The A Words

Just curious: should we consider appropriation and assimilation dirty words? Could we make just as compelling a case that they constitute forms of flattery?

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33 Responses to The A Words

  1. Kaelon McNeece says:

    I do not believe that appropriation and assimilation should be regarded as dirty words with negative connotations. Instead, I view the two as forms of appreciation and occasional celebration of a culture or idea. The two words are viewed in an extremely negative light that they aren’t given proper justice to what they really are. The two words can be grouped together with the general definition being, “the borrowing of other ideas or cultures by one group from another.” The action of appropriation/assimilation, when done without the intention of hurting or demeaning others, can actually be positive with both parties coming to a newfound respect of the borrowed idea or culture.

  2. Thu-Hash-Slangin-Poodler says:

    Should we consider appropriation and assimilation dirty words? To be frank, I have no idea where this is coming from as I’ve never considered appropriation or assimilation to be dirty words. Perhaps assimilation in regard to how colonial nations forced natives to merge into European culture, but Genghis Khan forced Turks to assimilate, and Romans forced the French and Spanish to assimilate, and I haven’t met a single person fuming at the mouth over the wrongs of the Romans or the Mongols. Perhaps you’ve some insight I lack, but assimilation and appropriation are just words and I cant divine any way for them to be “dirty”.

  3. Khytavia Fleming says:

    In my opinion, I would have never thought of appropriation or assimilation to be dirty words. There definitions are far from any meaning that pertains dirty. But if we’re being theoretical, there’s a very slight chance that appropriation could be thought of as dirty or wrong. For example, if a one was to take another’s virginity without permission, they could be though of as dirty, as matter of a fact they would be considered something even worse than dirty.

  4. Sophia Pepper says:

    I don’t believe assimilation and appropriation are inherently dirty words but when considered with many of today’s issues involving them, they are indeed wrong. For example, appropriation, commonly used today in cultural appropriation is frequently used in a derogatory or demeaning manner, from Taylor Swift in her “shake it off” music video once again hypersexualizing and stereotyping black womens’ bodies and dance styles for her own benefit, to bindis at coachella, there is indeed a common theme of the people in power selecting important, either religiously or culturally, or unchangeable things about a previously considered inferior group of people and using them for their own cosmetic or shock value.

  5. John Morgan of Morgan and Morgan says:

    I have no idea how these words are dirty or even flattering. I mean appropriation is basically just setting aside money or taking money, which are two totally different things, but I don’t think that would be the same as F— or B—-. The same concept applies to assimilation I would assume. It just means making separate things part of a whole. I don’t think they should be considered dirty words or even flattering because, they’re just words.

  6. Cade Burton says:

    The words themselves are not foul. As for the actions they represent, assimilation is only bad if forced. Voluntary assimilation into a culture that the subject admires and desires to be a part of is fine; if nothing else, it partially helps diversify the culture being assimilated into. Appropriation is a bad practice simply because seizing someone else’s property for personal gain without his/her permission is theft. So while the actions the words stand for may occasionally be dirty, the words themselves are not.

  7. The words assimilation and appropriation are not dirty words, but the actions that are associated with the words can vary depending on the circumstances. For example, appropriation is use of money for a specific purpose. The word can be neutral because the defining purpose can either be good or bad. If the purpose for the use of money is for one’s personal desire, it is bad, but if the purpose of the money is for beneficial for the common good, then it is good. However, the same can not be easily said for assimilation, the adapting of one to another culture, language, or nation while in the process giving up one’s culture. If one has to adapt to another group’s culture’s language, beliefs, customs, and traditions, it is good because in order to survive, you must evolve, or adapt, or perish. It is bad because you have give up your culture, beliefs, customs, and traditions to survive and prosper. Because of the circumstances and situations, these words can be considered good or bad although they hold firmly a grasp of neutrality.

