Appropriation is often described in negative terms. It can be aggressive and it can constitute theft and dilution of something. In some cases, appropriation results to ruins and profanation of something of interest. Many people are willing to share their cultures. However, they are reluctant or opposed to see others transform some or all of the elements of their culture. This is especially the case with people who have continued to hold on to their religions and cultures, even in the face of modernity. Therefore, there is a need to ensure that one appreciates cultures and takes measures to uphold the most important elements of that culture (Young and Brunck, 2012). This will be important in ensuring that one does not offend the specific cultural groups.
The company has to do whatever it can to uphold a positive public image. This will not be possible if it is accused of cultural appropriation. I would recommend that the company take the time to know all it can about the cultural artifacts. The company should know the history of the artifacts. Knowing the origin is especially important because it will give the company a chance to appreciate the people who developed the artifacts. The company has to ensure that it has adequate knowledge of how the artifacts are used. This includes both past and modern usage. This will ensure that those who buy the products continue to use them in the intended manner or at least they will avoid using them in the wrong way.
Providing information about artifacts is important as it will enhance understanding and make the people who own the artifacts more willing to share some elements of their culture. Several conflicts and misunderstandings have occurred in the past because people lacked information. In India, tribal people from a certain village opposed and demonstrated against a church that had used a traditional dress to cover the Virgin Mary. They were concerned that this would lead to misunderstanding and loss of culture in the future. They reasoned that in future, some people would think that Mary was part of their culture since she was dressed in the attire (Sharma, 2013). They have a reason to be concerned because dilution of culture is present today.
People in the western world are willing to adopt some elements of different cultures. They do so for different reasons. While some of the people genuinely appreciate foreign cultures, others are more interested in being named as exotic or adventurous. Some have taken measures that will lead to them profiting in the adoption of these cultures. The adoption of yoga as a form of fitness is a recent example. Many people in the western world do not have a full understanding of yoga. They tend to believe that it is a form of fitness trend. This is offensive to some Indians who observe the Hindu tradition (Smith, 2013). To them, yoga signifies more than that. Therefore, they are offended when others use it wrongly and when they are only concerned about financial profitability
The above examples signify the importance of respecting other people’s culture. Showing an interest in that culture and having the willingness to use artifacts in the right way is a sure way of avoiding cultural appropriation. Acknowledging the origin of the artifacts is important. Every person who buys, or who becomes aware of the artifacts, has to know where it came from and know the people who are associated with it. The company should get informed consent from the owners of the artifacts. It is possible to get the cultural artifacts from people who are only interested in conducting business. Such people will rarely be concerned about the origins and history of the products they sell. Most of them will only choose to focus on the profit part of the business. Therefore, the company should take the extra effort of finding out more from the owners of the artifacts. The company should seek permission from them before using the artifacts in commercial ways. Many people are interested in sharing their culture. They are willing to let others know more about it. Therefore, it is highly likely that the people will consent to other people knowing more about them. Moreover, seeking consent is a form of respect.
information is important. Every culture has protocols and beliefs. Some of the
beliefs are very strong in particular cultures even though other cultures may
think less of them. The company needs to find out the protocols, beliefs, and
perceptions of the Indian cultures that use the artifacts. This will go a long
way in ensuring that it does not offend the people by the way it uses the
artifacts. Communication is important as it ensures that the parties involved
agree on the same issues. It is possible that the company’s objectives of
exporting the artifacts differ with the goals of the people in those cultures.
Communication will enable the parties involved to discuss the company’s
intentions of using the relics. Negotiation is always a possibility (Young and
Brunck, 2012). For instance, it is possible that the Hindu community would
object less to the western practices of yoga if those who practice it will
acknowledge its origin. Owners of certain cultures realize that once they share
their cultures, the person they share with will not use it in the same way that
they did. However, since they have already given their consent, they will not
object and neither will they be offended when only certain elements of their
culture are used.
Sharma, R. (2013). Anger over Virgin Mary dressed in tribal sari. Retrieved from http://www.ucanews.com/news/anger-over-virgin-mary-dressed-in-tribal-sari/69114
Smith, S. E. (2013). Like it or not, western yoga is a textbook example of cultural appropriation. Retrieved from http://www.xojane.com/issues/yoga-religious-cultural-appropriation
Young, O. J., & Brunk, G. C. (2012). The ethics of cultural appropriation. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons
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