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What is cultural appropriation?
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Cultural colonization would be a better term

Cultural appropriation only takes place when a dominant culture appropriates a minority culture. Cultural colonization would be a better term to encapsulate this phenomenon.
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Cultural appropriation is when a dominant culture borrows or steals elements from a minority culture. Cultural appropriation fails to adequately encapsulate the colonial aspect of cultural appropriation. Therefore, cultural colonization would be a better term.

The Argument

Cultural colonialism would be a better term than cultural appropriation because it isn’t a problem when cultures of a dominant class are borrowed by another dominant class. Cultural appropriation only becomes offensive when a colonial power appropriates an oppressed culture.[1]

Counter arguments

In Canada, indigenous people boycotted the Canadian Indigenous Music awards over the nomination of a singer that uses traditional Inuit throat-singing techniques despite not belonging to the specific tribe that uses those techniques. [2] This case of cultural appropriation goes against the notion of cultural colonialism as a better term. The singer was Cree and was, therefore, a minority herself, belonging to a minority group with a history of marginalization in North America. However, those that are accusing her of cultural appropriation are also minorities. This is not a form of cultural colonialism, as the Cree tribe are not oppressors nor a dominant race. However, evidently minority on minority cultural appropriation still has the power to cause offense and should be included under the banner of cultural appropriation. [3]


[P1] Cultural appropriation can only occur when a dominant culture borrows from a minority culture. [P2] A term that better reflects this power imbalance would be more accurate. [P3] Cultural colonization incorporates the power balances at play in cultural appropriation. [P4] Therefore, cultural colonization would be a better term.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Minority on minority cultural appropriation exists and can be as damaging as majority on minority appropriation.


This page was last edited on Friday, 7 Feb 2020 at 16:32 UTC

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