  8. Desmyon J. says:

    I think the case can be made for people to form a better attitude towards the word “assimilation”, but not necessarily for “appropriation”. The definition of appropriation, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is the act of taking something for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission. Earlier this year, a member of the Jenner clan got filed with a lawsuit for trying to start up a clothing line that involved t-shirts with pictures of Tupac on them. Kylie Jenner has also claimed the title of “the girl that invented braids” when I’m sure we all know that Asian and African tribes were sporting braids way before Kylie Jenner was in the picture. Gianni Versace, founder of the Versace brand, is gay but many rappers wear his clothing and the Black Lives Matter movement was created by two lesbians. The point I’m making is this: appropriation is basically someone saying to the lesser beings “I don’t like you/I don’t respect you, but I like what you have so hand it over”. White people don’t have to like Blacks but they sure will listen to our music, adopt our dances, and get their lips injected to look as big as ours (shoutout to Kylie). Homophobic rappers don’t have to like gay people but they sure will blow their money on clothing that a gay man designed. Or people will ask for the gays’ participation in a movement that helps black people even though black people are probably the most homophobic type of people. Assimilation can be good because when you admire someone, you can’t help but to adopt some of their habits. My two best friends and I spend so much time around one another that they’ve started to say some of the funny phrases that I say and vice versa. That’s fine- its shows how in sync we are. But appropriation is using someone or someone’s product for personal gain but still refusing to acknowledge them and give them the recognition they deserve. It’s like real-life plagiarism.

  9. Tija J. says:

    Being in the United States (and the world), we are compiled of a mixture of all types of cultures. With so much diversity in the country, it’s common that a person is curious about the customs and values of others. Great! Not a problem. However when learning those customs and values, the learner has to be very cautious in order not to do harmful or disrespectful things. Appropriation can have a negative connotation. Not because one is learning of another culture, it is because the things learned has typically oppressed the people of that particular culture. Example Problem: Learning the history of African Americans then participating in an activity that was used to taunt and oppress them. Total Problem! (On the bright side, it’s good that you are trying to learn about another culture but you must be aware of the limitations when doing so because it may lead to something one didn’t expect.) Assimilation in my opinion is a choice. If you have to change in order to survive, then do so. No one is telling you “forget what you believe in, be like us” but if you have to “be like us or do something like us” to make ends meet then do so. I believe one should celebrate their original culture because that is what makes us different.

  10. Lane Hughes says:

    After looking up the words “assimilation” and “appropriation,” I’ve come up with a few examples from my life that connect to these words. First, within the first month of my coming to MSMS, I was assimilated into a friend group. At first, I didn’t want this to occur, because I thought it meant that I’d be chained to a single group of people at all social gatherings. Personally, I liked my freedom to move around and be normal in any group, so the loss of this was almost appalling. However, I’ve come to realize that, because of my assimilation into this group of people, instead of doing everything and taking the brunt force of everything on my own, I now have support in all times, whether I need it or not. In this case, assimilation was in no way a dirty word; on the other hand, appropriation is blatant thievery, which is wrong.

  11. Michelle L says:

    While the dictionary words “assimilation” and “appropriation” are not inherently “dirty” words, the way people think of these words and what they are associated with can make them objectionable. “Dirty words” implies they are not to be spoken or spoken of. Definitely, they are words with a lot of weight behind them.
    Appropriation, “cultural appropriation,” specifically, describes the use of foreign or religious elements of culture by a different culture, which some may consider disrespectful. I have seen lampooning of the concept of cultural appropriation around the internet and of anyone who mentions it or calls it out. In that way, appropriation could be a “dirty word” to certain circles that ridicule the concept. To others, appropriation is something that should be noticed and discussed, whether it is wrong or justifiable.
    “Assimilation” describes the acclimation of a person or group into a different culture. It is debatable whether this a good thing. It could diminish the uniqueness of cultures, promoting homogeneity, but on the other hand, reduce cultural misunderstandings and differences in ideas. Under this definition, assimilation seems to be more of a discussion topic and less of a dirty word.
    But assimilation also refers to the inhumane incorporation of Native Americans into white American society. An example of cultural genocide, Assimilation could be thought of as an ugly spot in history to be covered up and forgotten. Since both terms are loaded with negativity, I do not think assimilation and appropriation could be construed as “flattery” in present society. Both are associated with touchy topics, so it would be difficult to promote either in a universally positive light. To say “appropriation” and “assimilation” are good things, would be to step on many toes.

  12. Sara Sheward says:

    While these words are not vulgar, their sudden appearance in recent media and the internet have cast somewhat of a dark light on them as they now have come to reference controversial issues. And while I still believe that these are not dirty words, I think that it would be best to avoid this topic at the dinner table (like with religion and politics).

  13. Anonymous says:

    The words appropriation and assimilation should not be regarded as “dirty words”. Appropriation is the action of taking something for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission. Assimilation is the process of becoming similar to something. These definitions don’t instill dirt or filth in me when they both come to mind. I feel as if the words have such negativity surrounding them, they can be mistakenly considered as dirty words especially in major topics such as religion or politics.

