Sample Research Paper on Cultural Appropriation and Commodity Flows


The paper examines social vice which includes; racism, ethnicity, religious differences, cultural imperialism, whiteness supremacy, colonialism and ‘commodificaton.’ The theoretical aspects will be applied to look at how they have brought these material weaknesses.  The research will take a comparative approach focusing on the shared cases by Edward Said, Bell Hooks, Richard Dyer, Stuart Hall, Amira Jarmakani, Gayatri Spivak, Homi Bhabha and Arjun Appadurai. The key concepts and theories from their articles will be discussed in details. This will shed light on the way these authors feel about social vices. Finally, the paper will look at Bell Hook’s argument about the members of dominating races, genders, and sexual practices and how they reinforce their power by turning racial and ethnic differences into a source of pleasure and profit. The paper in general discuses cultural appropriation and commodity flows (fashion).

Although the commodification of blacks in the middle of state violence and prevalent racism is not new to the world, the manic commodification of the new black is the new racist moment (Penn, 1971). Likewise, the disappearing chances reasonable to African American youth, together with the precise information about the path to preferred black maleness thrust the black youths into sports where there is a possibility of getting rich. The African America youth get involved in sports or other cultural practices as an effort to negotiate the fundamental challenges of American capitalism (Hook 1992, pg. 24). This is described as the process in the following ways; one is by recognizing that the culture of blacks is a more marketable commodity. The commodity is created for sale to sell as an essential culture that youths from the white region could copy. Secondly, the commodity gets paid for but heightens the levels of racism (Hook 1992, pg. 24). The commodity racism has led to the modification in how racism operates, particularly to the moves from racism to the fundamental understanding of race. This is an identity which is fixed to racial discrimination in which the character is presented as an issue of style (Penn, 1971).

Racism is evident as it heightens the sale of commodities of ‘others; bodies. It is conceptualized as a matter of fashion, something that cannot be commodified. According to Hook (1992, pg. 21), the whites have dominated mass media with the controversies over gangster rap creates a huge scene. Alongside, the development of this matter to draw audiences, a central motivation for prominence gangster rap remains to be a shocking comedy of demonizing black youth culture in particular.












The way in which racial, ethnic and religious differences are appropriated and ‘commodified’ by the media.

Hook’s (1992, pg. 21) ‘Eating the ‘Other’ states that the dissimilarity and colonial nostalgia of while the male from Western for supremacy over the other is ratified through cultural cheating. His idea involves the white supremacy that has an attraction and desire towards an exotic. Accordingly, its only white males are allowed to articulate this kind of appeal. This only means that bodies are territories of neo-imperialism that white supremacists claim that they are not racists as the ‘Others’ commodified. Hook uses the word “other’ to for salvation and benefit. She also employs the idea of cultural commodities to show the importance of pace in personality and cultural politics (Hook 1992, pg. 25).

The whole course of action is then augmented through the media to the extent that it becomes up to standard. However, hook’s argument that images of racial differences appear compassionate to those whose racial discrimination is intensified. As Hook asserts, ‘when race and ethnicity are commodified as products for happiness,’ he argues that the culture of a particular category of people can be viewed an option playground where racism is practiced.

I am shocked by Hook’s ideas because I was not unconscious about these incidents. I agree to Hook’s as I am now out in the open to consumer media. I find it interesting to agree although I am very conscious of the existence of racism although our community chooses to broadcast in more through media and consumerism. Hook’s ideas have made me reflect on other cultures that white culture has created (Hook 1992, pg. 21)

Hook’s (1992, pg. 21) notes another vital point of interest that can be related to fashion of ‘Other.’ She also notes that this tendency began in the last few years. As a result of that visiting Africa has become very fashionable within the dominant. In overall, Hook’s (1992, pg. 21) book is educative as it advises us on racial differences which can be agreeable. However, she adds that the journey to complete refurbishing of consumer culture and consciousness on how to create a neo-imperialist society in consuming ‘Other.’ (Hook, 1992, pg.30).

For example, African-inspired Valentino spring for year 2016 was alleged of cultural appropriations. Their collections were ‘termed as primitive and wild’ because they were presented in clothes and accessories representing tribal Africans ideas. However, they were put on by whites in the course of the runaway show.

(McCurry Steve, 2016).

In additions to this campaign, the Italian house accompanied by McCurry Steve, a photographer went to Kenya and picked several people from Masaai community to appear together with other models in the images.

‘Advertising campaign in Amboseli, Kenya’ (McCurry, 2016).

The CEO of Valentino Maria took the pictures to her Instagram account and explained what the collection of photos wanted to achieve. She stated that the photos were meant to reveal the company’s emotional for African cultures and Beauty. Conversely, Valentino was purely using Kenya communities as a ‘support’ to represent the attractiveness of African culture.

