Eliana

One of the main ideas is that it is difficult to actually appropriate culture, and is heavily reliant on the relationship between the supposed "appropriater" and "appropriatee" and the nature of the supposed appropriation.

To systemically culturally appropriate is to assume a relationship of oppression.

An example would be that black dancers might find it uncomfortable or at least sad that there has been a trend by some schools of white dancers of moving away from the African-American movements and styling that underpinned the origins of the dance, and it would be a good thing for students to learn about the body movements, rhythms and musicality as originating from African dancing rather than blindly copying the white modern lindy hoppers that they tend to see on YouTube.

Those who appropriate are taking from cultures that are perceiving oppression. Thus, cultural appropriation happens in situations when one culture has a history of oppressing another, and the oppressed culture still has a perception of being oppressed. This is why cultural appropriation is a much larger deal in America as there is still a perception of oppression in many cultural groups.

However, it also explains why many groups don't feel culturally appropriated, because there is not necessarily that same perception of oppression.

So the question becomes, does your culture create a perception of oppressing Black Americans? Note that this does not refer to you being a white male, but instead about your actual heritage and culture. Second, there is the act of appreciate vs. appropriate. What counts as appreciating vs. appropriating can be very tight.

In the past year, I've met many pros who actually have very differing opinions on this. Some hold a strong belief that we are re-enacters of an era and staying to the roots is best, while others believe that the dance has grown and needs to push its limits and evolve.

And this leads me to an interesting perspective that has gotten some attention in Sociology at the moment: personal cultural appropriation.

When a person claims cultural appropriation, there's usually an implication of disrespect or offense, yet a single person, nor a group of people, can claim for an entire culture and its history. This also leads to the question of who has the right to claim cultural appropriation.

So this is going into rather unanswered questions, but is more based on interesting happenings that have occurred in the last 4 or so years.

There have been studies that show that 2nd or 3rd generation Americans often face cultural dismorphism, where they don't feel like they belong to their parents' or grandparents' culture, but don't feel like they belong to the general "American" culture of their peers. This often causes them them to latch on to their ethnic history very strongly. A study that my peer is currently working on has shown support to the idea that many ethnic-Americans who are 2nd or 3rd generation feel a "right" to their culture, that their parents' and grandparents' don't feel the same way.

Many immigrants or 1st generation Americans were actually surveyed to love the idea of their culture spreading, even in ways that many people consider "cultural appropriation," such as South Asians enjoying when their children's friends partake in cultural jewelry and clothing, or East Asians loving the spread of food culture and fusion cuisine.

These are all interesting points.

I think for 2nd or 3rd generation ethnic-Americans, there's a feeling of confusion when the cultural qualities or traditions that caused them to feel different or made fun of while growing up in the US are suddenly thought of as "hip," "trendy," or "fashionable." Along with that is the awareness of the transient nature of trends.

As a non-cultural example, let's say you've always liked cat memes, but people thought you were weird.

Then all of a sudden cat memes were all the rage. People would think you were trendy. Then cat memes fall out of favor and doggo memes are in. People will think that you are "behind the times."

Furthermore, there is an interesting wave of Africans who believe that Black Americans are appropriating their culture(s).

A rather incredulous idea, but its true. Whether they hold any merit, is left to be said.

So what counts as cultural appropriation?

And who can really claim it? Systemic cultural appropriation is easier to point out and see, but even that has its nuances (there's an idea that's currently being discussed about whether the idea of a culture masquerading as another counts as cultural appropriation, see Africans believing Black Americans are culturally appropriating). My response to your points is to love this dance.

Do it to your best intentions, and make the dance yours. Love it and respect it, and I don't know anyone who would call you out for that. Your dancing is a statement of who you are, and doesn't belong to any group of people besides yourself.

Don't ignore the cultural history of Lindyhop, but don't let it deter you from finding yourself in this amazing dance.

This is a huge part of appropriation.

The people who originated the thing are shut out of "being good" at it on an international stage because they don't have the money to compete or train "in the right way". The thing that was originated has been changed enough that it is very hard for an on-one dancer and an on-two dancer to dance together, but they have essentially the same name (because I'm sure you didn't know about the on-one on-two split).

The one that developed later in time and and further from the community that built it is given more respect, more notice and more money by people who don't know anything about it.