@Frogkun

Frog-kun

Why is cultural appropriation offensive to the minority from which an element of their culture is imitated?

I think you should read @nohbrow and @Geekorner's answers to this question because they're great. They talk about why cultural appropriation is a complicated issue in a much better way than I could.
I can talk about my perception of cultural appropriation as a translator, though.
You see, "cultural appropriation" is something that inevitably happens whenever cultures interact. There's no such thing as a "pure" culture. It's a good thing when cultures mix and borrow ideas from each other - that's how society grows.
The problem is when there is a really dominant culture, like dynastic China or North America right now. Those cultures will force ideas on minority cultures while accepting relatively few ideas from the other end. When ideas from minority cultures adopted by the dominant culture, they are repackaged and removed from their original context. Cultural appropriation is offensive not so much because of the specific cultural practice that is "stolen" but for what it symbolises - the massive unfairness of it all. The minority are not allowed to speak or represent themselves. It's related to the evils of colonialism, or more generally cultural imperialism. When the scales are tipped too far towards one end, people are going to get hurt.
Part of what makes cultural appropriation so complicated is that a lot of the discussions around it boil down to the question of who has the right to speak for whom. This is not an easy question to answer. Obviously, the minorities should be allowed to speak for themselves, but then, who counts as "the minority"? After years of cultural mixing, it can be hard to distinguish indigenous people from their colonisers. And what if the minorities can't speak for themselves, because they are not literate or do not speak English?
This is particularly relevant to me, because as a translator, speaking for other people is in my job description. You may not realise this at first, but translation and colonialism are inextricably linked. Throughout history, people have used translations to smooth over cultural differences and pretend they don't matter. Unless you're actively trying to be subversive, that's still what a lot of translations do - they pick and choose the "nice" bits of a culture and filter out the parts that will cause make the audience feel alienated. It's cultural appropriation 101.
I speak more about my dilemma as a translator (and postcolonialism in general) here: http://pastebin.com/LvuZV8k1
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