OPINION: Cultural Appropriation

By: GABRIELLE RIVAS, Asahi Shimbun

Delegates are told to not dress in culture they are representing.

On Thursday it was addressed some delegates were wearing the traditional clothing of countries they are representing. By doing this delegates are appropriating cultures and using a person’s culture for their own purposes by making it their own.

Delegates cannot wear a culture if they are not from that culture because it is not theirs in the first place. Not only is dressing like the country delegates are representing disrespectful but it can also be seen as mocking the country, or if done incorrectly, can show a delegate’s misunderstanding of a nation.

Though the delegate’s journey to MUN much research is done on the countries they represent and the culture of the specific country.

MUN teaches delegates to understand different backgrounds in their International Bazaar. There is where international students dress and delegates can understand each other.

Even though wearing a nation’s culture dress is an attempt to show appreciation for the culture, there are other ways delegates can do that. Delegates should instead focus on the ways social issues are effected by culture.

For example the Human Rights Council is working on their topic on Representation of Indigenous People in State Governments. Indigenous people originate from people of the region. In order to do this topic delegates must have a certain amount of respect and understanding for minorities. To show their understanding the best way would not be to dress as indigenous minorities. This not only goes for the Human Rights committee but all committees discussing social issues.

In order for delegates to show their understanding of the country they are representing or studying an ideal way would not be wear their traditional stoles. By dressing professionally and doing research delegates can show they have a great deal of respect for a country.

By dressing as another culture it is making their culture’s clothing as a costume. Although some delegates have the intention of showing their appreciation for a culture, where is the appreciation when delegates are wearing inaccurate clothing to show respect? Not only is wearing a person’s culture, cultural appropriation, it can also upset fellow delegates so much they decide not to work together and can be detrimental to networking at the conference.

 

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