'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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Starbucks Corrects Its Wrongs In Light Of Recent Racial Bias Issue

All stores in the U.S. will be closed on May 29th to perform racial bias training.

Recently, a video of two African-American men being arrested in their local Starbucks for simply standing and waiting for their friends in the lobby/seating area surfaced on the internet. Since this situation was brought to light, there has been an uproar of public outrage focused on the blatant racial bias these men were faced with. Even Starbucks itself had something to say about it.

For many African-American citizens, this situation is all too common. Being racially profiled is not a thing of the past and more than just these two men have experienced it. The ACLU writes about the experiences of citizens being racially profiled, stating,

"We rely on the police to protect us from harm and promote fairness and justice in our communities. But racial profiling has led countless people to live in fear, casting entire communities as suspect simply because of what they look like, where they come from, or what religion they adhere to."

In light of the recent incident at a Philadelphia Starbucks, many fans expressed outrage in the comments section of this post, but Starbucks responded to almost every viral, angry comment:

However, in the midst all of the outraged comments were fans who appreciated the message that Starbucks was trying to send:

Despite the mixed reviews on Starbucks' course of action, the company is standing strong in their choice to address the issue and correct it.

People come to Starbucks stores to drink coffee, hang out, talk with their friends, and have a good time. It is absurd that these two men were escorted out and arrested for doing just that. I, personally, have done that same thing and have never once been asked to leave.

As a country, we need to think about the way we treat people of color and other minorities. It is a shame that this kind of public outcry had to happen to bring racial profiling to our attention. People are treated unfairly for no reason other than the color of their skin every day.

Way to go, Starbucks.

Thank you for recognizing that this was not an isolated incident and that racial profiling happens all the time. Thank you for taking the time to publicly announce that you are willing to go through the proper training with your employees to ensure that it doesn't happen ever again. But most of all, thank you for making a statement to the rest of the nation and the world about what kind of company you are, what kind of people you represent, and that racial injustice will not be tolerated.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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7 Modern Civil Rights Activists We Should Appreciate

Voices that are shaping our generation.

Although Black History Month has come to a reluctant end, I think it is appropriate that we still highlight the prominent leaders and figures of our current generation that are following the steps of the past GOAT’s to pave an easier path from African American’s in the future and bringing light to social injustices.

These great minds will eventually shape our future generations, and lead our country to true equality. They provide our dark world seemingly full of hate, malice, and not enough love with hope and inspiration. And while challenging the overwhelming adversity from nay-sayers and other supporters that oppose any forward-thinking movement that seeks to advance the entire African American community, these individuals are ruthless in their approach to assure that justice is served.

These seven activists have a lot to prove and have already impacted masses on a global level. It is only right to celebrate them and their valiant efforts.

1. Jesse Williams

This actor from Grey’s Anatomy is more than just a pretty face and pair of blue eyes. Along with protesting the heinous acts of police brutality, this man sits on the board of directors for the “Advancement Project” which is a nonprofit founded by civil-rights attorneys, dedicated to racial justice issues. He’s also produced the documentary, “Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement.”

2. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi

A fearless and brave young woman who was arrested in South Carolina for removing the Confederate flag from a Confederate monument at the Statehouse. During this time, much controversy rose about the Confederate flag being a symbol of racism, while others thought of it as a symbol of victory over war. Nonetheless, Miss Newsome was not having it.

3. “Black Twitter”

Although not a person, the Black community on Twitter is highly supportive of each other, and they work together to expose racists, get them fired, and basically cope with each other in these trying times when the media means to expose and propagandize African Americans as inhumane.

4. Quanell X

Despite the derogatory statements about him, he is the leader of the New Black Panther party in Houston, TX. He is renowned for his faceoffs with white supremacists on Fox 26 News.

5. Michelle Alexander

While there are those who are more radical in their approach for reform, Alexander, a scholar and civil rights lawyer has written a book, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness.” This book, which is about the alarming numbers of African Americans in jail, has become the Bible for modern civil rights activists and is a touchstone for activists on the rise.

6. Colin Kaepernick

We could never forget this former 49er quarterback who sparked the #TakeAKnee protest. During his career, Kaepernick refused to stand during the National Anthem because he did not believe in priding a country that ultimately despises and systematically abuses African Americans. Since being a free agent, Kaepernick has inspired many athletes to stand (or not to stand) for what they believe in.

7. Kendrick Lamar

It’s quite evident that this rapper’s striking lyrics such as “DNA” and “Alright” provoke the struggle and truth behind Black America. Lamar’s bold lyrics and activism in the black community provide hope awaken young African American’s to own their identity and begin to seek and enforce radical change of the system.

These are few of the many activists that stream from many walks of life and inspire Black America in their own, very unique way. Yet, these individuals continue to work outside of Black History Month to achieve racial equality every single day.

Cover Image Credit: Andy Omvik

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