Why Cultural Appropriation Is Actually Completely Inappropriate

Why Cultural Appropriation Is Actually Completely Inappropriate

Just because we're magic, doesn't mean we're not real.
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We see it all the time. Whether it be a dashiki, different braid styles, or something as trivial as using gel to lay down baby hairs, culture appropriation is still something the United States struggles with. It occurs more often than we think and many times it can occur unknowingly. However, most occurrences are to seem more “in tune” with other cultures and promote a false sense of diversity. Minorities are constantly subjected to cultural appropriation primarily with clothing and the actions associated with the clothing.

The United States has a very loose definition of cultural appropriation. Mostly cultural appropriation is interchanged with cultural awareness. When wearing clothing of various ethnicities, it is seen more as cultural appreciation and awareness rather than appropriation.

I have been recently astonished to see a number of people culturally appropriating dashikis in the United States. Due to Black History Month, the US has created the perception everyone should be able to “celebrate” by wearing traditional African clothing and other items associated with black culture to show a false appreciation for black people and all they have contributed to the advancement of the United States. Many important historical black figures have been disregarded and instead of being celebrated this month, or at any point in the year, they are ignored and replaced with fashion trends.

Many wear dashikis merely for the pattern and not acknowledging its true cultural purpose. Dashikis are “resurfacing” to make people feel more in tune with African American culture A dashiki is a colorful garment that covers the top half of body, mainly worn in West Africa. Many African Americans began to wear dashiki’s in the 1960s to show black pride during the Civil Rights Movement. For African American’s dashikis were and still are and article of clothing that provides roots back to Africa. However, dashiki’s have lost their cultural appreciation and have been victims to appropriation. It has been created as a “new” fashion statement and a “trend” rather than a custom. Its roots from West Africa have been stripped and have been replaced with major fashion companies claiming to be “tribal” “hippie” and “vintage.”

I simply did not create this piece to shun Western civilization for their lack of cultural appreciation, but considering Black History Month, which many seems to renounce as a time to celebrate all black people in America, I felt it necessary to discuss an issue that many push aside. You have the freedom to wear any article of clothing you desire; however when it becomes an issue of cultural appropriation it must be understood that you cannot wear someone’s culture absentmindedly. We must be reminded: it is not a cool fashion statement, but someone’s culture. Take the time to appreciate others from different backgrounds and understand them before absentmindedly associating them as latest trends.

In the words of Jesse Williams, “We've been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we're done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil - black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is, though... the thing is that just because we're magic doesn't mean we're not real.”

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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I Used To Think Height Didn't Matter, But Maybe It Really Does

I've come to a conclusion

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I've had my fair share of boyfriends in the past. A common theme in my past choices of boys is that they were all an inch or two taller than me or the same height. Now, I am a little on the taller side considering that the average height for a woman in the US is 5 feet 4 inches tall. I'm not saying all the tall boys belong to all the tall girls and the shorter guys should stick with shorter girls, but I do think there might be something behind all this madness.

My reasoning for this is simple: I've been in an amazing relationship with someone who is fairly taller than me. Is this reason totally irrational and have no sort of concrete evidence for this argument? Yes, totally, but hear me out. All my other relationships haven't been this good or even had the potential to be this good. Is it a coincidence that they were all shorter? I think not!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with boys who are under 5'9''. There are some nice ones who probably don't talk to 5 other girls while you're dating, I just never happened to come across one back when I was in the game. I just find it interesting that I've been in a really healthy relationship for awhile now with someone who is over 6 feet tall.

Many amazing relationships have happened between all different types of people, no matter the height. It's just if you are having problems with boys who are under 6 feet, you may have some thinking to do.


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