Cultural Appropriation Consideration

KUNM Airdate:
June 30, 2023
National Airdate:
Week of Jul 09, 2023
Half-hour Program
Hour Program

On this edition of PEACE TALKS RADIO, we’ll explore the challenges surrounding conflicts around cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation involves adopting elements from a culture or identity that’s not your own in a way that may be harmful, stereotypical, or exploitative. The lines are harder to draw between cultural appropriation and appreciation. The world is a global village and cultures are constantly interacting, borrowing, remixing, and evolving. However, in case of appropriation there usually is a one-way transfer, in terms of pleasure, or income and opportunity— sometimes irking the other side. So how do we learn about and enjoy other cultures without appropriating them? When are we truly simply showing appreciation of something tied deeply to another culture? Correspondent Yamini Ranjan explores multiple examples of cultural appropriation with three guests who offer insights on how we can find peace & joy when we are interacting with traditions that don’t come from our own lived experience and heritage. Our panel includes Claudia A. Fox Tree, a multiracial/multicultural professional educator and social justice activist who facilitates courses and workshops on having challenging conversations about diversity, equity, and social justice. Also, Harpinder Kaur Mann, a trauma-informed yoga teacher, mindfulness educator, speaker, and community builder. We also speak with Dr. Eve Dunbar, a Professor of English at Vassar College.


How do we ethically consume, participate, engage with things that are unlike what we have grown up with? That's part of the experience of being human. But I do think that humility is probably key. And being aware of the tensions and the sentiments, the feelings, that people have at that process. I think this is an opportunity.

Dr. Eve Dunbar
Professor of English at Vassar College
Listen to complete interview

So here’s a word. "Winnebago". Did you think of the Ho-Chunk people from the Great Lakes area? Because that's who they are. They lived in the past. They live in the present. They have many, many industries. Or did you think of a huge recreational vehicle? So "Winnebago" has been appropriated and used in a way that is no longer even connected to the original people. That is the extreme problem, harmfulness, of what can happen with appropriation.

Claudia A. Fox Tree
professional educator, and social justice activist
Listen to complete interview

If a yoga studio is doing something that's making us uncomfortable, can we go and ask them, “can you change?” I think that's a conversation of oppression. Who has the power? And that plays a part into cultural appropriation. Because in cultural appropriation, it's looking at the taker and the taken. It's the dominant culture that has more power that's able to take aspects of a culture and use it for their benefit without having to ask permission.

Harpinder Kaur Mann
yoga teacher, mindfulness educator, speaker, and community builder
Listen to complete interview
Episode Transcript