Cultural Appropriation

Cultural Appropriation

culture not costume

Defining Cultural Appropriation

How do we define cultural appropriation? First, let’s take a step back. Let's break down the word and consider the meaning of each term.


Culture refers to the shared patterns between a group of people based on their ethnicity, religion, geography, or social environment. This includes beliefs, traditions, language, objects, ideas, behaviors, or customs. Typically, it is thought culture belongs to certain ethnic groups.


Appropriation refers to the act of taking something from someone for your own benefit. So generally, it means to take something that doesn't belong to you. This most commonly refers to when a dominant group takes or borrows something from a minority group that has been exploited or oppressed for it.

So, cultural appropriation is typically an outsider taking something that isn't from their culture. This is, with or without the intent to harm, exploit, or denigrate.

Cultural Denigration

Cultural Denigration is the act of appropriating with the sole purpose of humiliating or putting down people of a certain culture. An example of this would be, blackface. This is where non-black people wear dark makeup to mimic the appearance of a Black person and essentially mock them.

Action List

1. Do your researh, do participate i anything that could be considered cultural appropiation?

2. If you do, how can ou turn your appropriation into appreciation.
3. Share what you learned to your friends. One of the largest causes of appropriation is unawareness.