Cultural Appropriation


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Thread: Cultural Appropriation

  1. #1

    Cultural Appropriation

    I'm writing a story set in Sweden involving some Lapp (Sami) cultural references. It follows on from a hike that I did there earlier this year. I'm British. Do you think there's anything inappropriate about that? Would Swedes feel at all that it was none of my business to be writing about this?

    Looking at it the other way round, if a Swede wrote a story set in ancient Stonehenge, say, I suppose I would find that a bit odd. Why doesn't he write about his own country? But I wouldn't be offended. And as long as he had shown a genuine interest in the place and done his research I would think that it was OK. And maybe interesting to get an outsider's perspective on my own country.

    So on balance I think it's OK what I'm doing. But does anyone have any other thoughts?

  2. #2
    Member LadySilence's Avatar
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    I wrote several short stories, none of them ever set in my country.
    I see nothing wrong with it.
    I believe it helps to know, expand, culture and knowledge.
    My dream? Being able to enter people's hearts with words: giving emotions and dreams.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by LadySilence View Post
    I wrote several short stories, none of them ever set in my country.
    I see nothing wrong with it.
    I believe it helps to know, expand, culture and knowledge.
    Thanks. Yes, that's what I think. It should be interesting for people to read about a part of the world they may well never have visited.

  4. #4
    Yeah, I’d say so long as you’re respectful and accurate there should be no issue. I wouldn’t worry about it.

  5. #5
    Hi there, I'm new so as yet unfamiliar with protocols.

    I wrote a long answer and a short answer; so thanks for your question as it helped crystalise a few thoughts in my own mind.

    Short answer:
    (In accord with others)
    Whether anyone else wants to read the story will depend less on cultural appropriation and more on how well researched and written the story is.

    Happy to provide the "long answer" which relates more specifically to Australian Aboriginal culture.

  6. #6
    I don't really believe in this "cultural appropriation" thing, beyond that it's an artificial problem created by professionally-offended crybabies these days. Cultures interact and appropriate something from each other all the time, especially in today's globalized society. Some of Western world's greatest artworks are the product of what some would call cultural appropriation today. Ancient Romans were masters of cultural appropriation, and used it to ensure peace and stability throughout their empire. So it's not like the phenomenon of one people intentionally adopting elements of others' culture is new or a bad thing like certain professional victims would have it.

    I certainly wouldn't worry about it at all. If the woke crowd has a problem with it, let them cry you a river.

  7. #7
    Write what you feel,believe...the publishing world is in dire straights with celeb novels and pc works that are written in a soap bubble...a great story needs grit,slime and unpolitical correct words.,
    The only one who can heal you is you.




  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by CyberWar View Post
    I don't really believe in this "cultural appropriation" thing, beyond that it's an artificial problem created by professionally-offended crybabies these days. Cultures interact and appropriate something from each other all the time, especially in today's globalized society. Some of Western world's greatest artworks are the product of what some would call cultural appropriation today. Ancient Romans were masters of cultural appropriation, and used it to ensure peace and stability throughout their empire. So it's not like the phenomenon of one people intentionally adopting elements of others' culture is new or a bad thing like certain professional victims would have it.

    I certainly wouldn't worry about it at all. If the woke crowd has a problem with it, let them cry you a river.
    Yeah, I agree. It's especially funny when people talk about a given subculture influencing mainstream culture, then complain when the wider population emulates it. I mean, isn't that the whole point?

  9. #9
    WF Veteran Squalid Glass's Avatar
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    I don't think any reasonable person would have a problem with respectful emulation or incorporation, Escribo. If something is authentic, accurate, and done in good faith, it should be fine, and your example seems to be that way.

    The problem of problematic "cultural appropriation" goes beyond emulation. It's more complex than that. It has more to do with double standards, societal inequities, and issues of cognitive dissonance.
    "I don't do anything with my life except romanticize and decay with indecision."

    "America I've given you all and now I'm nothing."

  10. #10
    I don't believe there ought to be a problem with someone writing on other cultures in that way so long as it's made clear the perspective belongs to an outsider.

    In my life I have been in two deviant subcultures that spring readily to mind. When someone writes a story specifically based in either (or both) of those subcultures, I usually know intuitively whether the writing is based on their own experiences, though most people wouldn't be aware. I suppose that's why it is better to ask questions of members of a culture and, even better, have some kind of beta read setup.


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