I don’t think Koreans’… Korean-ness (heh) make it inherently more okay for them to ‘imitate black culture’ (as you characterized interest in music and dance styles originating with african americans) as compared to a white person making music in the same genre (according to the logic of your posts, you’d be offended by Eminem, but not by, say, Epik High or SPM, because the two latter artists are PoCs). Additionally, I very much understand what’s being stated here, but the entire concept of cultural appropriation is somewhat obsolete. It’s not factual anymore to state that a culture belongs to one group of people. Culture’s been very much globalized, and because of that, one must try hard to draw the lines you guys and others have drawn without really thinking about it (and by thinking about it, I mean ‘considering the fact that we’re all one species that is influenced by all the other members of our species’). I think we can still say “This is not PC or respectful” about some things, but it’s really impractical to go around saying homogenization and integration of other cultures is flat out “morally wrong” and actively try to stop it. I mean, you’re fighting a losing battle. We have the internet now, it’s a little late to tell people to only be inspired by or interested in what’s going on right next door.
I personally have a big issue with black cultural appropriation in Kpop. I agree that by virtue of them being Korean, people tend to overlook the shitty things that the South Korean entertainment industry does and their blatantly aggravated appropriation and oversimplified portrayals of blackness, but I don’t, and it shouldn’t be that way. Just like how I, as an Afro-Latina, can be and have been guilty of orientalism, anti-blackness and black appropriation is a huge issue in Kpop. They might not be the ultimate benefactors to such a shitty racist system, but they can still engage in problematic bullshit for scraps from the white supremacist table and that’s not cool. I think that last sentence brings up the most important distinction that needs to be made-these shitty views of blackness and the need to separate yourself from blackness is a very white supremacist contrived notion, even if being done by Koreans. So while yes, POC can engage in bullshit, it doesn’t magically make them the oppressors so much as attributing to oppressive systems. Still shitty, but it is wrong to paint them as completely benefiting from or being the creators of a white system.
On the issue of cultural appropriation-First off, I feel the need to state my background a bit so you can get a bit of a perspective as to where I’m coming from. I’m a Midwestern-bred, first generation Dominican pop culture junkie. By nature, my whole identity-culturally, linguistically, socially, personally, racially-is formed and defined by & the result of cultural interaction and yes, even appropriation, both positive and negative.
Being a pop culture fan, I respect and appreciate the globalization of culture and trends and appreciate how people can become more intimately connected to each other by this.
Being a Dominican, my identity is not from one static place. It is a mix of the many cultures (Spanish, African, Arawakan, Chinese, Sephardi, Middle Eastern, etc) and identities of the peoples that came to the island of Hispaniola for one reason or another and contributed to the culture there. I can’t ignore or negate that. In fact, I’m very proud of my mixed heritage and my “throw a dart on a map, I probably have ancestors from there” background. I’ll be talking to my mom during a late Spanish dinner flinging around Arabic and Taino loanwords in an African-derived dialect. That is the reality of my identity.
That said, even while acknowledging the positive (or in the case of colonialism and imperialism, the inevitable rose-in-concrete result of an initial atrocity) of cultural influence, I’m also very acutely aware of the still-negative, still greedy, and still caustic hierarchical state of power and race/cultural relations within the world at large. People who are ignored, stomped on, or underrepresented having their culture or identity jocked by Westerners to their benefit. Foods that are native to a peoples becoming scarce for them because demand for the item has gone up stateside, and of course those people are the ones that are going to be prioritized. Dishes that have been made and cooked for the benefit of millions over thousands of years all the sudden going under attack by the FDA since the methods of preparing the food are not up to code to white standards.
Cultural appropriation and genocide (because when you use words like homogenization, that just means “becoming white”) is still a big aggravated issue. People not having respect for the clothing, culture, and ways of marginalized POC is not an issue that exists in a vacuum but again part of the larger fucked-up schema of white supremacy at large. The desire to want to rock a big feathered headdress comes from the generalizing & exotification of Native peoples, and that happens because they are not seen or respected or heard of in a world that is white supremacist.
Our views of culture, what is “exotic” or “savage” and what is “progressive” and “modern” are totally screwed and white supremacist, too. Even in K-pop I bemoan and totally question the idea that showing progressiveness and culture = “showing how Western, consumerist, and capitalistic you are”!
So yeah, I am all for sharing and partaking, but I’m not for a mass capitalist, corporatist, western, white takeover of the world. I am for healthy interactions, not for steamrolling over smaller marginalized groups, jockin’ their shit and selling it for white entertainment. There is a difference and even if it can be murky at times, it has to be defined and vocalized and we need to be more adamant about being against negative cultural interactions, not merely shrug our shoulders and be OK with problematic bullshit.