The BTG Podcast

124/Exploring Diversity: Navigating Appreciation vs. Appropriation

June 04, 2024 Jennifer Febel of Live Life Unbroken & BTG Wellness Season 2024 Episode 124
124/Exploring Diversity: Navigating Appreciation vs. Appropriation
The BTG Podcast
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The BTG Podcast
124/Exploring Diversity: Navigating Appreciation vs. Appropriation
Jun 04, 2024 Season 2024 Episode 124
Jennifer Febel of Live Life Unbroken & BTG Wellness

Welcome to The BTG Podcast! 🌟

Hey there, lovely soul! I'm your host, Jen Febel, and I'm absolutely thrilled to welcome you to another episode of The BTG Podcast, your go-to space for nurturing your mind, soothing your heart, and enriching your spirit.

"BTG" stands for "Bridge The Gap" and it's inspired by my own healing journey. Here, amidst the chaos of the world, we carve out a sacred space to explore the depths of our being, to unearth wisdom, and to cultivate a sense of inner peace. Whether you're seeking solace, inspiration, or simply a moment of respite, know that you are welcomed with open arms and an open heart.

So, grab your favorite cup of tea, find a cozy spot to nestle into, and let's dive into today's episode.

Here's what we're talking about this time:

Globalization has made our world more interconnected than ever, but it also raises questions about how we honor and integrate elements from other cultures. Ignorance, rather than malice, often drives cultural appropriation. In this episode, we discuss the importance of intention and respect when engaging in cultural exchange. Instead of attacking or labeling those who misstep, let's advocate for creating spaces of education and sharing. The goal is to ensure that cultural exchange unites us, making everyone feel respected and valued in an increasingly diverse world.


Support the Show.

You are invited to join us in Circle

Each BTGPpodcast episode is recorded LIVE during my virtual Healing Circles. If real-time connection calls to you, you are invited to join my free Circle membership. Visit www.btgwellness.com/circle and register for Zoom access.

​Share the LOVE ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

If you like what you hear, please remember to leave a review and share the love by sharing this episode with your friends, family, and social network.

Questions or curiosities?

Remember, I am always just an email away.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome to The BTG Podcast! 🌟

Hey there, lovely soul! I'm your host, Jen Febel, and I'm absolutely thrilled to welcome you to another episode of The BTG Podcast, your go-to space for nurturing your mind, soothing your heart, and enriching your spirit.

"BTG" stands for "Bridge The Gap" and it's inspired by my own healing journey. Here, amidst the chaos of the world, we carve out a sacred space to explore the depths of our being, to unearth wisdom, and to cultivate a sense of inner peace. Whether you're seeking solace, inspiration, or simply a moment of respite, know that you are welcomed with open arms and an open heart.

So, grab your favorite cup of tea, find a cozy spot to nestle into, and let's dive into today's episode.

Here's what we're talking about this time:

Globalization has made our world more interconnected than ever, but it also raises questions about how we honor and integrate elements from other cultures. Ignorance, rather than malice, often drives cultural appropriation. In this episode, we discuss the importance of intention and respect when engaging in cultural exchange. Instead of attacking or labeling those who misstep, let's advocate for creating spaces of education and sharing. The goal is to ensure that cultural exchange unites us, making everyone feel respected and valued in an increasingly diverse world.


Support the Show.

You are invited to join us in Circle

Each BTGPpodcast episode is recorded LIVE during my virtual Healing Circles. If real-time connection calls to you, you are invited to join my free Circle membership. Visit www.btgwellness.com/circle and register for Zoom access.

​Share the LOVE ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

If you like what you hear, please remember to leave a review and share the love by sharing this episode with your friends, family, and social network.

Questions or curiosities?

Remember, I am always just an email away.

Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to the BTG Podcast. I am your host, jen Fable of BTG, wellness and LiveLifeUnbrokencom. Btg stands for Bridge the Gap and it's inspired by my own healing journey. After receiving seven different mental health diagnoses by the age of 19,. I quickly realized that there was a massive gap between what I believed and understood in my head and what I truly felt in my heart, and no matter how many therapists I went to, I couldn't seem to bridge that gap until I found the tools and information that I share in my one-on-one private sessions, trainings and right here on this podcast. My goal is to help you begin to bridge that gap by bringing you different topics related to mental, emotional and spiritual well-being and, in case you didn't know, this podcast is recorded live during my bi-monthly virtual healing circles. These are virtual gatherings that are 100% free and no RSVP is required, so you're welcome to come whenever you can and stay as long as you want. Each circle, we open the space with a candle meditation, after which I will share with you my favorite grounding practices and lead you through a circle casting guided meditation and breath work, and lead you through a circle casting guided meditation and breath work, followed by a soul-inspiring gratitude practice. If you are interested in learning more about how you can continue your journey and experience my virtual healing circles in real time, please visit wwwbtgwellnesscom and join my free Circle membership If you like what you hear in today's episode. Please also remember to leave a review and share the love by sharing this episode with your friends, family and social network and, as always, if you have any questions about anything at any time, please feel free to reach out to me through either of my websites, either btgwellnesscom or my coaching website, livelifeunbrokencom, or through email or social media. Enjoy the episode. Welcome to the Virtual Healing Circle with me, jen Fable of BTG Wellness and LiveLifeUnbrokencom.

Speaker 1:

And tonight we're going to talk about a very controversial, sensitive topic and we're going to explore the concept of diversity through the lens of appreciation versus appropriation. And, like I said, this is a very sensitive topic that can be kind of polarizing, and that's kind of what I want to talk about, because as long as the conversation is about who's right and who's wrong, we're going to continue to have a society that's based on power struggles and trauma. Healing at a societal level means being willing to come to the table for an open and honest conversation that allows space for all opinions to exist. Sometimes someone not agreeing with us is uncomfortable and as long as we allow society to be shaped by what feels comfortable, we're going to continue to bury the trauma and it's going to fester and history will continue to repeat itself. Tonight I want to tackle this topic and see if you can find a place and a higher lens, a bigger picture of it, and see if you can find a place and a higher lens and bigger picture of it. So why is this important? This is important because acknowledging that there is a line between appreciation and appropriation helps allow us to create a society where we don't have off-limit conversations, where we're all willing to come to the table and talk and find agreement all willing to come to the table and talk and find agreement. This is important because a lot of times, these kinds of topics, because they're polarizing, lead to a lot of us standing on soapboxes and feeling offended. And when we get offended, that shuts down opportunities for us to learn from each other, for us to grow together. As long as we're not willing to talk about the sensitive topics, how can we ever hope to solve them? And this is important because knowing how to appreciate and honor our differences and to celebrate them together is the key to creating a world where everyone feels respected, where everyone feels honored.

Speaker 1:

So what is appropriation? So appropriation is about taking elements from another culture without any understanding or respect for it. It's about borrowing things that are customs, rituals. It's about creating a place where we are taking things that aren't ours and we're using it in a way that is unethical. It's about adopting language, behavior, traditions that typically belong to a minority culture or social group, and it's being used by the dominant culture in a way that's exploitative, that's disrespectful.

Speaker 1:

Appropriation can lead to stereotyping and it can lead to the perpetuation of power imbalances. Cultural appropriation happens when there's an imbalance of power between the appropriator and the appropriated. That's really the key to this. It's about power imbalances. A lot of times, this topic kind of veers off about, well, who's right and who's wrong, and what are we allowed to take and what are we allowed to use. But appropriation is born of power struggles, it's born of an imbalance in power. So wouldn't it be better if our conversation focused more about solving the balance of power in our society?

Speaker 1:

Appropriation happens and stems from a place of trauma, of fear of hurt, of trauma, of fear of hurt. The actual term is actually thought to have emerged in the 70s from the academic discourse on Western colonialism. No one really knows who to credit for the term itself, but it seems to be related to a term cultural colonialism that was first used in 1976 by the British historian Kenneth Cootsmith. So it's been around not that long. In the general scheme of humanity, the idea of appropriation has not been around that long, because the idea of freedom, the idea of healing power imbalances in our society is still being fought today. So it's not that old Humans are still trying to figure out how to solve our power imbalances and rather than talking about that, we instead are focusing sometimes on the smaller detail instead of the bigger picture.

