If Cultural Appropriation is Wrong, What About Technological Appropriation?

in politics •  5 months ago

If you haven't been living underground or on the moon for the last decade, probably you've heard of cultural appropriation. It's a word critical theorists invented for when white European people adopt elements of other cultures in a way considered insufficiently respectful.


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In practice, it's a means of exclusion. It's the sentiment that the people I hate should stay on their side of the line and not touch any of my nice things with their dirty hands. People who harbor no racial hatreds have never once complained about cultural appropriation.

Case in point, the polite indifference of average Japanese citizens to the casting of a white actress (Scarlett Johansson) in the lead role of Ghost in the Shell:

The people you hear harping on about cultural appropriation are the ones who hate white people for one reason or another, and so are provoked by the sight of a white person engaging with their culture to any degree at all. To them, it feels like an unwanted intrusion.

A related question which is not often asked, however, is "what about technological appropriation"? If PoC hold the right to deny access to art, music, food, clothing and other aspects of their culture, do white Europeans and Americans have the right to deny access to their many important inventions?


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I once had occasion to ask a social justice warrior about this. The gist of their reply was that cultural appropriation is real and a problem, whereas technological appropriation isn't a thing. Their reasons were many, including that in their opinion there isn't a disrespectful way to technologically appropriate, and that white Europeans do not have a monopoly on invention.

That's true of course, and the reason for this article which argues against white people appropriating PoC technological innovations. How about that? Anybody can appropriate white American/European inventions, but European descended people cannot appropriate anything invented by PoC.

The examples of PoC inventions are predictably dire, like peanut butter and low rider modificiation of automobiles. I think we could do without those things, besides which George Washington Carver did not actually invent peanut butter as we were all taught growing up. Much like Kwanzaa, it was fabricated to improve the self esteem of African American students. A black inventor is responsible for the Super Soaker, however. Why not teach us about that?

By contrast, just about every invention associated with modernity came from the minds of white Americans and Europeans. Television, computers, the internet, spaceflight, robotics, DNA sequencing, lasers, the list goes on. This is the real reason why the social justice crowd denies the legitimacy of technological appropriation as a concept.

There's a reason why around the world, business is conducted in western style skyscrapers and business suits. Why offices all more or less follow the western standard as well. An office in Japan, Africa or India looks very much like an office in the US or Europe. The whole world is using electrical and internet infrastructure invented in the US.

The US leads the world in spaceflight, with Russia close behind. When China managed to send humans into space for the first time, they did it in a blatant copy of the Soyuz:

Shenzhou

Soyuz

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None of this matters to the mind of a social justice warrior, because it isn't useful to their narrative. It's difficult to paint an entire race of people as demons who are responsible for everything wrong in the world on a computer they invented, using the internet they invented. When you're surrounded by modern amenities invented by a race you're committed to vilifying, some degree of mental gymnastics are required to square that circle.

In this case, a double standard they make no serious attempt to justify: PoC can deny white people access to their culture and technology but white inventions are public domain, free for anybody's use in perpetuity. That doesn't seem terribly fair to me, but then social justice was never actually about fairness in the first place.


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You already said it in another article. We are like gorillas marking territory. This is it! We have not really evolved much, because we are still trying to tell the other how far he can go without touching what I consider mine or worse, what can be said without being offended. And that attitude is transferred to all areas. Joe Dispenza says it in one of his books: We continue working from our primitive mind. What can we say about the ego? Neither China invented rice, nor Italians pizza. Mankind has been exchanging with each other since the day that Adam built a boat in Asia and arrived in America where Eva was picking apples. Eva kindly offered him his apple, and from then until today all Adam goes mad for an apple and forgets territories, cultures, races and customs ... neither his ego nor his blue lineage has relevance. He only cares about his apple. But unlike gorillas (primitive assumptions) we like to complicate EVERYTHING we can. So we invented ideological battles like this Cultural Appropriation to make life bitter.

I do not know how serious the subject can be, it is today when I take it for granted. And it is not that I have gone on a trip to the moon or lived underground, it is that what you consider important, not necessarily must be for me. You know, everything is relative as Eisntein said. Either way, I already live my own war in my country, so my time is for issues that directly affect me.

Good topic for discussion and reflection. While reading it, I kept thinking that we can be stupid human beings.

I speak Spanish, my English is rudimentary learned at school, so I used the Google translator. I hope Google will not be offended because a South American used its technology. ¡Qué vaina tan loca!

As for @Blackvapor. I went through your profile, and I felt in love with the images of your children and your dog. What a beautiful thing his children's drawings! I think that the art of children is something that not all the money in the world can afford. They make me feel so happy. You know, I'm back to those days when everything is so simple and beautiful.

