As years have progressed, society has strived to be more diversified. By doing that in some ways, boundaries have been crossed. The controversial topic of culture appropriation has surfaced more and more lately. If you’re not familiar with the topic, here is the google definition and a few pictures;
“Cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of the elements of one culture by members of another culture. … Cultural elements which may have deep meaning to the original culture may be reduced to “exotic” fashion by those from the dominant culture.”
Most people dont see the problem with culture appropriation and that is the issue. To you, you may not see the big deal because you believe you’re “sharing the culture” but that is not the case at all.
Culture appropriation is a form of racism and extremely offensive and heres the main reason why:
- It shows apprecation for the culture itsself but not the people of this culture
As a little kid, I could relate to this. Growing up in a predominately white town, all my classmates were white. I would come to school with braids, twists and assorment of different styles attributed to my culture and I suffered from it. I was teased, bullied, people would even pull at my hair. But years later, these same girls want the style because it is now “in fashion”. Most foods, art and music originate from black culture yet we are discriminated against daily in society. People can show appreciation and love to the many trends we create but have no respect to our lives.
2. It exploits marginalized people
This type of “borrowing” from cultures is toxic and robs minority groups of the credit they deserve. Most art and musics forms that are considered popular originate from minority groups, but are then associated with members of the dominant group (i.e white people). They are then deemed “innovative” and “edgy” while the disadvantaged group they are taking from face the backlash of negative stereotypes that imply lacking intelligence and creativity. Often times, by participating in culture appropriation you are often reinforcing stereotypes about minority groups.
Culture appropriation is degrading and a form of racism no matter the intention. It is important that people educate themselves on this and create a respectful, society. In order to achieve this we need open discussion but also it is also up to you to educate yourselves on these things. If a minority group expresses their opinion on the way their culture/race is being treated, it is not up to you to decide if they are right or not.