Speaker 1:

Appropriation is based on exploitation, it's based on disrespect, it's based on trying to benefit either socially or monetarily, without fully understanding or caring about the cultural significance of what's being appropriated. Some examples are wearing culturally significant clothing as a fashion statement without actually understanding its significance. Where does it come from? Who does it represent? Some other examples using sacred symbols or rituals for our own personal gain, for entertainment, again without any respect for its history.

Speaker 1:

So what's appreciation? Appreciation is about genuine respect, it's about admiration. It's about understanding cultural differences. It's about understanding different viewpoints. It's about building a bridge between individuals and communities. It's about fostering empathy, compassion, mutual respect.

Speaker 1:

Appreciation involves learning about, about valuing, about celebrating diversity without seeking to possess or profit from it, and that's the key. Appreciation opens space for us to have a conversation. It allows us to have conflict resolution. It allows us to promote healing of ourself and of our planet. It's about healing the power imbalances. Some examples of appreciation are learning a new language, learning about and practicing a cultural tradition with reverence, with humility, with an understanding and gratitude for where it came from, for your own self. It's about listening to perspectives that are not your own. It's about amplifying voices that in the past had been marginalized, had been silenced, had been quieted because of the power imbalances.

Speaker 1:

Appreciation is how we heal. In our world. We have created a space where we can connect with each other without any borders. This is unprecedented in human history. In the past we were limited by landmass, by the ability to travel, by famine, by sickness, but now, without even leaving my home, I can connect with anyone around the world. That means I'm exposed to a lot of cultures that in the past I couldn't have been and with all this exploration, all this knowledge, it can open the space for the power imbalances. Suddenly, we're not in a place where it's my tribe against yours, my people against yours, my society against yours, my customs against yours. Suddenly, we've created a space where they all exist together and we're learning to play together in the same sandbox. And sometimes humans are weird.

Speaker 1:

We forget that the goal of cultural exchange is about giving us a space where we can, in this infinite world of the internet, connect and share mutually with each other's cultures and customs. We can interact with each other with the goal of promoting understanding, of promoting respect and appreciation, while fostering meaningful connections and conversations. If racism is based on fear and a complete lack of understanding or ability to understand, then the more that we have a cultural exchange, the more that we mix and mingle with each other's cultures, the more we understand each other. Versus attempting to maintain these rigid borders that societies used to have and that don't work for us anymore, cultural exchange is about being willing to accept the fact that there are no borders between us anymore, and that means we all have to learn how to get along.

Speaker 1:

Some people believe that cultural appropriation, like a lot of other social things is just the natural consequence of globalization that the more we exchange culturally, the more that we globalize, the more that there are no borders. We end up with an interconnectedness, an interaction among people who traditionally wouldn't have got to know each other. And as I interact with people, I'm like that's wonderful. Would it be okay if I shared that? That's amazing. Let's share this together, as long as there's this neutral respect.

Speaker 1:

