Quote Originally Posted by Brightdreamer View Post
This is one of those issues I can really see both sides of.

On the one side, I can understand people being frustrated at seeing their culture used and (all too often) abused and misrepresented by others, especially given the History with a capital H of stereotyping, racism, and attempts at eradication.

On the other... ideas flow, cultures merge and mingle, and I'm not sure I like the idea of building walls to prevent that inevitable mingling.

A little anecdote/rambling on this subject: locally, a relative takes classes in woodcarving - and, around here, about the only carving classes one can find focus on the popular "Northwest Indian" style. Anyone without ties to a native tribe who tries to sell works in said style, though, can run into Real Troubles. Are there appropriation issues and historical theft and oppression behind this? Sure... but there's a bit of a twist. A local white man was instrumental in reviving the carving tradition around here after it had apparently nearly died out, helping reteach skills that had been lost. He was essentially adopted into a local tribe and high-ranking family for his efforts, and was well respected. My relative took classes from him before his recent death and he talked about this, so this isn't just a "friend-of-a-friend" anecdote. His philosophy was less strict - he'd teach anyone in his classes the Northwest style, and he had no issue with carvers creating and selling original designs inspired by native art. Was it his place to say so? I'm not sure it was, though I'm not sure it wasn't; if not for a little cultural mingling, the native carving tradition locally may well be extinct, and if the artist in question doesn't represent themselves or their work falsely as belonging to a specific tribe...

As for me, it's one of those blurry lines. Slapdash stereotypes as characters or art themes - yeah, that's an insulting cash-in, and we should be moving beyond that as a society. If someone takes the time to do research and doesn't just grab at shallow tropes, though, I don't know if they should be wholesale barred from art or writing inspired by a culture other than their own. Art explores. Art travels. (Of course, I write mostly fantasy; I may draw inspiration from real-world cultures, but in my work they're pretty much made up.)

It would be interesting if someone from a different race and culture were to learn a dying language from an elderly person who was the last person to speak it. Should the language simply go extinct? Should the younger people from this ethnic group who didn't bother to learn the language from their elders have a right to sue if someone outside their culture speak their language instead of them?

This is kinda like wanting to have a patent on every single thing, forever. Everyone wants to own the rights to ideas, songs, drugs, inventions, language and even scientists want to be able to patent DNA. And now it is going so far as to be faux pax to write in first person as someone different than yourself. I think this is political correctness gone amok that stifles creativity and has elements of entitlement built in. Sorta like Muslims telling the rest of the world that they don't have a right to draw pictures of Mohammed because they feel that it is being insensitive, yet at the same time feeling that sharia law should be forced upon those who do draw Mohammed.

I think people should be able to retain their cultural identity and pass it down to their children without being forced to adopt the dominate culture, but i don't think art styles, language, crafts, technology, myth, music styles, etc should be treated as copy written material. As a writer, I certainly don't plan to limit myself to writing only about my own race, culture, sex, sexual orientation, etc.