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Traveling Ethically: Avoiding Cultural Appropriation of Souvenirs

Souvenirs are often the easiest, and cheapest, way to bring back memories from time spent abroad. However, journalist Megan Spurrell warns that certain souvenirs can cross the line of cultural appropriation: the inappropriate adoption of an assumed element of another's - often minority - culture for personal status or gain. Spurrell poses the question: what is the onus on travelers to ensure their purchases are not problematic? Speaking to Noelle Kahanu of the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Spurrell and Kahanu provide guidance and suggestions for travelers to ensure that their souvenir purchases do not manifest into the production of stereotypes. For example, Kahanu suggests asking ourselves: are these purchases helping the local artist community? Are these designed to be memory keepers? Or are these purchases meant to reflect something vaguely exotic in our house back home? Read and find out more about their suggestions for ethical souvenir purchases here!

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