That's the underlying difference, because when it comes to appropriation versus appreciation, your intention is the key. If the intention is to take something without asking, without gratitude, without knowledge, without any history, and exploit it and use it for your own purposes at the expense of someone else, yeah, that's a problem. That's a problem. And sometimes people are ignorant and just don't know what questions to ask. Sometimes there is no malice, there's just ignorance. And sometimes we have to open space for conversation versus attacking other people when they just don't know by labeling it as oh, this is appropriation. And on the one hand, we open up a conversation, on the other hand, it's really easy to get polarized and forget that the whole point of the conversation was to come together, not to stand on opposite shores. So how do we make sure that we avoid appropriation. So how do we make sure that we avoid appropriation? Get curious. Curiosity is the solution. Instead of getting offended, get curious. Instead of getting upset, get curious, ask curious. Seek to understand others as much as you seek to understand yourself. Because if everything's a mirror, then in understanding others you also understand yourself. And, of course, if it's a talk given by me, you know I'm going to have to bring up boundaries. Boundaries Stealing shit from other people is a boundary problem. It's about power imbalances. Curiosity and respect is the solution, and this requires taking radical responsibility for how we show up in the world. Are you shining your light so bright that you ignite the light in others, or are you standing on a soapbox and telling people I'm offended? Telling someone that you're offended is the lowest form of communication. It lacks depth, it lacks nuance, it lacks understanding. When someone simply expresses offense without any elaboration, it can indicate that they're not willing to engage in a meaningful conversation. Instead of expressing their thoughts and their concerns in a constructive manner, they resort to simply saying I'm offended, which shuts down communication rather than fostering understanding. It's okay to feel offended, but then using that as your argument as to why is missing the point and is keeping us in a power struggle, which is ironic because this is a topic about power imbalances. It leads to us fighting with each other rather than solving what the actual issue is. Being willing to come to the table, have hard conversations is how you create healthy relationships. And, bummer, we're all in a world together, which means we'll have to learn how to create healthy relationships with each other. As long as we're not willing to hear about the other side, as long as we're not willing to get curious about each other, as long as we continue to dehumanize people and deny our history of it because humans have made a lot of mistakes in the past, as long as we focus on the little nitty-gritty details that separate us, we're going to continue to replay history and we're going to recreate power imbalances, just in different ways. So some key concepts to remember Remember that your intention matters in the energy world and in conversations. Remember that fostering critical thinking, having healthy, healthy boundaries and being curious is the key to making sure that we don't keep repeating history. Remember that being willing to have uncomfortable conversations is the basis of a healthy and respectful relationship, even on a societal level. And, as always, I want to remind you to decide you want it more than you're afraid of it. Gosh, it's hard to come to the table and be uncomfortable and have uncomfortable conversations when we're still working through our own shit, isn't it? Sometimes it's hard, it feels uncomfortable, vulnerability feels vulnerable. So just decide you want it more than you're afraid of it. That's always the decision that will take you to the next step and, as always, if you have any questions about anything from tonight's circle or podcast, please know you can always reach out to me through either of my websites, either btgwellnesscom or my coaching website, livelifeunbrokencom, or through email or through social media.

Speaker 2:

So one of the issues I found is that some people are on the defensive and so I am sort of very harmless and but just curious and want to understand. But I find that there are people who, even when you ask the questions you want to understand, are so defensive and don't want to engage in conversation, and so any suggestions and how to deal with somebody like that? Find someone else to talk to. Oh so just don't. What if you have to deal with them?

Speaker 1:

So that's more of a relationship thing versus a cultural appreciation and appropriation thing. So from an appropriation perspective, it's about finding out about someone else's culture, right? So if you talk to someone about their culture and they're being a twat, go find someone else in that culture and talk to them. There's lots of them around, yeah yeah, find someone who's willing to have the conversation. And if it's not that person, that sucks. And there are a lot of people who are on their soapbox and who don't know how. They're stuck in their trauma and that's okay. That's okay. No, there's lots of resources online. There's lots of ways for us to get curious and find out information. And if the one person you ask is being a jerk, don't ask them about that stuff anymore. Find a different person, find a different resource. Yeah Right, that's easy. Yeah right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, very cool. Don't try to fix something I don't need to fix. Yes, Boundaries.

Speaker 1:

Yay, everything comes back to boundaries. Jen, yeah, yeah, yeah, very cool, awesome question.

Speaker 3:

When my boys were young in the 90s, we went to a craft workshop and we made dream catchers and that was all cool and I think it was okay. You know, we were told what the meaning was and we made beautiful dream catchers, small ones and later on, now my kids are in their 30s they don't want anything to do with any of that stuff. They said it was appropriation. I don't know if it was or not. I don't know if it was or not. It wasn't meant to be. It was done respectfully. We learned what it was all about, but the workshop wasn't led by a First Nations person, which probably would have been better. Yeah, so since then I've learned a lot, but that was like a thing that was kind of gray.

Speaker 1:

It is right, because intention is what matters. And how do we know someone's intention without asking? And then when they tell us, we have to trust it and most of us don't ask the facilitator. What's your intention? I think it would be a wonderful question. I think it's a wonderful question. What's your intention for this? Well, my intention is to share a beautiful thing that I learned from my friend who she's, you know, first Nations, and she taught me this and we've had wonderful conversations and she supports this and I wanted to share it.

