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What Cultural Appropriation is NOT


Cultural appropriation is real and can be very harmful, but Tumblr en masse has grossly misdefined it. Here are some examples of what isn’t cultural appropriation:

- Eating food from another culture
- Properly practicing a religion from another culture.
- Listening to music from another culture
- Reading literature from another culture
- Learning a new language
- Respectfully wearing clothing from another culture in an appropriate setting, such as overseas, at a cultural event, wedding, etc.
- Buying crafts from local craftsman.
- Respectfully participating in cultural activities such as yoga, dreidel, and belly dancing
- Respectfully wearing or using non-sacred icons or art from another culture, such as Chinese pottery or in some cases, henna.
- Trying out instruments and tools from another culture, such as chopsticks or traditional writing instruments

Many people from other cultures are actually offended when Americans try to fight “cultural appropriation”. For example, many Japanese people thought that criticism of Avril Lavigne’s video was laughably ignorant at best and racist at worst. Also, in many countries, Americans who refuse to partake in cultural activities or traditional dress out of fear of appropriation are seen as snobbish and entitled. Additionally, many religions actively encourage evangelization. Saying that religions traditionally practiced by non-white people cannot freely spread has some very racist implications.

Being culturally literate actively fights racial prejudice or ignorance. Taking the time to learn another culture’s history, values, perspective, and traditions makes people better citizens. For example, understanding how various cultures and religions view illness will help me be a better nurse. Cultural competence can only help society, and it prevents genuine, offensive cultural appropriation.

There are definitely some gray areas when it comes to cultural appropriation. Some Christians find non-Christians using crosses in fashion offensive, while some do not, for example. Intent can also carry some significance. For example, someone may fully understand the sacred meaning of the ankh and feel a strong spiritual connection to it. Another person may just think it looks cool. Both wear an ankh ring, but one would definitely not be appropriating while the other has entered a gray area.

Some cultural practices overlap as well. Tattooing has been practiced around the world by many cultures that didn’t come into contact with each other, for example. Meditation has also been practiced around the world. Buddhist mediation is arguably the best known, but nearly every culture and religion has one or more varieties of it. (I personally like the method practiced in Ancient Ireland best, because it’s the only one I personally know that allows one to think exclusively in words. It’s not physically possible for an NLDer to “turn off” verbal thinking, so most other forms of meditation are inaccessible.)

Historically, separating cultures often leads to cultural incompetence, xenophobia, discrimination, stereotyping, and racism. Cultural appropriation is bad, but that doesn’t make cultural segregation good.

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Thank you so much for all your kind words! Boggle is back this week, and I am feeling better!

Relationships are hard, whether you’re talking about romantic relationships or friendships. They’re even harder if you come from a background with mental illness, family dysfunction, or if you just feel drawn to someone you’re not ‘supposed to’ want to be with. People feel ashamed of who they are, what they want, and where they came from. And sometimes, there really are legitimate obstacles to overcome! But please believe that you deserve to overcome them. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to be more than, maybe, other people in your life want or expect you to be. And I believe you can.

The cute.


I’m trying to be not irritated or tired, honey. Just trying to make a solid foundation for my life, that’s what it is. I have to get somewhere, just like everybody else. I know what you’re going to say, that I don’t have to confine myself to the lines people have drawn, “the norm.” But do you honestly think we can live without ambition, dreams and the feelings you get when you know you’ve achieved something? I forget to eat, and I like knowing that sometimes I forget to do the basic survival tasks because that’s just how preoccupied I am. I don’t find much happiness in fleeting, risky acts of adolescence and immaturity anymore, honey. I want stability, knowing that I have done something productive that day and that I can also pursue things I don’t need because I deserve to blow shit up and enjoy myself sometimes. I like being tired and understanding that this is all “growing up.” We don’t have a lot of moments to lose, anymore. Living in your twenties is not only about making mistakes and not knowing what to do with yourself. It’s also about learning, growing and understanding that you’re a much bigger potential than what you make yourself out to be. Yes darling, I know you don’t want to admit it but this is what it is. Sometimes you have to be cruel and selfish to prioritize. Sometimes you have to put things on hold or leave them behind so better things can unfold before you. Love isn’t always enough and I know hopeless romantics always say that love prevails, that you are nothing without love. Maybe they’re right. But sometimes, you can’t love without having made something of yourself first. Sometimes, you must grow before you love. 




I fall in love with all things broken: window cracks, shards of glass, scraped knees, and broken hearts wrapped up in bandages.

You were deeply scarred when I met you.

I toppled over.


You have this habit of entering a new place for the first time and exclaiming that you feel like you’ve been there before. Wherever we went to, you’d tell me that the view, the noise, the smell—everything seemed familiar to you.

"Sometimes I look at people and feel the same way," I’d reply.


Scars validate one’s existence. 
I often thought yours make you beautiful.
I often wished I wore scars I could take pride in, too.


"Maybe people only know me on the surface because I’m afraid they’ll find nothing worthwhile beneath it if they got too close," I told you once over cold beer. "I do not have the heart to see people walk out of my life if that were the case."

I recall you replying as such: “You’re like the night sky. Hidden behind those clouds are the brightest stars light years away and only the daring ones get to see those bloody stars. You have to be bold enough to see them yourself, and you have to be brave to let others draw out your constellations.”


For Christmas, you gave me a silver pen with my name engraved on it and asked me to write what I want to be.

I wrote "Yours" on your palm.


That night, I kissed you as if the balance of the universe depended on it.


There was a map pinned on my wall the morning that followed your departure; it was your farewell letter. I tried guessing where you might have gone to but the world’s too vast for my puny soul.

…I have never felt more inadequate.


I tried writing you in fancy metaphors but
language could not capture the arch of your back,
or the ringing of your laughter,
or the burn of your stare,
or the taste of your tongue.

Words could not pave you a way back to me.


You scarred me well, my dove.


Now, I am beautiful, too.


Iced tea sounds about right at this moment. Where ice cubes’ life expectancy out in the open only lasts a few moments before its cold breath melts. It’s 3:45 PM in my watch and everyone outside is chasing the shade. Summer is here with the moderate chances of rain. Just yesterday the whole eastern side was drenched in a huge pocket of water. A low pressure area, as told by the weathermen. Funny how the seasons work with these not-so-sporadic abnormalities.  

"Sir? Will that be all?"  There was a hint of impatience on the waitress’ voice. I must write a mental note to myself to try and not randomly wander off next time.  
"Oh. Sorry. Yeah that will be all. Thank you." She left in a hurry to tend to other tables and I on the other hand am left to see the blue sky in whole view again. The glass is cold for little while longer. 

Something about this heat sets a crux in my worries, but I know the answers are out there waiting for me to find them. Like how some people yearn for the sea while the others are content to embrace the sand and the answers and myself are the between, the line where the waves and shore teases the shoal into submission.

I took a sip to finally quench my thirst. But found the taste no different from the water that constantly tries to drown me when I try to wake the earth with each little step I make.

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