I want to take the time to give my personal definition of cultural appropriation vs cultural appreciation. Hopefully what I’m about to say comes across clearly.
I love learning about different cultures. It’s something that has always interested me. I have a list about a mile long of places I would love to visit. Now, just because I like a certain culture, that doesn’t mean I’m going to read a book and pretend I know everything about it. I’m not gonna walk around speaking half poorly pronounced Japanese/half English with a shitty “Japanese” accent and think it’s cute. It doesn’t mean I’ll put on a “head dress” and some fake war paint and call myself Pocahontas.
What I will do is respectfully ask questions when I don’t understand something. I will listen and learn as much as I can from people who are part of that culture. If they ask me to not do something because it’s disrespectful or offensive, I’ll stop. I won’t complain, I won’t cry, I won’t whine. I definitely won’t tell them they’re “being mean” or “overreacting”. I will respect those people and their culture. I will be thankful that I’m allowed to experience it.
That’s the general difference between appropriation and appreciation. Appropriation is kicking down the door and claiming you own the place and appreciation is knocking and politely asking if you can come in.