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Appropiating Culture in SL If you're a tattoo maker with ethnic products for sale, please read.


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After much thought, I've decided to make this post because I'd like designers and creators to understand something, and I hope this is the right forum. I'm an indigenous   -  Māori -  person from

I suppose we could also include cornrows and dreadlocks.  But then we'd have to include music too.  Gospel and reggae, the blues.  Can't wear those or play that music unless you're black.  Maybe if we

no more jeans unless you'r a cowboy no more boot unless you'r working in mud or fisher no more fur unless you live in the artice area no more cotton shirts unless you'r from egypt or other cotto

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13 hours ago, Drake1 Nightfire said:

Comin right up. 4 slabs and 6 slices ok? Whipped cream and syrup or berries?

Air Fryer French Toast Air Fryer Recipe

I wouldn't mind a bacon tattoo or a patterned shirt.

But I'll settle for a bacon 'stache.

baconface.thumb.png.4ef5496afccbb42031423bd7e9ebd8ff.png

Edited by PermaRuthed
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While there are people on the internet who seem to cry "cultural appropriation" at everything (and thus turning it into a comical SJW thing that gets mocked), I think there is genuine merit to the concept itself. I believe at the root of the issue, it's about respect -- and respect should be given when using/borrowing from other cultures. Thanks to the internet, we all have more access and exposure to different cultures than ever before, and I think it's awesome to break down barriers and learn to appreciate each other, even incorporate each other's things into our own lives. But I believe its when people take aspects, symbols, language, etc from a culture with ignorance and disrespect that it can end up hurting that culture.

I for one had never heard of tā moko so it was really interesting to read OP's explanation! I think we just need to learn more about the people we borrow ideas and designs from. Maybe include a notecard with the item that has a fun little blurb about Maori tā moko, and maybe a link to learn more, or a link to a charity/donation for them. I think if we can all agree to respect each other and everyone's cultural traditions, then "appropriating" wouldn't be an issue anymore : )

That said, it sounds like there could be a potential business in SL for custom/unique Maori tattoo designs! I'm sure there are people who would be willing to pay a higher price for a totally custom design unique to their character's story! That would be cool as hell.

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On 10/22/2020 at 3:52 PM, Maitimo said:

Telling people "Don't steal use the sacred symbolism of MY culture" is an entirely different thing from telling people "Don't use symbolism of any other culture besides your own."

While some cultures do object to it (such as the Maori in the OP, as well as several Native American Nations), not all cultures do, it's certainly not a "one-rule-fits-all" situation.

And frankly, telling a person that only their own cultural symbolism is acceptable/good enough kinda smells a bit like racism in itself. 

Please explain the difference between "you can't use my culture" and "you can't use any other culture."

Why do you think it should be considered okay to use one culture but not another?

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8 minutes ago, Wulfie Reanimator said:

Please explain the difference between "you can't use my culture" and "you can't use any other culture."

1.  You can't use my culture - implies that they don't care what other cultures you appreciate, you just can't use their culture.

2.  You can't use any other culture - implies you can only appreciate your culture and no others.

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1 hour ago, LilNosferatu said:

I believe at the root of the issue, it's about respect -- and respect should be given when using/borrowing from other cultures.

   But respect is yet another cultural barrier. Heck, even within Europe you're likely to present poor table manners by simply crossing a border to the neighbours, even though we all consider ourselves 'western cultures'. In Germany you can't have your hands under the table, in Spain you can't drink water when eating soup, in France you can't put your bread on the table, in Germany and France you must fold lettuce rather than cutting it, in Sweden you must observe the turns at the smörgåsbord.

   Part of being respectful is to not hold everyone to your cultural expectations, too - which is probably as difficult as learning foreign customs for sure - but trying to meet each other halfway rather than zealously chastising anyone who eats sushi with a fork or walks into your home with their shoes on (which in Sweden is basically the equivalent of relieving yourself in the kitchen sink).

   Do I giggle when I see someone who've written FRNKRNURF in runes? Yes. Is it even more hilarious if it's tattooed into their skin? Hell yeah. Do I get upset that my ancestral heritage is being raped because someone thought the runes were cool enough to carve into their flesh? No, that'd be silly. "But Orwar, runes haven't been used for a millennium, it's too far back for you to care!" - no, runes were in fact used up until the 19th century in parts of Sweden. "But Orwar, you're a white, heterosexual man, you're inoffendable!" - that's both prejudice and a myth.