And I was disappointed in your attitude. I feel confused. I would have thought from your images that you are a good man with intelligence and emotional control, but it is not so. In my eyes you look like a fanatic, and for me the fans are dangerous, because they are irrational like the Taliban. You are seeing demons where there are none (and I got tired of looking for them, trying to be objective). You are defending your cause in an irrational way, just as the Chavistas-Maduristas do in my country, and in their eagerness to implant what they believe is the right thing they have ruined my country.

I would be afraid to be near you when you get angry. Is that your behavior when you get angry with your children or wife?

If I wanted to find someone to accompany me to protest against my government, because it is literally killing us. I would not call you, because I do not want more blood or deaths. I do not want innocent people to die. And probably your lack of emotional control would cause more conflicts.

Can you understand what I'm trying to explain?

I think that the disgust for cultural appropriation has a lot to do with the disgust that many people feel when they are ridiculed or misrepresented by others. On technological appropriation, even though many people could feel that other people using things that their culture invented is disrespectful, I think that it is not such a strong phenomenon.

In fact, many people feel pride when others use what they have developed. It is not so much when people steal designs and such. That is the reason why patents were invented in the first place. So it would depend on the exactitude of the representation, the intention of the initial invention (Was it for profit and was it patented? Did the person intend to hold copyright on the whole invention and technological intention?)

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Interesting insights. However these statements:

I think that it is not such a strong phenomenon.
many people feel pride when others use what they have developed

...seem subjective to me and difficult to determine the commonality of. I personally don't feel that way or think most people feel that way. Do you have polling data supporting your contention?

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Yeah, those statements are only representative of my own experience. I have not read about the topic and it's the first time that I read about "technological appropriation".

Cultural appropriation doesnt seem that bad, the world has alot to gain of wr share our cultural differences and see ourselves as one. When the whole thing might be bad is when we try to erase/write off another person's culture

Cultural, or for that matter any other form of "appropriation" is an obvious, and to a certain degree intended consequence of globalisation. It is unavoidable as we mix and experience each other's cultures.

When we create a meme or a parody, we are appropriating a scene or a clip of someone else's life. Are we appropriating that as well. Is that a bad thing?

Do all these SJWs really want to revert back to the days when there was very little if any cultural interrelationships? circa 1700's

As an afterthought, seems that this entire cultural appropriation malarky depends on someone being offended, be them the source, the memer or a bystander looking for an issue to yell about.
If the meme is flattering, does it still fall under this "crime".
e.g. a head of state honoring his host by donning a piece of traditional clothing or reciting a famous anecdote or saying from the host culture. This is a very old and revered form of diplomatic respect not only observed at head of state level but all the way down to husband meeting wife's family first time for e.g. How do SJW react to this?

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Good insights. Someone else also compared a prohibition on cultural appropriation to an embargo. I don't think people who take it seriously and consider it 'problematic' have thought it through that far.

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Why do you not want to hear the truth?

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I should be asking you that.

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You hide the truth with your steem power. That along with your REPUTATION may soon be gone.

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Racist people do not belong on this platform!

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Good luck with that. I'll still be here when you come to apologize.

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Apologies would be meaningless for racist people. You are not long for steemit Sir. I will not miss you.

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You will be exposed.

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Such racism

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You can if you wanted to

Taking from a marginalized group without permission, and usually with little respect for or knowledge about the culture is not something I would encourage.

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That brings up the topic of how to define marginalized. What percentage of the global population would you say is white?

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You are such a bigot. How white are you @alexbeymen?

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78%? 54%?

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I am half native American. You have a wrong idea about why I wrote this article and what sort of person I am. But it seems probable to me that you will be impossible to convince of this and will keep attacking me, so I will keep fighting back.

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I am half native American
Do you have polling data supporting your contention?

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No, I mean as in my biological father was a reservation indian. I am not the woman in that picture, if that was unclear. The existence of one person who has lied about their ancestry does not mean biracial people don't exist.

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So you have no polling data to support your contention.

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I would like to debate this, however you seem to think censorship is the way to resolve issues.

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Then explain which part of the claim you object to is factually incorrect. Every time I invite you to do this, you just go back to spamming insults:

What you are doing is censorship. How you don't realize that is baffling.

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Censorship seems to be your department

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You may not understand that I just want to debate your post. I respected you before this post.

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A significant percentage I guess

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A majority? Or a minority?

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It looks like I'm having a quiz this morning..haha

Culture evolves and adapts and grows as they encounter different cultures, this has been going on since the beginning of time... When I was younger I wondered about whether the practices we have now were exactly the same as they were 100 years ago... Now I believe that it's almost certainly different and it doesn't really matter. Outrage at cultural appropriation (clothing, movie roles, drinks, inconsequential trifles) is I think misguided energy better directed towards actual problems... For example the disproportionate use of lethal force by police against black men is the epitome of disrespect (not even respecting life) but I wonder how this can be fixed...

I agree with you that just about every invention associated with modernity came from the minds of white Americans and Europeans...

