'Tis the Season

'Tis the Season

...for cultural misappropriation...
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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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Why Growing Up In Lynn Massachussetts Made Me Racially Color Blind

One girl's story about how her city made her realize how important diversity truly is.
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When I was in second grade at Hood Elementary School our teacher asked us to look at our classmates next to us and write down something that we all have in common. While everyone seemed to be writing down the same basic ideas, such as parents, clothes, fingers, toes, etc.., I wrote down "We all have hearts." As the teacher read my answer aloud, she was blown away and all my classmates sitting next to me came up and hugged me. Even at such a young age in such a diverse classroom, we all recognized the inside of a person's heart is way more important than how they look on the outside.

The city of Lynn, Massachusetts is known for its rare, beautiful diversity. I had the privilege of growing up there and honestly I would not have wanted to be raised anywhere else. The unique acceptance of such diversity in a big city is the reason I am the woman I am today. When I first meet someone, I see no color. If I am judging someone, I am not judging their race, their clothes, or how they look but I am judging how they talk to me and how they treat others around them.

Growing up in Lynn gives you the advantage of viewing people inside out, race having no value in how you see a person. The melting pot that is my group of friends has truly given me such insight on how different cultures live and celebrate their lives. Yes, I am a white girl who knows how to Bachata, a specific Spanish dance, and I thank diversity for that. Even at only 20 years old, I feel like I have lived a lifetime due to all of the different cultures I have been able to embrace while living in Lynn. I have seen strangers, and even friends my age experience all different walks of life. From the bottom end of the spectrum on Union and Essex street, to the highest end moving toward Ward 1, I have seen it all.

As I moved away from Lynn and into the spectacular city of Boston, I realized something. Making roommates with strangers from towns I had never heard of before made me realize how much I missed Lynn. I have met people here in the city who never even had a black person in their school and when I try to converse with them about race or politics they are so one-sided because they have only ever seen one side. I feel sorry for them because they were never able to experience all the amazing people and cultures I have been able to experience. They have never gone to a party with Spanish, Cambodian and Jamaican music playing all at the same time. They have never tried a pastellito. They have never danced Bachata. They have never seen how truly beautiful diversity really is.

In the wake of everything going on in our country lately between Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter, I ask you to stop, take a second and picture the other side. Take your one-sided mind and open your eyes because the only way we can save ourselves from this is to be unified. Diversity is beautiful, and you are, too.

Cover Image Credit: ushersnewlook

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Interviewing As An Asian-American Makes A Difference In What Jobs I Get

The subtle difference that others wouldn't notice.

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Studies have shown that interviewers subconsciously decide whether to hire you within seconds of meeting you, and will spend the rest of the interview justifying in their mind the decision that they've already made. A study by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov found it takes a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger, and any time after doesn't significantly alter their impressions.

This means that when an interviewer first meets you, they will decide very fast whether to hire you from what they see. These first impressions include race, clothing, hygiene, your handshake, and your voice. They may use predetermined impressions and stereotypes to unconsciously make assumptions about who you are, and whether they like you.

I'm a first semester senior in college right now, meaning I'm in the midst of a ton of job interviews. Sitting in the waiting room for an interview, I will grow increasingly self-conscious as I size up the other candidates. Typically, I'm one of the minority races, a small Asian female. Looking around the waiting room, I'll see a lot of taller, bigger, and stronger-looking candidates. The thought always crosses that if I were the recruiter, even I would pick the other candidates who just look like a stronger image.

I didn't want to believe it at first, but the more jobs I have and job interviews I do, the more I believe the strong weight that race has on a job decision. I recently noticed that on my resume, I have eight jobs listed under my experiences, and all of them involved either an Asian boss, Asian location, or several Asian co-workers. However, the vast majority of jobs I apply for have none of the above. The chances of this happening point to race being a more-than-significant factor in whether I get a job offer.

For the most part, recruiters likely don't even notice they place that much weight on first impressions and appearances. It's something built into our brains that we don't even realize. Not much can change in this arena from the recruiter side - for me, noticing this has heightened my attention on a first impression. Groom as best as I can, sit as tall as I can, smile and make the most eye-contact I can.

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