ULJ-jh1fx4ma7L6splwvmWXKewV4aAoPfwytffQu

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2 minutes ago, Jordan Whitt said:

1.  You can't use my culture - implies that they don't care what other cultures you appreciate, you just can't use their culture.

2.  You can't use any other culture - implies you can only appreciate your culture and no others.

I understand this, it was a rhetorical question. If that's the point they're making, I completely reject it because of its hypocrisy.

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6 minutes ago, Wulfie Reanimator said:

I understand this, it was a rhetorical question. If that's the point they're making, I completely reject it because of its hypocrisy.

It is hypocrisy, and denying the other side of their culture...the European side, as there are no full blooded Maori in NZ.

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22 minutes ago, Wulfie Reanimator said:

Please explain the difference between "you can't use my culture" and "you can't use any other culture."

Why do you think it should be considered okay to use one culture but not another?

"You can't use my culture" is the owner of that culture asking for it not to be used. Such as for instance the OP in this thread.

"You can't use any culture" is someone with no claim to ownership of any of the cultures they're talking about.

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1 hour ago, Orwar said:

 Do I giggle when I see someone who've written FRNKRNURF in runes? Yes. Is it even more hilarious if it's tattooed into their skin? Hell yeah. Do I get upset that my ancestral heritage is being raped because someone thought the runes were cool enough to carve into their flesh? No, that'd be silly. "But Orwar, runes haven't been used for a millennium, it's too far back for you to care!" - no, runes were in fact used up until the 19th century in parts of Sweden. "But Orwar, you're a white, heterosexual man, you're inoffendable!" - that's both prejudice and a myth.

ULJ-jh1fx4ma7L6splwvmWXKewV4aAoPfwytffQu

I laughed so much thinking that someone paid for that tattoo over there.
Σ(Greek) = S(Latin), Π(Greek) = P(Latin), Φ(Greek) = F(Latin)
He actually wrote VSPF, VFDF, VFCF instead of Veni, vidi, vici or Ηρθα, ειδα, ενικησα.

Anyway whatever makes people happy.

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When you talk to a parrot, it does not understand what you say, and yet it remembers the sound, and repeats it without any further understanding. It is not performing some kind of theft, it is merely repeating a familiar sound it enjoys. I think you're setting yourself up to be upset when you expect that people are going to stop copying what they see or hear, because it's just a natural thing for humans to do.

I sympathize with the loss of income, but I think for things like that is why we have things like Intellectual Property rights, trademarks etc, you're never going to stop profiteers with an appeal to emotion especially in year 2020 where everything is an appeal to emotion people are just not going to be receptive to it and just think it's another one of those social justice loons making up new reasons why we're all horrible people again.

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Second Life was advertised like that: if you want to be "someone else" than who you are then come to Second Life and make yourself a new personality... Does it mean if you are sailor in real life you can become an architect or does it mean you can become someone with different skin color, gender, or even a non-human? Naturally it can be done wrong, the purpose is to to leave your comfort zone and explore new things...

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I'm sad that I read through this and saw so much blatant ignorance.

I am Samoan, full blooded. I've watched tribal tattoos get thrown all over Secondlife with absolutely no regard, no knowledge, and no willingness to explain the meanings behind any of them.

Now onto the more pressing subjects, does this mean I do not want my culture 'appreciated' at all? No, that isn't the case at all. It's a very simple concept, so I implore you all to delve into understanding it. Tribal tattoos in my culture, Fa'a Samoa, (The Samoan way), isn't just lying down to get tattooed by an artist. You have to earn these tattoos. So by all means, yes, I do mean do not go into some random tattoo parlor and ask for a tatau (tattoo), as that also isn't traditional. If you are going to 'appreciate' my culture, do it the correct way and the way we would honor it within our own culture. A tatau isn't just a tattoo, you are given the right and honor to have one by Samoan elders. No, you do not have to be Samoan, but if you truly want the tattoo, do it the right way and know the history behind why we get those to this day.

As for 'dreads' yes, they have been found 30,000+ years ago, you can all have 'dreads'. 'Locs' are an entirely different concept, as African Americans were shamed and insulted in regards to their hair, to the point that historically they were called 'dreads' as a slur. (Look it up, I am not a history book.)

You can become someone else, that's what Secondlife is. If you're going to become someone else for the fun and beauty of it, do some research and pay respects to the cultures you are 'appreciating', do things the right and traditional ways, etc. In those senses, nobody will be offended and we can all live happily as we 'appreciate' one anothers cultures.

