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Do you Appreciate or Appropriate?

We love open-minded people who accept and celebrate the differences between culture that create a wonderfully diverse global community. However, there is a fine line between appreciation and appropriation we should all be aware of.

Cultural appropriation occurs when members of one culture adopt elements of another, often minority culture. The cultural assimilation of ideas, symbols, artefacts, images, sounds, objects, forms or styles disregards spiritual significance and often leads to stereotyping. This can be incredibly offensive to some people.

Some obvious examples include tattooing Celtic symbology or henna, wearing jewellery or decorations that have religious or spiritual significance such as bindis and sporting teams adopting the names of indigenous tribes for mascots.

While your right to free expression will always be defended as a core principal of rainbow, we encourage people to be aware of alternate cultures as we don’t want anyone leaving our rainbow home feeling insulted or offended. It’s important we all understand the negative impact our individual choices have on others and learn to act with cultural sensitivity.

Are you a Culturally Sensitive Festival Goer?

While other festivals are banning costumes like Native American headdresses, the Rainbow team would rather support the continued education about cultural sensitivities that extend deeper than just fashion trends. We ask members of our Rainbow community who don’t quite understand what the big deal is to spend some time informing themselves and each other.

With regards to Native American headdresses and other culturally sensitive material we have decided not to officially ban them for a number of reasons.


We prefer patrons make informed decisions based on their own reasoning. We would rather spend years educating the community and see the practise of wearing these costumes end naturally, based on understanding, rather than an outright ban and continued ignorance.

Offence is such an individual response and who decides what is offensive and what isn’t? Our current banned items exist for important safety and permit reasons. If we start banning items based on offence, we’ll have a very long list in very little time.

While it’s important to ask people not to offend, it’s equally important to encourage others not to be offended. A harmonious global community requires compromise and tolerance. Learn to be a leaf on the breeze!

Read more about culture appropriation and Native headdresses here