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Weekly Doses of Pop-up Psych

We all make cringey mistakes and deserve to move on, rather than feel confused or regretful after an icky social situation. Each week, I will dissect a murky social, life cycle, or pop culture topic to help you understand, learn, and move on. As a former academic, I am a super-picky consumer of research (and you should be too) as well as the content I create and share, so those new solutions, data and/or additional resources have certainly met my approval.

It’s Time to Untangle the Twisted Knot of Cultural Appreciation and Cultural Appropriation


You're scrolling on your favorite entertainment source’s website and reading a slew of negativity about a white celebrity wearing braids or a person of color with blond hair and both are accused of cultural appropriation. However, non-Mexican people in the United States can celebrate Cinco de Mayo and non-Germans enjoy Oktoberfest without any judgment or controversy. What’s the big difference? Nothing. There are often blurred lines between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation, so let's dig into that knot to untangle and break down the differences, as well as discuss an alternative to the two constructs.


The difference between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation is to adopt something from another culture intended to be enjoyed versus imitated to make a profit


The examples above are cultural appreciation, which is to participate in a cultural practice, custom, and characteristic that is different from their own for the intrinsic pleasure of honoring a culture. The intention is to genuinely learn about, respect, and pay a tribute to cultural groups without mocking, profiting, or the creation of content.


Cultural appropriation is the adoption of cultural practices, rituals, and styles into one’s own that are extrinsically motivated to make money. It’s staged material for content or an image boost that lacks authenticity, disrespects the culture, as well as ignites stereotypes. For example, there was a well-known situation when a celebrity, a non-Spanaird, spoke with a fake Spanish accent to create and promote a phony brand based on a fictitious persona of being from Spain.  Thankfully, after her true American background was exposed, she lost lots of opportunities that rightfully belonged to real immigrant mothers.




The lost category: Doing Something Because it Makes Us Smile


Yes. Can’t we just like something to like it? I wear the evil eye originated from Greece which symbolizes protection from dangerous forces that has been adopted all around the world by various cultures and religions. Although it has an extensive history, I think it is a beautiful piece that simply makes me smile and hopefully protects me from evil. I wear the eye because I like it, which should also be allowed. 


All About You


Which different (from your own) cultural customs, rituals, ideologies, and fashion choices have you integrated into your identity, just because it makes you smile?


Hi Beautiful Readers and thank you for reading this! I'm Dr. Joanne Broder, Media Psychologist, Author, and Fellow of the American Psychological Association. Please consider me to help you write your memoir, blogs, speeches, e-books, as well as coach you on your dissertation or thesis.  Click here so we can connect!

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