  14. Loveish Sarolia says:

    Appropriation and assimilation, like all controversial words, must be taken in different contexts. For example, the US attempted to force the Native Americans to assimilate into American culture. On the other hand, many immigrants have attempted to assimilate into American culture in order to gain an advantage in society. One of these is in good context and the other is not, but the overall meaning stays the same even though the contexts are different. Appropriation is taking attributes from one culture in order to better improve another culture. It is also good and bad depending on the contexts in which it is taken. Appropriation could be interpreted as taking children’s funds and spending them on booze or it could be interpreted as a way to improve another culture by adding onto what is already available. These two words are not dirty they are just taken out of context.

  15. Alexz Carpenter says:

    Assimilation and appropriation are not “dirty words.” Both of them have definitions that define as “the process of taking in and fully understanding information or ideas” and “the action of taking something for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission.” Recently in media these words have been taken with bad connotation such as culture appropriation or maybe in history talking about how the Americans forced the Native Americans to assimilate into American culture. My personal opinion is that these words do not have any “dirty” meaning because they are just words with a definition although you could use these words to talk about something bad.

  16. Annanesya James says:

    Should we consider appropriation and assimilation to be dirty words? Well what are dirty words? While the denotation of dirty words are words that are offensive or indecent, dirty words are usually words that have a negative connotation assigned to that specific word by society. But as humans, we all differ. We have different views on life, therefore, someone might see the connotation with the words appropriation and assimilation in a negative light where as someone else may not. Whether or whether not to consider appropriation and assimilation to be dirty words also depends on the context in which the words are spoken. Based on the context, nearly any word can be twisted to have a negative connotation.

  17. Indu Nandula says:

    By definition, the words “assimiliation” and “appropriation” are by no means dirty words. However, when today’s cultural behaviors are taken into consideration, they definetely hold a negative connotation. From the sexualization of women in the media, to the playful, almost mocking manner of wearing hijabs and bindis for fashion purposes, assimilation and appropriation are everywhere, whether we like it or not. Look at, for example, the treatment of native Americans during the 18th and 19th centuries. The ultimate goal of the government was to “kill the Indian but save the man.” If you ask the general population, this may see some of these behaviors as forms of flattery. Have we really sunk to such a low point where we now mock people’s traditions and beliefs, especially pertaining to religion, and then claim it to be a form of flattery? You tell me. As was mentioned in an earlier post, and as I stated, bindis and hijabs are often worn nontraditionally by foreigners as a “style statement.” But these people generally don’t understand the true significance of such customs or habits. Assimilation and appropriation aren’t dirty words in themselves, but in many cases, the behaviors associated with these words are often atrocious.

  18. Sophia Garcia says:

    The words “assimilation” and “appropriation” are not dirty words but they do have dirty backgrounds attached to them. Assimilation is known as “the process of adapting or adjusting to the culture or a group or a nation.” In history class, we hear assimilation in terms of American people forcing immigrants and Native Americans to abandon their culture and their tradition to fit into the “average American” model. Appropriation is when an element of culture is “taken” from one group and allows profit to be made by another group. When we think of appropriation, often the thought of White celebrities “in costume”. These costumes would mimic fashion from other countries or other cultures. Many times, the dress is offensive and even inaccurate for modern times. For example, Victoria’s Secret fashion show in 2016 displayed half-naked women with very extravagant headdresses on to try to replicate Native American culture. There is no way possible that we could even consider these terms as a form of flattery. In both cases, people want to either strip you of your own identity or steal it away from you.

  19. Zion Hargro says:

    I believe “assimilation” and “appropriation” are not scandalous words, but they do indeed have dirty backgrounds. Assimilation can be cultural, religious, color, etc. When we think of appropriation, we often think of what has come to be known as being socially “acceptable”. Some examples of religious assimilation is the merging of Pagan customs and ceremonies into Christianity. When Christianity became the predominate religion of the United States, they took Pagan holy days such as Yule and Ostara, and claimed them as Christmas and Easter. Traditions of the Pagan culture were adopted such as the decorating of fir trees at Christmas and the use of symbols of fertility at Easter such as Easter eggs. A perfect example of appropriation is how society has approved naked women dancing in music videos as being “sexy”, instead of “demeaning and degrading”.

