'Tis the Season

'Tis the Season

...for cultural misappropriation...

Tis the season for cultural appropriation. Around this time of year, people get really upset about people dressing as characters, actors/actresses, and singers/rappers of other races. Honestly, I think many people call "misappropriation" at the wrong times. Unpopular opinion: let the little white girl dress up as Moana.

I know I'll receive a lot of backlash for this but before we get into it, I just want it to be known that this is completely my opinion. Don't try to prove me wrong or try to knock me, though I know someone will, here we go!

There was something in the news recently that said that some people are upset about little girls dressing as Moana. The only thing a little girl knows is that she loves Moana and that she's been "staring at the edge of the water long as she can remember".

Now I will say, labeling something culturally appropriate does make sense when someone is doing it with the purpose of being vacuous. It is true, though, that sometimes this does happen on Halloween. But I think when someone is paying tribute to someone of a different race or if the person in the costume is a 7-year-old little girl, the term shouldn't be used to break someone down.

I saw that Kim Kardashian dressed as Aaliyah to "pay tribute to her" and Twitter tore her to shreds. Figuratively, of course. Kim Kardashian and her family are always in the spotlight, somehow, some way. I feel like this isn't cultural appropriation, though. She tweeted right before she came out in all of her costumes, in which she dressed as Madonna and Cher, and said, "My Halloween theme this year is Icons! Musical legends!!! Paying homage to some of my faves!" This doesn't fall into the "cultural misappropriation" column. I could see if she chose to dress as Harriet Tubman or Rosa Parks, then I would label it more than a Halloween costume.

I think that cultural appropriation is when someone dresses as a "Mexican" or a black person or an Asian etc. etc. But if a child wants to dress as Pocahontas, let her dress like Pocahontas. If a little white, black, Asian, Latina girl wants to dress as Moana or Mulan, let her do it. She's not choosing to do blackface. Cultural appropriation. She didn't say, "Mom, I want to be Sojourner Truth for Halloween." What does a 7-year-old TRULY know about Sojourner Truth? Nothing much.

I'm just saying, we should learn the difference between paying tribute, dressing as your hero or your favorite Disney character and cultural appropriation. We should also learn not to hurt ourselves over everything that happens. Don't start a riot or a Twitter argument over a little kid, or a Kim Kardashian.

Start arguments over childhood obesity, gas prices, THE PRESIDENT, global warming, ya know, the things that matter. But when something is being culturally misappropriated then, by all means, rage on.

Cover Image Credit: Everyday Feminism

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37 Things Growing Up in the South Taught You

Where the tea is sweet, but the people are sweeter.

1. The art of small talking.
2. The importance of calling your momma.
3. The beauty of sweet tea.
4. How to use the term “ma'am” or “sir” (that is, use it as much as possible).
5. Real flowers are way better than fake flowers.
6. Sometimes you only have two seasons instead of four.
7. Fried chicken is the best kind of chicken.
8. When it comes to food, always go for seconds.
9. It is better to overdress for Church than underdress.
10. Word travels fast.
11. Lake days are better than beach days.
12. Handwritten letters never go out of style.
13. If a man doesn’t open the door for you on the first date, dump him.
14. If a man won’t meet your family after four dates, dump him.
15. If your family doesn’t like your boyfriend, dump him.
16. Your occupation doesn’t matter as long as you're happy.
17. But you should always make sure you can support your family.
18. Rocking chairs are by far the best kind of chairs.
19. Cracker Barrel is more than a restaurant, it's a lifestyle.
20. Just 'cause you are from Florida and it is in the south does not make you Southern.
21. High School football is a big deal.
22. If you have a hair dresser for more than three years, never change. Trust her and only her.
23. The kids in your Sunday school class in third grade are also in your graduating class.
24. Makeup doesn’t work in the summer.
25. Laying out is a hobby.
26. Moms get more into high school drama than high schoolers.
27. Sororities are a family affair.
28. You never know how many adults you know 'til its time to get recommendation letters for rush.
29. SEC is the best, no question.
30. You can't go wrong buying a girl Kendra Scotts.
31. People will refer to you by your last name.
32. Biscuits and gravy are bae.
33. Sadie Robertson is a role model.
34. If it is game day you should be dressed nice.
35. If you pass by a child's lemonade stand you better buy lemonade from her. You're supporting capitalism.
36. You are never too old to go home for just a weekend… or just a meal.
37. You can’t imagine living anywhere but the South.

Cover Image Credit: Grace Valentine

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senselessly calling people 'nazis' is ignorant and disrespectful

Perpetuating the ignorant and disrespectful rhetoric of labeling anyone who disagrees with you politically a 'Nazi' creates a carbon copy of 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf,' or 'The Boy Who Cried 'Nazi.'


