This is a term that has confused me for far too long; if not for the Kardashians and my twitter feed, I would not even know that it existed; but thanks to my timeline, I still don’t really know what it is. So as most logically reasoning people do, I did some research. I must confess that the rest of the internet was not as helpful as I had expected, it took far too long for me to find a clear concise definition and so to save you the trouble of sifting through Google, I’m going to share my findings with you in what I hope is a simple and clear way.
Now I don’t care who you follow, cultural appropriation is NOT, and I repeat, is NOT whatever you saw on your timeline. Please, stop using twitter as your primary source of information! If you can’t cite it in your dissertation, think twice before you go around spitting out all these new words @HotNSexy87 has taught you: ignorance is not a good look honey.
(@HotNSexy87, if you existing and you’re reading, I mean no offence :P)
Before I go ahead and tell you what cultural appropriation is, I’ll tell you what it is not so we can avoid further confusion.
Believe it or not, these ridiculous statements are all things I have seen online. You may wish to take a deep breath to calm yourself after reading some of these statements.
Cultural Appropriation is not Beyoncé in the Hymn for the Weekend video
Cultural Appropriation is not Beyoncé wearing long blonde hair – leave King Bey alone people!
Cultural Appropriation is not black girls wearing weave/wigs
Cultural Appropriation is not black girls straightening their hair
Cultural Appropriation is not faux freckles (a trend taken way too far might I add)
Cultural Appropriation is not non-Italians eating Italian food
Cultural Appropriation is not watching a Japanese movie with the subtitles on!!!
Cultural Appropriation is not sharing your culture… Like, bruh
[Let us have a short moment of silence to commemorate the death of ignorance, please let this be the last time]
Cultural Appropriation is the exploitation of a culture originating and associated with a minority group by a more dominant group.
Cultural appropriation is when the big people steal from the little people and don’t give them any credit.
Please read it again. 10 times more if you have to.
As heart-breaking as this news may be, it might now have become slightly obvious to you that there are only a few select groups that could be guilty of committing cultural appropriation. *sips tea*. Moving on swiftly…
When Kim Kardashian started rocking cornrows, she may not have had the intention of appropriating black/African culture. But when her ‘boxer braids’ were praised by the same media that referred to those rocked by Ciara as ‘ghetto’, cultural appropriation became an issue. You’ve already seen the ever-growing list of controversy concerning the Kardashians/Jenners and so I won’t bore you with anymore.
The issue does not lie in simply mimicking a culture, the real problem is when you begin to celebrate a culture after claiming it as your own and disregard or even go as far as to ridicule those that created it. So if Coldplay want Beyonce to film a music video in India whilst wearing a bindi, she is free to do so; the same way Khloe Kardashian can go to Dubai and wear a hijab- the problem only arises when magazines decide that the Hijab is a new trend that Khloe K has started and begin to praise an item of clothing that so many (in this dominant group) have condemned. Understand?
To my readers who I trust are intelligent people, please educate those around you who are lacking in wisdom. Culture is a beautiful thing, it is what makes this world so diverse and interesting, it is to be embraced and celebrated by all, never to have its origins and creators neglected or disrespected.