Cultural Appropriation

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It has become a norm for people of color such as myself to have to deal with. From Teen Vogue to girls on the street, everybody does it and nobody notices. It all started back in the day when the caucasian European population developed an egotistical attitude called Eurocentrism. This meant they actually believed that they were better than all other races. All other religions or races were underdeveloped and inferior ("Eurocentrism").

 

This attitude might not be as prevalent in the present but it definitely is still there. If you thought they could not get more self-centered, buckle in.


People used guns, men and overall power to steal the land, property, freedom and dignity of those who did not fit their standards or who they believed were lesser than them. This was mostly by race. The Europeans did  all this and thought they did no wrong in the eyes of god. They believed he or she had blessed them with metals to use with the sole purpose to overthrow the others, making them think they were the “chosen ones”(Matthijs).


Now we are told that all races are the same and treat them equally, but society fails to do so without even being aware of it. Your race determines your life and there is no denying it even now. You say you care and respect our culture but never take it in regard when you are “expressing” yourselves, or is that just the only pathetic excuse you can come up with? My culture is not your trend or your way of expression. Undermining our struggle and our religion and only picking and choosing whatever makes you feel fashionable, cool or good for a time and then proceeding to throw it away when it's unfashionable, proves your complete disregard for culture. While in California, I saw a white lady in her early twenties with a bindi on her forehead. I walked up to her and asked her if she knew what it meant. She replied by saying that it was a new boho trend she saw all the celebrities wearing. Not once did she even mention it’s Indian or Egyptian origin. Sure you can wear a bindi or henna ( which was actually called mehendi before you made it your own) but also try to put up with jokes about your skin,the hair on your body, the racist jabs at your cuisine and try not to get mad when people say you are illiterate and out of place when wearing your “ethnic garb” outside. Why stop at that? Also try wearing a turban, lacha and a kurta in public while white people think you are weird or laugh at you because they think you look out of place or funny. If you are to try something new, try to understand the background, the politics and the reasons behind our culture. Do not just stand in front of a statue or take a picture of your henna because it is pretty and post it on instagram. This is turning our culture into trends.


The sadder thing is that it gets even worse with other ethnicities which come from African or Native American descent. African descendants are told that their hair does not meet to the European beauty standards so in turn it is not beautiful. Once a white person uses their styles it is dubbed cool or a “new” trend and is no longer seen as a disgrace, not only by white people but people of many races.  “But, now the mainstream media has found Senegalese twists, and their image doesn’t look like my reflection. Teen Vogue featured them as a new trend with a spread only showing white and fair skinned models” said Maisha Z. Johnson while talking about the appropriation of black culture in her article called “ 6 Ways You Harm Me When You Appropriate Black Culture - And How to Appreciate It Instead”(Johnson).Why can’t we appreciate the culture from the people who have done this not just for the purposes of instagram? Oh right because society still has white privileges and dominance. We as a society need to be aware and respectful of each other’s cultures and struggles. Next time you think of wearing a bindi or dreadlocks maybe stop and think about what that means for the culture it comes from and if you are deadset on doing so, don’t only learn what you want to learn or know about the culture, learn about its struggles too. When seeing these ads with dominantly white models, think about the people of the culture it comes from. If we keep looking up to these magazines as fashion icons, they are not going to stop. They know it is the only way you will like the style. Once a person of superiority does it because they take it as a new style you will do anything to be like them. You might not think they are superior but, they have colonized so many countries that it is engraved in your mind without you even knowing it and the only way to get rid of it is to be aware. Be aware of the masses of people you hurt and the way you make them feel when you support such a pathetic, degrading and hurtful mindset.
You could say, “Oh, it is just hair get over it.” or “They are just appreciating your culture!” ,but these women and men were discriminated against their culture until, a Caucasian person made it cool that is. Why was their no appreciation of it until then? Selective appreciation of our culture is not appreciation, it is being a selfish freeloader. If you take all the struggles that the originating culture faces, sure you can wear it. If to you it is just some accessory used only to convey a certain style or look,  do us all a favour and stay away from it.

 

 

WORKS CITED
Race and ethnicity." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 3 Feb. 2017. Accessed 13 Mar. 2017.
Eurocentrism - Examples, Twentieth-century Critics Of Eurocentrism, Eurocentrism,
Johnson, Maisha Z. "6 Ways You Harm Me When You Appropriate Black Culture – And How to Appreciate It Instead." Everyday Feminism. N.p., 24 Jan. 2016. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.
"Unthinking Eurocentrism." Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.
Krul, Matthijs. "Eurocentric History and Imperialism." Notes Commentaries. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.
"Eurocentrism." New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. . Encyclopedia. 14 Mar. 2017.






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