Throughout all of history, the United States is arguably the freest country of the entire world. With democracy engraved into every word of its foundational documents, the United States is a nation where essential freedoms are automatically granted to you, and one of which is freedom of speech. Essentially this basic freedom ensures that an individual has a right to say whatever he or she wants; however, there are certain restrictions. For example, the "You can't shout fire in a crowded theatre" implies that one's freedom of speech extends as far as possible until it negatively impacts, or harms, another individual.

Setting aside history and instances of what is permissible under the First Amendment, words are important. Communication is key to connecting with others and expressing yourself beyond the thoughts within your head and the ideologies that you believe in. With this in mind, people tend to say awful things. As I described earlier, their words may be legal under the First Amendment, but they could still be immoral and unjustifiable.

International Socialist Review

A prime example of a horrible word to call someone is a "Nazi". I do not mean that using the word in itself to describe members of the Nazi Party from Germany or Neo-Nazis is wrong because that is simply a matter of calling someone by definition what they are. What I mean is senselessly labeling someone a "Nazi" without tangible proof that they are or support Nazi ideology.

We see the word "Nazi" thrown carelessly all over social media. In the world of politics, "Nazis" or "Nazi Germany" seems to be the most common comparison I hear to any sort of injustice or inequity that people express. And while these critics have every right to call people "Nazis", I have noticed that senselessly calling someone who disagrees with you a "Nazi" is both ignorant and disrespectful.

Let's start with ignorance. It is fair to assume that many people who are quick to call someone a "Nazi" possess very little or poor understanding of Nazi Germany; it is more reasonable to assume that those same people probably cannot correctly define fascism. Shouldn't you know what a fascist is before you go on a Twitter rant about how America is turning into Nazi Germany? I have seen too many instances where one compares someone else to a "Nazi" yet never mentions proof or a historically accurate comparison to actual historical events.

Lucky for those who forgot learning about World War II in their high-school American History class, they can flock to the library, search Amazon, or even pull up Google on their computers to re-educate themselves on what Nazi Germany actually was rather than what they think it was like.

Along with searching the Internet for factual information, visit a museum. The Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. contains the most heart-wrenching and intellectually stimulating exhibits that detail the rise of Nazi Germany to the Holocaust to the establishment of Israel after World War II. As someone who has visited this museum, I remember leaving in complete silence; both my heart and my mind were emotionally changed as I walked throughout the museum in memoriam of the victims of this horrific time in history.

Additionally, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Israel is one of the most emotional places I have ever been to. Not only do the exhibits there inform you with knowledge but also provide emotional testimonies from actual Holocaust survivors, which leave you in a mindful state of reverence as you leave.

Time Out

Moreover, if you really want to know what a "Nazi" is, what the "Nazis" did, and feel the weight of their utter barbarism, visit a concentration camp. Nearly two years ago, I walked through the gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration, or death, camp, and writing this even gives me goosebumps. I cannot explain what I felt like as I walked the perimeter of the camp, overlooking the foundations of the barracks, witnessing the remnants of the gas chambers, seeing the barbed wires that used to trap prisoners within its haunting walls. I cannot put into words what it feels like to walk the perky, rock ground in my sneakers, knowing that millions of people were forced to walk barefoot in this same exact spot. Although this thought still sends chills down my spine, I know that visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau gave me a sort of mindfulness about what "Nazis" are and how they treated people.

Juliana Cosenza

With that mindfulness, I knew that throwing around the word "Nazi" like some childish insult was disrespectful to those who actually experienced Nazi Germany in their lifetime. Think about the Holocaust survivors, about the Holocaust victims, about those who experienced Nazi Germany through their own eyes. While the number of people who actually experienced fascism in Germany decreasing every year, we cannot forget their stories. While respecting the survivors and remembering the victims, we need to realize, as a society, that common comparisons to Nazi Germany are not only disrespectful to them but also inappropriate. "Nazi" should not be our go-to response to something we disagree with. Swastikas should not be symbols that are commonly drawn and referenced to. Holocaust jokes are not something that we should ever think as comedic.

If people keep calling each other "Nazis", how will we be able to know when an actual Neo-Nazi or another awful totalitarian dictator comes to power on our global stage? Perpetuating the ignorant and disrespectful rhetoric of labeling anyone who disagrees with you politically a "Nazi" creates a carbon copy of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", or "The Boy Who Cried 'Nazi'"

While freedom of speech is a necessary privilege, it is also important to utilize that privilege correctly and respectfully. By becoming mindful, in a sense maybe even "woke", about the historical background about the rise of fascism, Nazi Germany, and the effects of the Holocaust, maybe we can begin to have intellectual conversations about these serious topics rather than assuming anyone who disagrees with you is a "Nazi".

Cover Image Credit:

Juliana Cosenza

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