During Givenchy show, there rose a fundamental issue. A gal used during the Givenchy’s show nickname ‘Victorian Chola’ was proclaimed as the’ boss of the gang.’ ‘chola’ originated from the Aztecan word which is a ‘dog, breed’ and used to refer to Mexican immigrants. In the photo used during the show, a name was used to designate urban women from Mexican with a particular style characterized by crystalized hair, loose flatteries, and black lip liner.

(Segretain Pascal Le, 2015).

The issues of cultural appropriation is tricky when combined with a lack of multiplicities. The photo above used in Givenchy show perhaps did not have bad intentions however, clearly, the models company were largely white. Ideally, the photo sends a message of black girl’s hair.

Racism and ethnicity

During Barrack Obama, presidential elections in the United States of America, the racial progress was symbolized. This has led to a global discussion on racial discrimination of whether the US has entered a post-colonial period. Laws scholars have focused disproving the view that the United States has become a post-colonial society (Norwich, 2010. Pg.114). In general, researchers have given the importance of racism among supporters in Democratic parties during presidential elections in 2008. Among other things, it was noted that Obama’s nomination was surrounded by racial depictions and negative descriptions. In the light of fighting racial disparities, the scholars have used Obama’s elections to proof that America is a post-racial society. The discussion has been very coherent at the time Obama’s campaigns exposed as enormous and disregarded the national strategy. In contrast, Obama’s election was proof that America is a post-racial society.

In San Francisco State University (SFSU), a case of cultural appropriation is revealed when hen students felt offended and took the case to the social media. Her fellow white student attacked a black student for his dreadlocks. The video on youtube shows a Black female confronting a white male because of his ‘dreadlocks’. From the video, the woman is heard intimidating the white male that she would cut his hair because ‘it’s her culture.’ The white man responds by trying to justify that the style of his hair is part of other cultures.

‘A white male student on the left, and a black female on the right’ (Nicholas, 2016).


Commodification refers to the conversion of products, ideas, and people into commodities.  Ethnic festivals are the focal point for agricultural commodities linked with a group, religious holidays, foodstuffs or a range of ethnic activities such as dancing and historical reenactments (Hook, 1992, pg. 30). Dramatization of ethnic festivals gives out a means of making representational racial personality in a consumer society (Hook, 1992, pg. 25).  The celebrations are intended to re-captivate the world. They offer a massive number of commodities that apparently provide a valid symbol of an ethnic culture (Hook 1992, pg. 30).

Ethnicity is occasionally commodified to move the sales. For example, the Guinness manufacturers started working together with the chain of O’Neill Pub when they discovered that people made orders for specific festivals but rarely did they make orders outside festival settings. Racial identity is defined as a personal trait that individuals discuss throughout out their lives. As a central part of development, people strive to set up an ethnic identity that is rational and continuous (Hook, 1992, pg.25).  This is mainly factual because of none white individuals, unlike the white ones, frequently need to engage in multiple character presentation. The non-white people put emphasis on the importance of racial identity as a toll to fighting self-esteem and comfort in their environment (Moallem, 2005).

Research explains that for people who have opted to endorse a particular racial, and ethnic discrimination provide simple declaration about the positions and importance of their groups (Hook, 1992, pg.25). Accordingly, given the fundamental responsibility that racial representation plays, people need incorporation of ethnic identity with the concept of others. On the other hand, racial capitalism distances itself from the people. It separates the representation of the individual who lives in that portrayal. The research has shown that the result is that identity whose component integrates (Parisi, 1993, 126). The treatment of racial commodification perhaps concerned people who internalize market style envisage in their minds as a separate commodity.

Richard (1997, pg.6) book talks about the identity of the white population in the culture western region. Richard (1997, pg. 7) claims that racial imagery is the focal point of an organization in the modern world. People are judged according to their capacities and worth. This brings about prejudices when racial judgments are made, petty differences and thus an imagery of race. According to Richard (1997, pg.7), race is the term used to non-white as white people are not racial. However, media tends to look at whites as personal standard which not the case, considering the numbers. This vice from Western has penetrated in the books, film, and television. As Richard (1997, pg. 7) states, ‘in racial identity, whites do not belong to a particular, but they are human race.’ Richard (1997, 6) then suggests that whiteness should be looked at as a run and makes it strange. Once this is done, racism can be counterattacked. In my sincere opinion, racism is spread by media and it’s worsening (Moallem, 2005).

Bhabha (1994, pg. 20), criticizes the post-colonial influence in the movement to reclassify cultures. He adds that location of culture requires that members of society try to understand their cultural diversities based on hybrid ties for hybrid ties formed in the past transformation. People should never be grouped based on current characteristics attributed to the ethnic group. Instead, people should locate exiting the cultural differences in between space and time extending the cultural differences. Besides, the traits of individuals should not be a barrier to their ethnic traditions but rather change through experience. Most importantly, the location of culture is rather a new task in the matter of post-colonial censure. Moreover, today’s society is formed from a different ethnic background and social experiences, hence the formation of new identity. (Parisi, 1993, 126).