Speaker 1:

And all that stuff that's very different from eh seemed like a good way to make a buck. That stuff that's very different from eh seemed like a good way to make a buck. It's very different, that's very different. And we won't know unless we ask, unless we open the conversation. And that's kind of the thing, because without it we're going to imprint our trauma onto what we think might have been going on. We're going to project right, and we're going to project right and we're going. Our fear of what we are afraid of in ourselves is going to come out in the situation. So yeah, I think it's wonderful that we're having the conversations. I just think sometimes the conversations are keeping us in the trauma of the power dynamic that is trying to heal, because we're forgetting that intention matters and that we need to ask, we have have to have the conversation.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, yeah, I feel like a lot of it is the actual guilt and that fear, like you said, and it's I've had moments where that, where I was like I know that they are very like serious.

Speaker 4:

Especially where I live there's a lot of Inlu tribes and I'm working with like a tribal coordinator and I know they're very serious and because it's very important to them and I might say the wrong thing and I almost get so fearful that I'm going to that like it's going to be word vomit, it's going to come out.

Speaker 4:

You know you're like I'm going to say something dumb and I don't even want to, but anyway, um, I kind of like try to sit with myself before I. I know that I'm going to interact and just I know my intention is honest and I know I'm coming from a good place and if I say something wrong that's not my intention and I can tell them that. So, but a lot of it is like that guilt and fear and a lot of even working with the transgender community anyone. It's like there's a lot of fear because you're like I really don't want to offend you, I want you to know I'm on your side, but I also don't fully understand and I'm trying to be there and it's like kind of have to get over your guilt by being okay with that. You might mess up.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely and saying to the person hey, I'm really afraid of this. So what's interesting is so most of you know that I'm Jewish and that a couple years ago I decided I wanted to study Kabbalah more in depth and so I started to get together at the rabbi's home with the rabbi's mom and she was kind of the elder and the one who was teaching this and even being Jewish, being in this place where they are like much, not that there is a, there's no such thing as more Jewish. But how I felt was they're more Jewish than me and I was afraid that I was going to say something offensive. Even though it's my culture, I don't understand it, the way that they actually live it. And I remember talking to her and being like you scare the hell out of me. You're so intimidating. She's like why am I? I'm so afraid I'm going to say something wrong and you're going to be like, ah, bad, you go home or something horrible. Like I'm terrified. She's like if you ask a question earnestly, with curiosity and from a place in your heart, and I get offended and yell at you, who's the bad guy in that conversation? I'm like that's fair, but I still don't want to be on the receiving end of that. She's like yeah, and you can't control that. You can't control that. What you can do is do what you did and share that. This is terrifying that I'm really worried about offending you.

Speaker 1:

I've had this conversation with a friend of mine who transitioned. I'm like I'm so worried that I'm going to offend you by using the wrong name or pronoun because it's different for me. I mean, I have a friend, so cis, hetero, male gender, like just white guy, from La Thorne Hill, moved to Australia. First he lived in the UK and he changed his name because here his name was normal but over there it was only used for women and he used to get ridiculed a lot. So he changed his name, his new name. He's had this name legally changed for I don't know 20 years. How many times. I still screw up once in a while and call him the other name.

Speaker 1:

It happens, it happens, it happens. And every time it happens I get to acknowledge it and say, ah, sorry, and he gets to go. It's fine, it's my name, it's something that I've asked and you're being respectful, you're doing your best. You're doing your best. How often do we give ourselves permission to just give our best and have that be enough.

Speaker 1:

And I think that's where the guilt comes from, because we're trying to prove to other people, because we're trying to prove it to ourselves. And, yeah, it is born of fear and it is born of guilt, which is trauma. And so letting trauma dominate a conversation that's supposed to be about curiosity and respect is so bass-accurate and so human it's so human, so bass, accurate and so human it's so human. Thank you again for joining me for this episode of the BTG podcast, which stands for Bridge the Gap with me, jen Fable. Remember, if you want to experience my virtual healing circles in real time, visit wwwbtgwellnesscom slash circle. And, of course, if you have any questions at any time, please know you're always welcome to reach out to me through social media or through my websites at btgwellnesscom or through my coaching website, livelifeunbrokencom. Thanks again and I'll see you next time.

Bridging the Gap
Cultural Appropriation Versus Appreciation