  20. Zion Hargro says:

    I believe “assimilation” and “appropriation” are not scandalous words, but they do indeed have negative backgrounds. Assimilation can be cultural, religious, statistical, etc. When we think of appropriation, we often think of what has come to be known as being socially “acceptable”. Some examples of religious assimilation is the merging of Pagan customs and ceremonies into Christianity. When Christianity became the predominate religion of the United States, they took Pagan holy days such as Yule and Ostara, and claimed them as Christmas and Easter. Traditions of the Pagan culture were adopted such as the decorating of fir trees at Christmas and the use of symbols of fertility at Easter such as Easter eggs. A perfect example of appropriation is how society has approved naked women dancing in music videos as being “sexy”, instead of “demeaning and degrading”.

  21. Richie Andersen says:

    The words assimilation and appropriation are simply nouns that can overall be described as adopting and accepting into different cultural ideas and practices. IN response to the question, assimilation can be defined as adaptation or a natural acclimatization into a culturally different way of doing something; I personally see nothing wrong with the current way assimilation is used. Appropriation more negatively describes how people ignorantly “adopt” cultural traditions. Examples would include modern white girls envying and eventually adopting african-style weaves, or a more official example, when Washington named its NFL football team the “Redskins”. My final conclusion is that, no, these words should not be considered dirty or “prohibited”. These words can easily be used in negative context, but sadly, this isn’t a perfect world, and negativity should be expected.

  22. Morgan Emokpae says:

    Assimilation is defined as the process of taking in and fully understanding information and ideas (and people). while appropriation is taking something for ones own’s use. These words are not intrinsically bad. However, the action of the words throughout history can be negative or positive. In America’s past, our government has attempted to subdue native people by passing restriction on their culture. This is an example of these words’ negative form. In contrast, when people through their own un-pressured initiative choose to assimilate, this shows that he or she has come to like the condition to which the person assimilate/ appropriate to; this shows a positive connotation of the word.

  23. Madison Wypyski says:

    In a modern sense, words such as appropriation and assimilation are in line with asking an elderly woman her age, or bringing up annual income and tax returns on the first date. It’s just something we do not do, however, in essence, neither word connotes to anything “dirty”. They are simply just words. Appropriation means to take without authoritative right, and in modern culture, is often written with a “cultural” tagged in front. I understand the idea of cultural appropriation and acknowledge the struggle incited when others attempt to borrow integral parts of a culture or denomination for the sake of “fashion” or fun. However, I do not understand why any and all uses of the word appropriation are typically turned into social tirades. Similarly, with assimilation, an idea of forcing an ideal or lifestyle on a group is an extremely common modern derivative, and everyone who has taken a history class knows that in the context of global history, particularly in the late 19th- early 20th century, assimilation is not typically advertised in a positive light by historians. Much like appropriation, assimilation has become a social monster. Conversely, to say assimilation and appropriation are terms of flattery is pushing the envelope as well. This is similar to when in elementary school, the teacher would tell you that “Sally” only copied the project you did last year because she admired it so very much. Even as 8-year-olds we knew that “Sally” was not copying your project because she admired it, she was either too lazy to come up with an original idea or knew that by taking an already successful project and simply changing a few minute details, she too would be successful. These concepts really are not flattery either. Overall, assimilation and appropriation are words that should be used more carefully in the future, and maybe filtered out of usage and replaced with terms that are a better fit.

  24. Grace-Anne Beech says:

    The word assimilation is defined as the process of taking in and fully understanding information or ideas. Appropriation, on the other hand, is the taking and use of something without the right. In today’s culture, appropriation is a hot-button issue. Most people do not have a problem with others taking things from their culture. The problem comes in when someone disrespects the culture they are taking things from. Appropriation is taking something from a culture and celebrating it, but only when it does not involve someone actually from that culture. For example, when a white girl puts dreads in her hair, it is viewed as trendy, while when black women do it, it is viewed negatively, such as when Fashion Police’s Giuliana Rancic claimed that Zendaya Coleman’s dreadlocks made her “feel like she smells like patchouli or weed,” while also saying that Kylie Jenner’s braids are “edgy and cool.” In response, Coleman showed the distinction between appropriation and assimilation. “In order to appreciate something, you have to know about it. You don’t just wear something just to wear it—you have to understand the history behind it.”

