This isn’t going to be a post where I educate you on cultural appropriation and what it is because I’ve written about it before, and in all honesty if you don’t know what it is, you’re living under a great rock. This is going to be a post about why it pisses me off because to be frank people keep doing it and I need to rant today.
It pisses me off for so many reasons, I grew up Somali during a time where we weren’t considered a beautiful race. Black women in general were looked down upon and Somalis were just not considered to be cute, I know times have now changed but there are elements of our features we grew up with that we got picked on for. Our hair, our skin colour, our culture, our clothes, our lips, our bodies, our style, our heritage – everything was criticised and we just dealt with it.
Now white girls everywhere are just using aspects of our culture and are being praised for it and I think we’re allowed to be pissed off for it. Stop making yourself darker for the clout when those of us living with the skin are racially profiled and deal with racism (I’m considered light skin so I know I have a point of privelege as well). Our lips were considered to be ‘blow job lips’ and now everyone everywhere are getting lip fillers, now that isn’t cultural appropriation but just another example of a feature that is considered ugly on us, but beautiful on them.
Black women everywhere find that their hair is criticised for their hair, whether it’s natural, in a wig, in braids, in dreads, they are policed by everyone everywhere and in a lot of cases are forced to change it for employment or school. So it pisses me off when white girls do the same and are seen as edgy and cool and trend setters, they’re not given any negative connotations when wearing our culture as an accessory but we’re stigmatised for doing the same.
We’re seen as messy when they’re seen as edgy.
We’re seen as aggressive when they’re seen as cute and different.
We’re seen as sassy when they’re seen as assertive.
So don’t come here, take our culture without giving us credit and act pissed off because we’re criticising you. We’re policed from the moment of our birth and taught to assimilate out of fear of being attacked. We live a life of being racially profiled in our everyday life, so when you steal our culture and benefit off of it – we can be pissed off.
Don’t get me wrong the anger is still the same when they do the same to Asian women as well. I’m not Asian but I have many friends and honestly I feel their anger. White women are praised for wearing bindi’s and sari’s and asian clothing, when Asian women themself are looked down upon for embracing their own culture.
I recognise there is cultural appreciation – but what I’ve described is not it. So stop it and spend more time learning about our history and talking to us about it!
Thank you for listening to my TED talk.