I feel the need to speak about cultural appropriation because I have actually had a positive experience when it comes to celebrating my culture with others from different backgrounds.
I was lucky enough to grow up with people from many races who think about how to embrace one another's distinct culture.
We often see others exploring the fashion or accessories of other cultures. That gets called "cultural appropriation", and people often say there is a need for an apology, where I don't think there is one.
For me, it's different if someone takes an aspect of my culture and uses their platform to mute its meaning. Take for example when Kim Kardashian developed her "Kimono" shape-wear brand. She even received a personal letter from the mayor of Kyoto!
Other than the standard meaning of cultural appropriation, I also believe it should not be used to discriminate against others from respecting your culture or embracing it in their own way.
I remember reading hateful comments made towards an influencer for wearing a sari because she didn't look Indian.
Plot twist, she was Indian — but, my opinion is that, so what if she wasn't? Her caption was describing the beauty of the sari and how much the experience of wearing one meant to her.
I was recently in a meeting on diversity and could sense the fear some non-minority writers felt about writing about diversity and inclusivity. It reminded me of my own best friends who've hesitated to tell me how much they like my ethnic wear, wondering if they said it in a respectful way.
Why are my friends scared to speak about my culture?
Regardless, I've come across strangers who aren't fearful to rave about how much they love certain Gods in my religion. There is a giant statue of Ganesha in my foyer, and people love telling me about the memories the statue sparks of their spiritual retreats on their journey to enlightenment.
They found the deity of Ganesha to bring them so much peace of mind.
Why would I ever feel the need to take away people's peace of mind if my culture helped them achieve serenity?
We are in an apocalyptic era of change and I know this transition will take time. We are enthusiastically participating in methods of social justice in the way our various communities are working.
We are constantly incorporating new ways of respecting, considering and including one another for our differences.
Personally, I find this time to be not only very important but extremely exciting.