  25. Lori Feng says:

    Appropriation differs from cultural exchange, because people do not share mutually with each other because appropriation refers to a particular power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture takes elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed. The issue with appropriation is that it allows people to show love for a particular culture while maintaining prejudice against its people. For example, we can look to how many people in the Bay Area search for authentic Mexican food without the “sketchy neighborhoods,” which just so tend to be the neighborhoods with higher numbers of people of color. Appropriation allows the more privileged and the appropriators to justify that they want to select specific aspects of a certain culture rather than accept the group of people as a whole.
    Martina Adam is a perfect example of appropriation. Adam is a white German “model” who completed her transition into a “black” woman through melanin injections and intense tanning. She claims herself to be black just because of her cosmetic surgery, making her case possibly one of the most offensive examples of blackface. Instead, culture lies much deeper than with mere appearances.

    Cultural appropriation is an issue when credit is not given to those whose culture is being adopted. This is best illustrated by cornrows and dreadlocks. Appropriation occurs when it leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes and when the appropriator is not aware of the deep significance of the culture they are partaking in. The best solution to avoiding the harmful effects of appropriation is to gain knowledge about and give credit to which culture it is due.

    Assimilation is a less negative concept because there are more instances where it can benefit both cultures involved. As a second generation Chinese American, I have seen my parents assimilate with American culture as well as bring Chinese culture to our area. After first moving to California, my parents found it much easier to find work and perform daily activities when speaking English and applying “normal” American standards. However, they still kept much of their own culture, and for that reason my siblings and I are a unique blend of these cultures. So while my parents did assimilate to some extent, it enabled them to integrate their culture into American society more effectively.

    External Sources:

    Gibbs, C. (2017, September 22). White German woman reveals her ‘transition’ to become black. Retrieved September 30, 2017, from

  26. August Andre says:

    Assimilation and appropriation of culture need to be looked at in separate circumstances throughout history. Assimilation can be a positive thing if it is accepted on both sides. However, when people are forced to betray their personal beliefs and identities and adhere to those that surround them, assimilation has an extrenely negative connotation. Examples of this include the assimilation of immigrants and Native Americans to white American cultural standard and the period of Russification during the 1900s. Cultural appropriation, in contrast, is almost entirely inappropriate. Cultural appropriation is where a person may take something from a culture and use it without permission. These things are normally used with ignorance to the significance of the item or gesture, or are used to depreciate a culture by the culture or group appropriating it. Here are some examples. White people may place a Bindi on their forehead to associate themselves with Indian culture but are ignorant of its meaning and therefore disrespecting many people of the Hindu faith. Other examples include dreads or tight braids and the ‘n word’ being worn and used by white Americans. Blacks in the U.S. have been called this word in the past derogatorily and have been made to cut thier dreads because it is against school policy. However, it is completely fine by some peoples standards to use these styles and words. People doing something as ‘trendy’ when another culture does it and is ridiculed is the epitome of cultural appropriation. With these things said, assimilation and appropriation should be able to be talked about and are by no means ‘dirty words’ but should be discussed knowing the negative actions they represent.

  27. Hamilton Wan says:

    The words “assimilation” and “appropriation” both refer to the adoption of cultural elements from one group by another. Assimilation refers to a minority culture adopting elements of a majority culture, and appropriation refers the a majority culture adopting elements of a minority culture.

    The morality of assimilation is dependent upon the context. For example, cases where a minority group is forced to conform to the standards of the majority are clearly immoral and have a negative connotation. However, barring all cases of forced assimilation, voluntary assimilation is a process that is almost certainly inevitable, regardless of whether it has a negative connotation. Many immigrants to a new country find that, no matter where they came from or where they moved to, they are almost always forced to adopt at least some elements of the majority culture, for social and practical reasons. Socially, voluntary assimilation can help immigrants build better relationships with members of a majority culture and thus, become better ingrained in their new homes. Practically, voluntary assimilation can help immigrants adjust quicker to their new environments. However, even voluntary assimilation may not be a desirable process. Adopting elements of a new culture may mean that elements of an old culture are lost from memory. This is a problem seen in many immigrant families, where second-generation children may be unable to speak their parents’ first language or are unfamiliar with their cultural heritage. In this sense, assimilation could be seen as a “dirty word” because it denotes the inevitable homogenization of cultures and the associated loss of cultural diversity.

    Appropriation, however, is much more variable in its connotation. When used to preserve or amplify the elements of another culture, such as when people choose to learn and speak a different language, appropriation has a positive impact through the celebration of cultural diversity. However, when used to mock, stereotype, or ostracize the elements of another culture, such as the overused, satirical, and stereotypical “Asian accent”, appropriation becomes a harmful factor because then, it suppresses and delegitimizes the voice of minority cultures.

