Canada and cultural appropriation? - Page 4

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Thread: Canada and cultural appropriation?

  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Foxee View Post
    Interesting that on a website devoted to the written word and what words mean, no one seems to be asking if 'cultural appropriation' is a term with a legitimate purpose or a real actual meaning.

    Meanings seem to broadly include (but are not limited to):

    • Unfairly portraying another culture (being insulting in doing so)
    • Being arrogant enough to research, appreciate, and portray another culture but you cannot be considered correct in doing so because you aren't of that culture.
    • 'Unfairly' taking on the aspects of another culture, as though by doing that for any reason it is always a mockery
    • Taking funds from government handouts under criminal pretenses

    These things are legitimate problems, and definitely should be addressed through social and legal channels. To me, it falls into a similar category as "Stolen Valor," where morons claim medals, uniforms, or awards that they didn't earn, and attempt to pass themselves off as a combat vet, veteran, SEAL, etc. with the aim of fraudulently procuring services, donations, status, or medical care.
    Sometimes, I wrestle with my demons. Other times, we just snuggle.

  2. #32
    Being a minority, maybe a minority of one, I'd rather some tell me what they think to my face rather than hide behind a facade of false civility. I can deal with the truth. Can you?

  3. #33
    This thread sounds like what would happen if you fed LSD to the staff at NPR.
    It has spun way out of context.

    Let's get back to the basics. The current definition of CA is:

    Cultural appropriation, at times also phrased cultural misappropriation, is the adoption of elements of one culture by members of another culture. This can be controversial when members of a dominant culture appropriate from disadvantaged minority cultures.

    So right off we see that WRITING about native Americans (or First People in Canada) is clearly NOT appropriation. You are not stealing their culture, stealing their music, or misappropriating anything.
    You are simply shining a spotlight on the fact that they exist.
    The flipside of this [belabored] argument is that a decade ago minorities were complaining that they were UNDER-REPRESENTED in books and media.
    But now that people are writing about them, some SJWs* are decrying it as cultural appropriation...??

    People, there is a difference between something being racial and being racist. Talking about race does not make you a racist.

    *Sorry BV, but SJW is a perfectly apt term for people who are entirely too PC.

  4. #34
    For the series I'm working on the leader of my four main characters is by his looks a First Nations member. I say by his looks because my setting is a fantasy world. It was important for me to have characters that look different. The cultures for the story I created, thus not having to worry about getting things correct and not offending anyone. What I appreciate when a real culture is used in a story are showing subtle aspects such as foods eaten, common phrasings, etc. I would only say be careful not to paint all characters of the same culture with the same brush. Show how people within the same culture and family will differ in their attitudes and behaviour.
    K.S. Crooks- Dreamer and Author

  5. #35
    I thought Charles DeLint, in his novel, "The Onion Girl," did an absolutely stunning job of writing about First Nations people. Fantastic novel, BTW. If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would. One of the few books I read over again, every few years.
    Sometimes, I wrestle with my demons. Other times, we just snuggle.

  6. #36
    If anyone wants a fun, quick read, I just loved the YA book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Louise Erdrich is another NA writer. These are good examples of knowing the group you're writing about rather than writing clueless caricatures, which it seems to me is the real writing issue here.

    But if you're a white, middle-class etc. type writer who just wants to drop in a "less mainstream" person or two in minor roles, I think that's pretty easy to do and doesn't require much, if any, research. From what I've seen, the big publishers do want to see at least a little of that these days, where not every single character is white, straight, middle class, able-bodied, etc. But diversity certainly doesn't have to be the main focus of your story. A better way to get a feel for it is just to look through some well published examples of the type of writing you want to do and see how it's handled.
    Last edited by Ma'am; January 11th, 2020 at 11:03 PM.

  7. #37
    I think this is a great place to ask for beta readers who are aware of First Nations culture and who can alert you to the issues you aren't aware of. Please definitely ignore the folks who say, "Write what you want!" By effectively showing concern about FN people, you're saying you want to represent them accurately and truthfully and non-offensively.

    What I'd do is put out the word for beta readers who are familiar first and foremost with the specific group of First Nations people you're writing about. I'm from the desert Southwest of the U.S., so associations I have with Yaqui and Dine and Paiute folks aren't the same as the cultures of the East Coast, for instance.

    I'd also definitely read up on the issue of native American representation on the Internet. At the very least, they can alert you to typical tropes or misrepresentations you want to avoid. Using a different example, if you were going to write about an Asian character, it's a great idea to avoid overdone and ultimately harmful stereotypes of "exotic" representation, and so on.

    Good for you for being conscientious.

  8. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Yes, but that's a sociological/political point and of tenuous relevance to writing.

    The only question worth discussing, where reasonable people may disagree, is what level of care should be taken to certain topics with regard to accuracy, and how to minimize (reasonable) accusations of opportunism and carelessness with regard to culture, race, religion, etc. That is a perfectly valid question and the only one relevant to 'appropriation'. Indeed, that's what the adult-level definition of 'appropriation' actually means, not simply 'you can't touch X because you are Y'. Nobody sane-minded believes that.

    As stated: The OP is right to tread carefully, however provided they do the necessary research and ensure they listen to the opinions of First Nation people prior to hitting the 'publish' button, they should not feel gagged. I assume everybody agrees.
    This is a fantastic and reasonable reply. We all appreciate that our genders, races, religions -- heck, even our professions -- be represented with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Accurate writing, in my opinion, usually results in more nuanced, complex, and ultimately interesting writing.

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