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On 10/25/2020 at 12:43 PM, Jordan Whitt said:

It is hypocrisy, and denying the other side of their culture...the European side, as there are no full blooded Maori in NZ.

whakapapa has nothing to do with blood quotient

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On 9/26/2020 at 10:39 AM, MelodicRain said:

Hardly a new issue.

I could literally go into Photoshop, spend 60sec typing 猪脑子 (pig brains), export it as a PNG, upload that into SL as a tattoo, and idiots will buy it cause "the characters look exotic".

When I lived in Korea, the most popular T-shirt among a lot of friends and people on the street said "My Boyfriend is in the Arny"

Being from San Francisco; I always just figured Arny was just a really popular guy who got a lot of action in the barracks.

 

(splitting the humor post I made apart from the rant one that follows)

 

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Appropriation is a subject that kinda really ticks me off.

I'm multiracial, very very very very mixed - and I don't look like 'any' "race". My very act of breathing is an act of cultural appropriation against somebody...

Who's culture should I follow? I don't look like any of them enough to pass somebody's test...

In my life I have at times gone 5 feet this way and been abused for not acting 'this enough', and then another five feet and been abused for stealing something from that very culture I was just called out by the first person over...

Screw the lot of them, single-minded "this race must act and look like that" people...

The nappy curls of my natural hair, is an act of appropriation against one set of people because my tone isn't dark enough, or so a person even lighter toned than I has said to me (on an SL blog no less). The way I walk, the way I talk, the way I hold my glance, the faith I hold, the poverty I came from, the well-off status I now have, that I am too educated, that I was once not educated enough. If my avatar is too dark, is she is too light. Where I live, where I used to live...
- I've been attacked over all of it.

 

Because I'm mixed race and I don't fit into anybody's stupid little narrow minded racist box.

It's a global world people. Everyday, more and more of you give birth to people like me. We're replacing you narrow minded idiots.

And I'm to mad to stop living just because somebody thinks me being alive is appropriating the space of one of my ancestors or one of my inspirations they can't see on my skin.

 

"Appropriation" has become nothing more than a backlash against diversity masking itself as social justice when it's really a call for segregation.

 

Edited by Pussycat Catnap
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I dont get the butthurt at all. Not even a bit.
The world is quite large. There are hundreds of countries and nations, and even more ethnic groups. Thats way too much for a single person (in this case, the tattoo creator) to know any single detail about.

Im german, live in bavaria and got the typical german grandma name "Theresa". What do you think people joke about my name? And because there is a silly song from the 80s, and diary products, my name will often used to say something funny about tractors or about butter, or the all time classic "Mother Theresa".
Why not? Thats what people have stored in their minds.

Talking to a strangers and telling them where i come from, makes 80% of them mentioning the famous munich octoberfest (beer, party, throwing up), even though i live 160 kilometers away from, close to a city what has a huge history of fine gold-beating arts. Why would i expect anyone to know such details and pay attention to?

A little bit more serenity would do wonders...

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I feel like everyone is massively overreacting lately, I mean what happened to cultural exchange, learning and teaching about each other`s heritage? It has to start somewhere?!

I say this as eastern European women, my part of the world, it`s rich history and heritage is completely disregarded in 99,9% cases (looking at you Hollywood), instead we are represented by some ridiculous stereotype; it`s always old, ugly, uneducated, backwards, part of some criminal organization, prostitutes, victims of trafficking etc etc, don`t even get me started with language, landscape, history, national flag etc...someone appreciating any fragment of my (or any) culture without mocking and misrepresentation would be a welcome change...I mean sure, I can take a joke at my expense, but even a joke could  be rooted in actual facts opposed to a stereotype?

As a creator and a self proclaimed nerd, I would definitely want to know what something means, if it`s drawn/written correctly, BUT not everyone is me and not everyone is detail oriented, that does not necessarily mean disrespect..I`ve learned long ago most people are unwilling to learn and are quite comfortable with their ignorance, but that does not always imply malice?  I refuse to be that big of a cynic to assume the worst every single time..

anyways, I am not dismissing anyone`s feelings on the subject, just stating my personal views...

I would hope some time soon, all of us humans could finally accept the fact we are the same species, with same ancestors (if you look at our humble beginnings) and start acting like it.....instead of passing judgement and getting offended, why not educate? Knowledge, inclusion, tolerance and mutual respect is the only way forward!

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On 10/23/2020 at 3:06 AM, Drake1 Nightfire said:

Ancient statues of the mother Goddess have been unearthed in Europe and the Isles from over 30,000 years ago with corn row braids. Can we please stop saying that Africans own a hairstyle that was used world wide? Dreds as well. Good gods, of all the things people get pissed at, hairstyles?!?! Really? 

