Cultural Appropriation-Where is the line?

It has been said that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, however when it comes to racial or cultural appropriation-where is the line? Is it wrong of me to think that the line itself is so inconsistent that the term “cultural appropriation” is enough to warrant an eye roll?

This is my humble opinion. I know some will agree and some will not. Please do not misunderstand my honestly for ignorance. I am well aware of the trials and suffering that other races have gone through in our country and in the world. But this needs to be said.

Celebrity examples of racial appropriation:

 

 

 

 

 

 

All four of these extremely popular artists have been accused of cultural appropriation. Now, please don’t get me wrong, they look wild, but if Katy Perry wants to wear a grill with her Cleopatra head dress, then just let her. Kylie Jenner doesn’t need to wear a do-rag, but if she wants to, isn’t that just her expressing creative style?

It doesn’t have have to be something they are stealing; it is imitation of a culture that is not their own. Just like Beyonce’s Indian themed Coldplay music video or how Bruno Mars borrows sounds from old blues and r&b artists. They admire that style, so they create their own interpretation of it.

Think about this, pictured with Kylie is Jordyn Woods, a social media fashion star and Kardashian friend. Her look often includes bleach blond hair. What about Beyonce’s signature gold locks? That is not their “cultural style”. Yet, they admire the look. I have never heard a black woman accused of racial appropriation, because they CHOSE to wear their hair in long blond curls. (Thankfully)

We live in AMERICA! We are blessed to live in the most free country in the world. You may not feel free to do whatever you want, because you shouldn’t, but you are free . You probably won’t always be treated fairly, but you are free. You may struggle with finding income, housing, childcare, and other things essential to our quality of life, but above all else we are free. This is a pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps country!

We can practice whatever religion we chose, we can go to the college we chose, we can work were we chose, and we should be able to wear what we chose(respectfully), without being labeled racist or ignorant. It takes work to be close to God, to go to a good school, to get a good job. What we wear is an expression of ourselves and all that hard work that we’ve had to put into our lives. Why would we let someone tell us what we can and can’t wear?

When school was segregated and we treated black people like they shouldn’t be a part of what white people had, that was wrong! We are still recovering from the long history of segregation in this country. Wounds that are still fresh and visible to many people. So, why continue to separate us by skin color? Why say you are white, you can’t wear that? Why say you are mixed, you can’t do that? You can’t say that. You can’t sing that. WHY!?

I’m speaking for everyone. I know that minorities are treated differently. I know the words associated with those minorities. I’m talking about the white guy that grew up in the projects with a black step dad. I’m talking about his mom who is married to a black man. I’m talking about the kids standing on a street corner or an eight year old who had a Japanese themed tea party for her birthday.

I’m talking about the kid who worked hard in school, was the first in his family to go to college, broke the cycle of poverty, and even though he still gets labeled as black by the cops, he has been told his whole life that he “acts white”. It doesn’t have to be like that.

Stereotypes still exist, but we are all free Americans, just trying play a hand with the cards we were dealt. We all have the opportunity to improve our lives, and the lives of the people around us. We have to end the classifications and start acting like we are equal.

Top three definitions of Racial or Cultural Appropriation from a Google search

Wikipedia

Cultural Appropriation-a concept in sociology dealing with the adoption of the elements of a minority culture by members of the dominant culture. It is distinguished from equal cultural exchange due to the presence of a colonial element and imbalance of power. Cultural appropriation is often portrayed as harmful in contemporary cultures, and is claimed to be a violation of the collective intellectual property rights of the originating, minority cultures, notably indigenous cultures and those living under colonial rule. Often unavoidable when multiple cultures come together, cultural appropriation can include using other cultures’ cultural and religious traditions, fashion, symbols, language, and songs.

Urban Dictionary

Cultural Appropriation-The ridiculous notion that being of a different culture or race(especially white) means that you are not allowed to adopt things from other cultures. This does nothing but support segregation and hinder progress in the world. All it serves to do is promote segregation and racism.

Cambridge Dictionary

Cultural Appropriation-the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture.

Conclusion:

  1. Everyone in the free world is entitled to their own artistic expressions, including respectfully borrowing from other cultures, and should not be judged or labeled because of that.
  2. If the goal is for everyone to be treated equally, all sides have to stop the race war culture and comments and start respecting one another.
  3. By definition, cultural appropriation exists when one race has power over the other, so in a world where all races are equal (all races respect each other), borrowing from other cultures would not be seen as offensive, but as “equal cultural exchange”.

If you are still reading this, I’m assuming you know already, but I genuinely wish that we could all be and feel equal to one another. I realize that isn’t always the case, but we have to stop the behavior that perpetuates that cycle. WE ALL DO. Love you guys. Feel free to comment your thoughts below!

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