Cultural Appropriation Or Cultural Appreciation?

Cultural Appropriation Or Cultural Appreciation?

How cultural appropriation is being taken out of context.

Throughout the past few years there has been an increasing debate about cultural appropriation—what does it mean and why is it wrong? I never entered that debate until a few weeks ago when I was in Wal-Mart. A woman came up to me and told me that I was “appropriating black culture” because my curls were a little wild and resembled an afro. What that lady didn’t know by just looking at my skin color is that I am mixed and that I am of Jamaican heritage. This prompted me to start looking into the debate on cultural appropriation, and why that term has started to lose its value due to overuse.

Cultural appropriation essentially means that people should not adopt styles or elements of another culture that isn’t their own because some elements are sacred to that culture specifically. Recently, many celebrities such as Kylie Jenner and Khloe Kardashian have come under fire for appropriating black culture. Even Cosmopolitan magazine has been in the spotlight for a video on how to create “Mohawk Braids” which are essentially cornrows.

The key to realizing whether you are appropriating a culture or not is to question your motives. Are you wearing the headdress because it is cute and you want to show it off on your Instagram, or do you have ties to Native culture? Is that bindi you’re wearing because you are Hindu or Jain, or is it because everyone at festivals wears them and you just cannot be the only one without one? If it is something sacred to another culture, and you have no ties to that culture, don’t wear it. However, if you wear it with ties to a specific culture and someone questions you, do not be afraid to tell them your history and shut them down because you do not have to deal with ignorance.

Cover Image Credit: Shsrattler

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28 Urban Slang Terms Every New Yorker Knows

It's dead ass mad brick out today.

The New York City youth is greatly influenced by hip-hop culture, and hip-hop culture is continuously influenced by New York City. With the colorful expressions found in both hip-hop and the streets of New York, colorful language is inevitable. The truth is, you're not a real New Yorker if you've never heard these terms before.

1. Whack = (adj) used to describe something that is appalling in nature

"That's whack!"

2. Grill = (v) to stare, usually impolitely; to give a dirty look

"Dude stop grilling my girlfriend, I know her spray tan looks whack."

3. To front/Fronting = (v) to put on a façade; acting like you are something that you are not.

"Stop fronting like you own the place."

4. Cop = (v) to buy

"I'm about to cop some chips, you want some?"

5. Catch these hands = phrase used to initiate a fight

"If that girl keeps grilling me she can catch these hands."

Variations: throw these hands; throw hands; catch this fade

6. Crusty = (adj) used to describe someone who is dirty or trashy

"Girl, did you shower today? Your hair is looking all types of musty, dusty, and crusty."

Synonyms: musty; dusty

7. Lit = (adj) used to describe someone or something that is amazing in every sense

Variations: litty

8. Mad = (adv) very

"Stay away from her, bro. She has mad problems."

Synonyms: dumb; OD; stupid

9. Dumb = (adv) extremely

"This party is dumb lit."

Synonyms: mad; OD; stupid

10. Brick = (adj) very cold

"Damn, it's mad brick out."

11. Tight = (v) to be upset

"Stop running your fingers through my hair; you're getting me dumb tight."

12. Thirsty = (adj) desperate; (n) someone who is desperate

"I didn't tag you in my photo because I don't want any thirsties following you."

Variations: thirsties (n)

13. Buggin' = freaking out; acting up

"My mom just asked me to clean all the dishes even though it's not my turn. She's buggin."

Synonyms: wylin'/wildin'

14. Son = (n) a good friend

"Of course I know him, that's my son!"

Synonyms: B

15. B = (n) a good friend

"What's good, B?"

16. Sus = shady or false

*Short for "suspect" or "suspicious"

"That girl is mad sus for looking at me like that."

17. Dead ass = (adj) seriously

"You're dead ass getting me tight, B."

*Could also be used as follows:

"Dead ass?" = Are you serious?

"Dead ass!" = Yes.

18. Guap = (n) money

"Okay, this to all of my enemies that seeing me gettin' guap right now." -- Big Sean

Synonyms: Mulah; dough; casheesh

19. Grimey = (adj) used to describe a back-stabber

"I'm telling you, bro. He's mad grimey, don't trust him."

20. You woulda thought = a more exciting way to say "no"

"You woulda thought I was going to let you use my laptop to log on to your shady-ass websites."

21. OD/Ohdee/Odee = (adj) excessive; an abbreviation for "over-doing"

"Man, my professor just assigned OD work on BlackBoard."

Synonyms: mad; dumb

22. Wylin'/Wildin' = out of control

"That girl was wildin' last night when she threatened to throw hands at you for no reason."

Synonyms: buggin'

23. Facts = (adj) something that is rooted in truth

"That's a fact, B."

Synonyms: true

24. Snuff = (v) to punch

"I should've never threatened to throw hands. He straight up snuffed me in the throat."

Synonyms: rock

25. Wavy = (adj) used to describe something that is cool or nice

"I’m so wavy in the turbo Porsche, she so wavy in the new Mercedes" -- Ty Dolla $ign

Synonyms: dope, lit

26. Kicks = (n) sneakers

"Where'd you cop those kicks from?"

27. Beef = (n) having a fight or holding a grudge against another person or group of people

"Tommy told me you guys have beef."

28. Ice = (n) jewelry

"Ice on my neck cost me 10 times 3." -- D.R.A.M.

Variations: icy (adj)

Cover Image Credit: BKNPK

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Hey, White People, 'Politically Correct' Speak Got You Down? Maybe It's Your Privilege Speaking

That pool of words that you've been relaxing in, the ones that you think make you look cool may actually be a product of that privilege.


If you're having trouble or are getting annoyed by the movement in favor of political correctness, I have a thought for you to consider — it's not up to you.

Look, I am a white, middle class, cisgender female, but none of that makes it okay for me to decide what is or is not offensive to someone else. Especially someone who may not share the same demographics that I represent.

I don't use the word "gay" as a synonym for lame or effeminate.
I don't use the n-word, yes that means in certain songs I stop singing when it's used.
I don't say the c-word, though it's been used on me.

I try to be as mindful as I can with my words because words are important. Words are my life. Words build nations and incite wars.

Words have the power to unite us just as much as they can divide us.

So, the n-word may not be offensive to some of the black people you know or even to you personally, but that doesn't make it okay for you to appropriate it. That word has a history that may not be yours to forgive.

And just so you know, the option that you have to ignore the offensive nature of these words, that's privilege. Privilege is the luxury of ignorance.

So, that pool of words that you've been relaxing in, the ones that you think make you look cool may actually be a product of that privilege.

And hey, if not using those words stresses you out and hurts your vocabulary, think about it this way: according to Merriam-Webster, there are about 470,000 words in the English language. That is a huge amount of words.

A HUGE amount of words.

And if you subtract all the offensive ones, I bet you would still have over 400,000 to choose from. That is still a crazy number of words you could be using instead.

And if it helps you understand — think about things that you find offensive and how much it annoys or offends you when people are not considerate of that.

My point is, and hold your excuses for the end please, that you don't get a say. You don't get to determine what is or isn't offensive to someone else. You just don't.

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