This is SL. If you really go around harassing people for their tatts, you need to get out and enjoy the real world more. You have no idea who is behind that av. And they owe you ZERO response. Leave people alone to enjoy their SL. Try doing so yourself. 

How far are we going to go? If you have a dark skin tone you better not have blond or red hair unless you have a back story that includes a white person in your ancestry. Ancient Celts dyed their hair with various plant and mineral extracts, so unless you have Celtic background you better have a normal hair color. 

Please, stop the insanity. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 

not if you're of the culture that in question is being appropriated. 
I'm an expat american, i'm not going to make a Maori tattoo in my shop.
Putting a moku on my chin unless there was a specific reason that in someone allowed me to (and even then i'd be hesitant) i would never in RL, why would i in SL.

Appropriation is different than  Flattering imitation - and Celtic braids are different than box braids.  This is 2020.
Let's freaking learn from crap, and just start listening to our peers.

I could see if someone who was Maori was making them, but i'd be hesitant to let that fly in the game because then you'd see people wearing sacred art and whakapapa being used in the incorrect manner (i swear i think i just used whakapapa in the wrong context, so the person who started this thread - know i'm sorry, and i've lived in NZ close to 20 years and i'm aware roughly what whakapapa means, and i'm whiter than white :(

I have a TRIBAL STYLE tattoo on my arm in RL, but tha's because it's not tribal, it's not even based on anything but a design i styled myself for my novels/comics i was trying to write - and still am.  The thing looks more like a gothic DNA strand, and i brought that into SL to sell and share with people. 

There is forms of culture you can share and enjoy, and celebrate without ripping it off without permission.

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14 minutes ago, Tokyo Enyo said:

There is forms of culture you can share and enjoy, and celebrate without ripping it off without permission.

Who exactly do you ask permission from?  The entire culture?  Do we ask ancient Egyptians if it's ok to gauge ears?  The ancient Celts if I can dye my hair?  Which tribe do I consult if I want a tribal tattoo?  Should I submit my request via email or registered letter?

It all seems rather a non-issue in such a global culture we have now.  Few people are 100% anything nor can a lot even say what all they are.  They may have percentages of 15 different cultures.  How much of a percentage do they need for it to be ok to use something of that culture?

The world has enough problems getting along.  Why create issues to keep people apart?

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1 minute ago, RowanMinx said:

Who exactly do you ask permission from?  The entire culture?  Do we ask ancient Egyptians if it's ok to gauge ears?  The ancient Celts if I can dye my hair?  Which tribe do I consult if I want a tribal tattoo?  Should I submit my request via email or registered letter?

It all seems rather a non-issue in such a global culture we have now.  Few people are 100% anything nor can a lot even say what all they are.  They may have percentages of 15 different cultures.  How much of a percentage do they need for it to be ok to use something of that culture?

The world has enough problems getting along.  Why create issues to keep people apart?

So you want permission to wear a Moku tattoo on your chin? 
It isn't about blood percentages, it's about culture.

And i'm irish and swiss, whiter than white - so i'm saying as a WHITE PERSON i don't have right to steal anyone else's culture cause beign expat USA living in NZ, i have no rights to even claim culture except bland AF food that was brought to us by our ancestors pillaging for spices adn then throwing them all otu the window.
I'm not trying to create issues, and i understand your thought prrocess - and honestly we can't use CELTIC CULTURE as an excuse for "APPROPRIATION" - we're leaving europeans out of this, we're the ones that caused all this mess in the first place (though the irish always get lumped in this because indentured servitude vs slavery always comes up) 

Basically: If it isn't yours, do your research. I'm not going to stop you doing something you wanna do.  It isn't my job to stop you, or judge you.  But if someone asks you not to, then listen to their reasoning. 

The thread starter is of MAORI descent, 1-25% or less it odesn't matter - they could be as white as me, but they're deep rooted in their culture.  In the USA we've bleached out much of our history in favor of the winning side ...  Would it be fair to tattoo the incorrect versions of native american versions on your OWN body?

It's about education, it's about culture.
It's not about creating divides, it's about learning.
You want to celebrate someone else's culture? It isn't permission in some ways as more researching and education.
IN terms of the tattoos of culture?  I wouldn't dare wear Samoan, Tongan, Maori or any native tribal tattoos - and would be disgusted to walk into a store selling them that didn't have the histroy behind them. 

So yea, we're not creating issues, we're trying to SOLVE some by creating education around it. 

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