Handout 2: Considerations for Cultural Borrowing: Questions to Ask and Answer
Prepared by the 2003 UUA Cultural (Mis) Appropriations Ad Hoc Committee, Judith A. Frediani, chair.
This is a comprehensive set of questions to consider when potentially integrating culture specific practices into Unitarian Universalist worship and teaching.
- Why am I doing this? What is my motivation?
- What is the goal?
- Why do we want multiculturalism?
- Why this particular cultural material or event?
- What is the context in which I will use the cultural material?
- What is the cultural context from which it is taken? The history?
- What are the controversies/sensitivities surrounding this material?
- What are the power relationships in this context? The privileges?
- What am I willing to do to prepare for this experience?
- Have I done my homework on this material?
- What sources/resources have I used?
- Have I asked people from the culture for feedback/critical review of my plans? The history?
- Have I asked people from the culture to create or co-create the material?
- Did I invite people from the culture to participate? To speak for themselves in this plan?
- Am I in relationship with people from this culture?
- Am I willing to be part of that community's struggle?
- What is my relationship with the source of the material?
- What can I give in return? What do I offer?
- With whom do I ally myself with this usage?
- Am I working alone?
- How does this work nurture self-identity and group identity?
- How does this strengthen UU identity?
- How does it help UUs be religious?
- What does this say about UU faith?
- How does it relate to UU spirituality or spiritual practice?
- What can UUs learn from other traditions?
- With printed material, who holds the copyright?
- Have I received permission to use the material?
- Who has the right to adapt? Why?
- Who will be insulted/offended by this adaptation?
- With whom do I ally myself with this adaptation?
- What is the difference between symbolic and real ritual, and how am I using this ritual?
- If I am using a translation is it accurate, authentic, and current?
- Am I using current, authentic language?