    All in all, assimilation and appropriation are processes that have positive connotations when they amplify cultural diversity and negative connotations when they suppress cultural diversity. As a society, we ought to strive to eliminate all forms of cultural suppression and instead, celebrate the diversity in the multitude of cultures present in all communities.

  28. Sabrina Solomon says:

    Should any words be considered “dirty words”? The connotation or context of words is what makes the words dirty or inappropriate. Most words did not start out with the connotation that they have now. Urban dictionary is the most recent offender of changing word’s connotations. If I were to use the word B*tch in a sentence such as a bitch won first place in the sporting dogs category, it would be known that I was talking about dogs. But, because of a change in connotation, the word could be an insult. The same goes for assimilation and appropriation. I do believe that their connotation means everything. But, words are words are words. we use so many per day without paying attention to what they denote and what they mean.

  29. Sara Scott says:

    I think assimilation and appropriation should of course be considered dirty words because they refer to dirty processes. Appropriation is the blatant theft of a culture’s identity. This leads to the all-too-often use of centuries-old cultural symbols as the newest trends or ideas, which get credited to modern icons or designers and not to the actual cultures of origin. And the worst and most common example of all of this is the disgusting use of important traditional and religious outfits as ‘sexy’ or ‘funny’ Halloween costumes. In our culture, whiteness is seen as normalcy, and any other culture is seen as funny, foreign, and the blunt of jokes. Appropriation is not equal to appreciation.
    Assimilation, similarly, is just a sad process where a culture is forced on a person. A common example of this is when an immigrant comes to America and their success here depends on how ‘American’ they become. Too often are immigrants stripped of their cultural identity just to be accepted here. Frankly, this culture is not as open to diversity as it claims.
    While assimilation and appropriation are dirty words and deserve their dirty connotations, I of course still believe people should be open about discussing and addressing them.

  30. Liz Huynh says:

    As an immigrant, I think that assimilation and appropriation are not bad words; they can be used in negative contexts, but the words themselves are not bad. Assimilation happens when a group of minor adopt the culture of a larger group. Appropriation happens when people from the majority adopt cultures from the minor group.

    Many perceive the word “assimilation” as the complete cultural eradication of an ethnic group. However, the word “assimilation” should be understood as the adoption of a new culture for one’s convenience. Assimilation can simply mean learning the history of a new country, learning the social etiquettes typical to that country, or learning a new lame joke that is considered hilarious in that culture. Through “assimilation”, an immigrant will be able to build many connections with the inhabitants more easily, which would help them in professional advancements, or just general wellbeing. Likewise, assimilation should not be considered a bad word if it is driven from within. When a person is introduced to a new habitat, he or she will change his or her behavior to prosper. It is merely adaptation. A great example of self-motivated assimilation is the “American dream.” Many immigrants came to the US in hope of advancement. They eliminate many of their former cultures and take up new ideologies such as “individualism” to survive in the competitive environment. Many assimilations come naturally through time and through generations: the new generations become more assimilated because they are less exposed to their home culture. The only exception when “assimilation” is considered a bad word is when a large community force minority to follow the dominant culture. Altogether, assimilation is innately not a bad word. To justify its pureness even further, scientists found that it is “the absorption and digestion of food or nutrients by the body or any biological system.”

    Different from “assimilation”, “appropriation” is positive when it comes to cultural context. Many believe that “appropriation” is an act of stealing. I believe that this claim is not pragmatic in nature. Smaller communities sought many means to exemplify their culture and introduce their culture to the world because communities hold pride in their values. Thus, it is celebrated when a foreign person adopts the good values that smaller communities share. Also, even though I don’t believe in Communism, I think that ideas should be shared openly with everyone because it introduces people to new perspectives. Therefore, appropriation should be celebrated when it comes to cultural context; adoption of new cultural values is a form of self-improvement.

  31. Kerrigan Clark says:

    Neither of these words should be considered dirty words. It could be argued that appropriation could be used in a bad sense but it couldn’t be considered as a bad word. Appropriation could be considered in a bad sense because of the technical definition: the act of taking something for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission. Most people associate appropriation with a particular culture stealing the ideas of another culture and using them in their everyday lives. This does constitute appropriation because of the definition but I don’t think that a person is physically or mentally able to steal an idea from a culture unless it is a trademarked idea, which most of them are not. Assimilation should not at all be used as a bad or dirty word because the definition of the word does not include anything that could possibly be offensive: the process of taking in and fully understanding information or ideas. With a fully understanding of something, there is a level of respect that is being shown to whatever is being “assimilated”.

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