Those who are in university and write essays or are in the writing business know that there is one very big no-no: plagiarism, which means the close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author as one´s own.
Can plagiarism apply to culture; i.e. the incorporation of a culture´s customs and thoughts and representing them as one´s own? This is how cultures work: they constantly incorporate new ideas and customs from other ones without mentioning the source.
Why does cultural plagiarism occur? Probably because cultures want to give the impression to their countrymen and immigrants that their culture is unique. They are obliged to strengthen a myth called national identity.
How many things of our culture have we incorporated from other cultures? I think the answer lies in our physiology: we have some different traits but we can still reproduce and forge a new generation.
Even though culture is not music or artwork with a copyright label, it is misleading and outright wrong to steal a custom from another culture and claim it as your own — are simply avoid the topic altogether.
If we stated sourcing where our different cultural traits came from, would that be the first important step in building a world of greater understanding?
If we knew how closely we are actually linked possibly that would help destroy some of the walls we build thanks to cultural plagiarism.