Cultural Appropriation and a Culture Commons

As you may be aware, there are lots of anti-appropriators out there, who don’t want members of a dominant culture, to use elements of a minority culture. This is no different than copyright,  or a minority culture attempting to enforce copyright on elements of their own culture.  While they certainly have the freedom to do that, it is my humble opinion that it hinders the ability for their culture to expand.

I personally don’t want to have anything to do with a people that copyright their own culture to the extent that they don’t want me to use it. Just like I don’t use proprietary software, or listen to proprietary music, or do business with proprietary companies if I can avoid it.

Anyways, it would be good if there was a Culture Commons, similar to and perhaps a subset of the Creative Commons movement.  For instance one of the groups most against cultural appropriation is first nations, AKA “native americans”.  Perhaps there can be found or convinced one of the many tribes to share their culture, or put it in the Culture Commons, so people could freely adopt elements of their culture.

If it was a tribe in Canada, then I could feel more authentically Canadian by adopting elements of this tribe, which is okay with me adopting elements of their culture, and thus becoming more likely to support their culture, financially, socially and creatively in future. Perhaps once other minority cultures see the success that a Cultural Commons tribe is having, then they to may also join the Culture Commons.

If there was a Culture Commons what would be in it by default?  According to the Cultural Appropriation debate, it would be anything non-religious that is western,  so suits, ties,  knives, forks.  By only allowing dominant culture items in the Cultural Commons, minority cultures are inadvertently making the dominant culture more dominant.

Personally, I use chop sticks, make sushi, meditate, do yoga, and adopt many Asian cultural artifacts, even though I was born in Europe and live in Canada.  I’ve even come across asian minorities which are against appropriation of their culture.  Though considering there are over a billion each of Chinese and East Indians,  and niether China nor India has made any statements prohibiting the use of chopsticks or yoga, I’m guessing it’s okay.

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