a number of harsh truths. 

Being part of a culture that is not socially popular or made a number of historical mistakes are things that we need to look at, but this is why we can use this opportunity to be better versions of this culture. There are also the other aspects of looking into your past such as appreciating your family’s lineage and specific notions of the culture, whether it's the art, how people eat, and methods of communication or language. Your history is a rich tapestry, and it's a good idea to look at this before you start appreciating others.

Do Not Just Give Credit

We see a lot of people dedicate something to a different culture thinking this is a great way to honor and celebrate it but in the socially conscious world we live in, we've got to go beyond this. Cultural appropriation is such a massive discussion that if you are a white woman wearing Indian apparel you could be accused of cultural appropriation, especially if you don't have any Indian lineage, and the discussion is still going on, with the latest being Hailey Bieber’s brown glazed lips

While this could send a very strong message that you should not ever wear something that's beyond your race the fact is that if you can show your understanding and that you are willing to involve others in your decision-making, this can make for better dialogue between the two cultures.

Do Your Research

The fact is that we can all argue that most of white life has been stolen from other cultures. White cultures have laid claim to so many things that have come from elsewhere. Blues music is a very good example because of the spate of blues artists in the 60s and 70s; you could argue now these people would be put out to pasture because of cultural appropriation. 

But this is why we have to educate ourselves, understand our culture, and how it relates to other cultures in history. The best place to begin is to research your culture. When you start looking into the past, it gives you a far better armory to ensure that you are not putting a foot wrong.

Connecting to a Bigger Purpose

Religion is a very obvious example here. Faith is incredibly important because it gives people a purpose in life. Religion is an important part of culture that transcends boundaries and connects people from all over. Even if you're not keen on the idea of religion, the topic of faith doesn't have to mean a dedication to one almighty deity. In fact, you can feel connected to others based on a mission. 

People are coming together uniting against racism and fascism, which unfortunately is still prevalent. When you connect to a bigger purpose, you will not just feel less alone but you will appreciate why you are here.

Be Who You Are

We talk about appreciating other cultures, but why do we do this? You may think about getting into sports because it helps you connect to a larger group of people, but it takes guts to appreciate and be proud of who you are. There are things that make you who you are, and while we can certainly appreciate what other cultures offer if we are looking for something different in our lives, we are invariably ignoring the thing that makes us who we are, which is something we should be looking after

We can certainly appreciate what others have, but if we don't appreciate who we are, it may be time to start really digging deep into the recesses of our souls. We can always appreciate other cultures, but if you really want to form an identity, perhaps it has been with you all along.