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There are still many improvements to be made, courtesy of clever engineers from places like China, India, Japan and the Middle East. I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for recognition of where the original innovation happened though.

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No, it is just misleading.

It is the environment that brings up this way. I just don't understand why we need to live this way and we can not live as humans only and not some white, black or brown segments.

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Perhaps in a better future, we will.

That is partially related to generation gap i would say. Our ancestors like to be bound to certain stuff because they have invested and spent their life in that so cultural appropriation become an embodied experience for them..
On the other hand, they havnt invested and followed their lives on the norms of technology so they feel easy to get through technological appropriation.

In order to be comfortable with cultural one they need to understand the same thing. Culture isnt an inheritance, its a product same as technology. But, it gets hard to understand this concept to them and at then end we keep reproducing the norms

I think the term "social justice warrior" is the biggest misnomer ever created. All they are about is division of the people, and seeking recognition from the people that their poo does not smell. If you ask a man from Nigeria what he thinks of a black man from LA, bitching about cultural appropriation, you are likely to get a very different remark than asking a social justice warrior what they think.

Cultural appropriation is not a problem, it is how we have grown to know each other at peoples, groups and nations. The problem comes about when an individual thinks it is a problem.

So the social justice warrior's would like no one other than Pakistani's to buy Persian Rugs, after all that is where they came from. They would want only people from Africa to buy stuff that represents their home land. Same for people people from China, only they are allowed to buy China made items. All the social justice warriors are about is embargoing trade between groups of people. If people stopped and thought about all the things that are a part and parcel of a culture, and that only those members of that culture are allowed to buy and use anything associated with their culture, then their culture will die out from stagnation.

Social justice warriors are nothing more than a distractor, to keep people from learning about people. Because when you learn about a people, you have no fear of the people.

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I have not thought about it as economic segregation before. I doubt SJWs have either. That's an interesting perspective.

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Are you afraid of your own words... I am disgusted.

I think that is the world, which has different tribes, races, religions but we are good human beings for it all. the problem of white and black differences as well. it seems to me, whether in accordance with our own thoughts. use of this tool that anyone may use but with the terms and rules that apply where we are.

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Indeed, I am happy that technology is shared. But if we freely share technology, why not culture? Why one but not the other? It seems like a double standard to me that serves only people who want to draw lines of exclusion because they don't like foreigners.

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as you say, but it is the individual who can determine that. especially if the government is very supportive to a better direction without regard to white or black he like @alexbeyman said earlier.

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Are you dense? The reason we do not share culture like tech should be obvious. If you had taken the time to become a human being this would be self evident

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Thanks for you sir

I agree with you that just about every invention associated with modernity came from the minds of white Americans and Europeans...

I actually can't believe this comment I just read here. I kinda find it inappropriate to say that Every invention associated with modernity came from whites. I mean lots of blacks were core or vital in several invention but we're not given the due credit because they were black. Every invention?? Oh come on. Recheck the history books.

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Examples?

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Many of those aren't inventions, but academic or business accomplishments. The ones that are inventions are overwhelmingly just improvements on something a white guy invented, like X-ray imaging. (item 2 on the list)

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You are really showing your true colors here.

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OMG...haha Did you just flag him??

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Yes, @alexracist is afraid, as he should be.

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Yep, he's accused me of racism for complaining about a double standard and making a claim concerning the history of invention that anybody with access to Google can quickly verify.

I do not tolerate bullying. He will soon regret his error.

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yep.. cyberbullying is not cool. But the topic is very controversial tho.

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Open Racism is controversial , Yes.

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One of us will

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Yes. to be fair He said, "just about." but not as racist as "The examples of PoC inventions are predictably dire, like peanut butter and low rider modificiation of automobiles. "

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Have a good, long cry about it then.

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You are the snowflake here sir. Wahhhh Wahhhh People of color do not bow down to my technological superiority.

I just resteemed this post to show what a racist @alexbeymen is.

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Look at your follower count.

Now look at mine.

Now back at yours.

Now back at mine again.

Think really hard about how this is going to pan out.

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OH I do. Good luck.

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Your Racism and bigotry is a small minority here Sir.

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You may want to try reddit or facebook

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As this is some of your last postings on steemit.com Dananana Hey Hey Hey Goodbye

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You RACIST

We have to stop the racism sytem now

Cultural appropriation is really a problem

we need all appropriate. but we don't get it

Just thanks a lot for shearing discuss about techonology appropriaton.I appreciate your post.keep it up..

i think the advancement of technology has fortunately made cultural appropriation more manageable and less problematic

What kind of propaganda is this?

are you kidding?

Who the hell would even write this? What a bigot.

THIS IS RACIST BULLSHIT!

This kind of racism does not belong on steemit!

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Nothing written there is racist. You do not belong on steemit. Enjoy having your rewards taken away forever.