Using stereotypical symbols to represent a culture often represents the first step of learning, rather than intended condescension.
What is the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural learning? How do we navigate it at Columbia?
FROM THE EDITORS
In light of the controversy surrounding Kappa Alpha Theta and Chicano Caucus, we allocated the space for this week’s Canon to discuss cultural appropriation and cultural learning. We leave this one no more decided than when we began.
But that is not necessarily a problem. There are questions that are more valuable than answers. How do we foster empathy? What exactly is it that offends us?
They have also proffered their own experiences—not as answers, but as a touchstone for thought.
There is no doubt that the door should, and will close on this particular incident. But these questions will remain, and we hope this week’s Canon will play its part in an ongoing dialogue about navigating the myriad of cultures at Columbia.
Emma Finder and Dan Garisto
Editorial Page Editors
In order to approach cultural learning with sensitivity, it is important to engage in dialogue about how our actions impact others.
Cultural appreciation comes from an earnest effort to learn about other cultures.
Cultural icons have deep significance, and appropriation trivializes careful work to share that.