Bhabha’s (1994, pg.6), argues that social differences should not be given time to experience through already verified cultural practices because of signs of the materialization of community foreseen as a project. This implies that people must rely on the present to appreciate the nature of the post-colonialism which does not signify temporal pattern (Mermin, 2004.) Mermin (2004), further discussion on post-colonialism focuses on how individual artists create images for the interstitial places in the society. For instance, genealogy’ sites designed by Renee Green, who uses the museum structures as a model. The stairwell in the structure represents a free flow of cultural differences in the society. These artists re-establish the minds and skills of black/white and ‘others.’ I was the summary; Bhabha’s (1994, pg.9), argument can be expanded to assess differences in the post-colonial and pre-colonial times and to study various models of both by disclosing their chances in colonial times. Bhabha’s (1994, pg.10), work proposes that the procedure of making modernity and the history is repeated and partial and that theory such political ideas can be very helpful.

The post-colonial experiences require much attention as people redefine their approaches to cultural identity. Their original racial traits describe multicultural societies such as minority population and post-colonial societies. The fact people are formed by their societal experiences, their traditions, and historical background; they can come into contact with. Bhabha’s (1994, pg.10), states that there no more differences, huge groups of ethnicity as we must our current society defines our identity.

Edward (2008, pg.6), uses the theory of orientalism to examine the cultural and historical views of the Eastern parts that were held by the West. Said also explores how East develop and their origin.  He achieves this by tracing various views and insights back to colonial periods of European countries and British. The two colonies dominate the Middle East during the colonial times. Since then the United States of America had not become a super power. The views and insights obtained by Said they were as a result of British and French (Edward, 2008, pg.8). During this period, the British had colonies in the East, but French were in the process (Edward, 2008, pg.8).  Orientalism now comes into play and focused on languages that involved translating works into European languages.  The colonial masters felt that they could not rule without first knowing the languages of the people they ruled. The only way out to acquire the knowledge is through translating various works from native language into European’s.  Westerners believed to be superior to orient, the east (Bhabha, 1994, pg. 24). The East was considered to be passive while the Westerners very active, and hence the Orient were ruled and conquered. The word Oriental means that the Middle East and Near East, and thus the scholars were not able to differentiate their countries of origin. All these were accompanied by different cultures which were bumped into the colonies (Cooke, 2002, pg. 468).

In Edward (2008, pg.6) work, he claims that Orient was physically substandard to the Europeans hence the presence of domination. He further states that there is a need to study on the human experience from cultures and societies because there were errors in previous studies. The ‘Orientlists’ together with the Europeans did not understand the oriental process itself. Their studies failed to spread the fears they had and remained in anticipation of a certain level of understanding. After World War I the study of Orient moved from Europe to the west and became part of the area of career. As Said states, the ‘Orient” should be looked at as cultures and societies and not as a concept of Western domination. This implies that the approach of ‘Orient’ as the area of study has led to more recent advance (Edward, 2008, pg.8).

In the last few decades, there has been an increase in Afrikan visibility and contribution in the commercial market. The image of Africans is rebranded to move them away from afro-pessimistic to more active vivacious ones as well as replenishing the marketing rights for their continent. This model has brought benefits specifically to the African artists and entrepreneurs. In additions, it’s a cause for commemoration especially in the light of the reductive that have diseased the Afrikaans. However, for Africans and their cultures in the world market have facilitated cultural exchange amongst themselves. The eroticization of African is not new and has been seen in other stories like ‘Allan Quartermain series’ and other features of pop culture. It’s a kind of eroticization that we seem to have internalized and adopted. The emergence of Afropolitanism which had come under much reasonable condemnation appearing to be engaging in Afrikan’s cultures (Parisi, 1993, 126).


Our society tends to place the ideas which go beyond the reach of the marketplace. However, money may not buy pleasure, and the best things in life are naturally free. Commodification, by difference, takes things in the market within the dominion of the routine. Commodifying something for marketing, make it fungible with other products present in the market. This paper has examined how commodification generally brings about racial differences and identity. Our current cultural practices call for us to reassess the current experiences regarding political and ethical reasons.

The commodification of cultural practices shows that the colonial oppression still exists in our society today. The reflection of early colonial acts makes people slaves and misrepresentation of modern culture. A way of reclaiming cultural identity is through self-representation rather than permitting counterfeit labels being carried on a traditional representation. By challenging racism, modern cultures should be used to recreate the character of people.

I am inclined to agree with Hook’s ideas because I was not unconscious about these incidents. I find it interesting to agree although I am very conscious about the survival of racism even though our society chooses to broadcast in more through media. Hook’s ideas have made me reflect on other cultures that white culture has created. Hook’s adds that another important point of interest that can be related to fashion of ‘Other.’ She also notes that this tendency began in the last few years ago, as a result of that visiting Africa has become very stylish within the dominant. In overall, Hook’s book is educative as it advises us on racial differences which can be agreeable. However, she adds that the journey to complete restore of consumer culture and awareness on how to create a neo-imperialist society in consuming ‘Other.’


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