Cultural Appropration

Cultural exchange and transfer between societies has been occurring since the dawn of humanity. Some argue that when a culture which has oppressed another or is dominant over another “borrows” something from another culture, it is an unacceptable form of cultural appropriation. One example is the fashion controversy over Western and British music artists wearing bindis, which are a traditional forehead decoration in South Asia with religious significance. Another example is the scores of controversial costumes that are available in stores every year for Halloween.

Is it acceptable for dominant societies to re-appropriate the elements of other cultures? Where and how do we draw the line between appreciation of other cultures and ignorance or blatant mockery of them? How important is it for humans to even have distinct, tribal cultures, as opposed to embracing a mono-culture?