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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in cultural approproation
Day of the Dead and Cultural Appropriation

With Samhain just around the corner, its relation with Day of the Dead is an issue of some importance to many Pagans. Taos, where I now live, is famous for the ubiquitous presence of decorated Day of the Dead skulls in many shop windows, all over town, all year long.  Of course, Day of the Dead themes have been integrated into Halloween celebrations as well, even though Mexicans are a small part of the population. The dominant Hispanic community had been here for centuries when Mexican people brought Day of the Dead with them. Since then, elements of it have caught on, particularly with the White population. 

As it has, the issue of cultural appropriation has arisen.  Cultural appropriation is when the dominant culture, or members of it, borrow and use aspects of minority cultures outside of their intended context. Recently, Aya de Leon offered a thoughtful critique of Anglo celebrations of Day of the Dead as cultural appropriation.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. diZerega, Thanks for your thoughtful contributions on a sensitive subject.
My complete argument criticizing 'cultural appropriation,' and offering a more interesting alternative, is now up.

For those of you interested in examining the complete argument criticizing the entire idea of 'cultural appropriation' and describing a far better, and much more interesting, alternative view, I have now posted it up on my web site.

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Bringing it All Together, Part VI: a better way to address exploitation, theft, and lack of respect

This is the final installment on why neither Pagans nor anyone else do themselves or humanity any favors by discussing inter-cultural issues in terms of ‘cultural appropriation.’ In earlier sections I demonstrated this view is deeply incoherent. I then offered a more ecological view of culture as consisting of humans and memes as a far better perspective, one in deep harmony with Pagan insights about a living world. 

But what of the actual problems that attract well-meaning people to thinking in terms of cultural appropriation?  I close by returning to these issues.

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A Living World: Language, Memes, and Thought Forms : Moving Beyond 'Cultural Appropriation' Part IV

 

Many memes are communicated through language, and, like any tool, language shapes how we look at the world when using it.  Language facilitates some memes’ replication and makes the survival of others more difficult by shaping what relations are easy to notice and what relations require more effort. Different languages have different biases in this regard. One linguistic feature is particularly relevant here: do we experience our world primarily as objects, or primarily as processes and relations?  Clearly there is value in both perspectives, but which gets emphasis is in no small part shaped by language.

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Pagan News Beagle: Watery Wednesday, February 8 2017

Another Pagan takes a look at the concept of cultural appropriation and how it applies to our community. BBI Media CEO and Witches&Pagans Magazine editor-in-chief Anne Newkirk Niven talks about the future of Pagan publishing. And a journalist checks in with one of Eurasia's indigenous Pagan peoples. It's Watery Wednesday, our segment on news about the Pagan community. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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