Jarune Uwujaren, on Everyday Feminism, dispels the confusion around when something represents sincere exchange between cultures and when a culture is being destructively appropriated for another’s consumption. While acknowledging that the line is easily blurred, Uwujaren begins with introducing principles to keep in mind when evaluating which side a behavior falls on.
“One of the reasons that cultural appropriation is a hard concept to grasp for so many is that Westerners are used to pressing their own culture onto others and taking what they want in return. We tend to think of this as cultural exchange when really, it’s no more an exchange than pressuring your neighbors to adopt your ideals while stealing their family heirlooms.”
Mutual understanding, equality, and respect should guide any legitimate exchange.