I feel like in 2019 we’ve now reached the point where we can finally (successfully) out people for cultural appropriation without getting a long rant from someone who clearly doesn’t understand what the concept is. I want to start this post with this one note – cultural appreciation is different to appropriating, appreciation means respect is involved, appropriation is just insulting.
There was a time when we all stayed silent through the white people wearing dreadlocks, kimonos and bindis, we just lacked the voice and the means to really explain why cultural appropriation is an issue. Now I could go on to explain in depth about what it is, and define it, but this is more of a rant then an explanation.
The reason why cultural appropriation pisses me off is because our cultural attire on us is seen as urban, a lack of assimilation and ultimately seen in a negative light. But when a white girl/boy wears out clothes or our hair styles it’s seen as a fashion choice, it’s seen as edgy and fresh and it’s also seen in a more positive and free light.
Do you see what the problem is? If you don’t, reread that last paragraph please. Honestly, the different in a black girl wearing dreads and a white girl wearing dreads is baffling. Or how bindi’s have become a Coachella fashion trend, when women in South Asia have been wearing it for cultural reason for centuries.
Stop wearing our culture like costumes to take on and take off at the snap of a finger. Not only is it an insult, but a lot of people who do this also demean those who wear their cultural attire out in the open. We’ve all either seen it or experienced it, but there have been many people who have experienced hostility when out and about for just having browner skin, but it’s more targeted when you wear your cultures clothing out in the harsh public.
I think it’s the ignorance to peoples responses that piss me off the most, when they ask ‘why is it such a big deal?’. Well it’s a big deal because a lot of us have a shit ton of pressure to assimilate to the wider culture, and it’s become a point of pride and growth when we’re actually able to embrace where we come from out there. So when someone wears it as a halloween costume or a festival attire to be edgy, it’s like a slap across the face. Especially since they haven’t had the experience of being an ‘other’, so they don’t see how offensive it is.
I’m going to end my rant here, but obviously #notallwhitepeople, but also if your first response to this is to say that, then you’re part of the problem. 🙂