hear the phrase cultural appropriation, there are usually two
reactions. Some react with an annoyed response thinking it is just
another social justice warrior who spends too much valuable time on
Tumblr trying to find something to complain about and others have
no idea what cultural appropriation is or the social implications
attached to it. However, cultural appropriation is not simply a
phrase used by those who are heavily affiliated with Tumblr.
Cultural appropriation is when the
someone is exploited and disrespected by someone of another
background; this can include speech, dress, and sacred traditions.
This is not to be confused with cultural exchange, which is
respectful participation in another culture or educating
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Across the African diaspora hair is an important part of life and because it is so vastly different from other races, it has to be maintained differently. Maintenance includes cornrows, dreadlocks, twists, and various sorts of braids if not worn in the natural texture. For years when a woman wore cornrows she was considered ghetto and unprofessional. However, when nonblack women such as the Kardashians recently began wearing cornrows or modify their hair into afros or dreadlocks, it is considered edgy and socially acceptable. These women are given praise for starting new trends that have existed for years; meanwhile the originators have been denied access to their own culture without criticism from outsiders. Hair might not sound like a colossal issue, but there are teenage girls protesting in Pretoria, South Africa to wear their hair in the way it grows naturally from the scalp because school only recognizes straight hair as wearable and tidy. This is not an isolated event, many men and women of the African diaspora, including Afro-Latinas, are denied employment or education simply because their hair does not naturally fit into Eurocentric beauty standards. This is where cultural appropriation exposes itself as harmful. When a trait that is associated with a less privileged group is taken by someone with a more privileged background, negative stereotypes and show more content
Exchanging cultures in a respectful manner is not inappropriate. For example, if someone is invited to an Indian wedding and is asked to wear saree, they would not be treating the culture with disrespect; instead they would be learning about the culture of the friend in a respectful way. I have read articles of Indian Americans, Indian Canadians etc., complaining about the use of the bindis, henna, and traditional headdresses by non- Indians. Some of them find this disrespectful because within their lives they have witnessed or experienced denunciation for wearing the bindi with some having slurs hurled at them; however, those of other races can wear a bindi and be considered hipster or exotic. Others find it disrespectful because of the religious significance that can also be associated with the piece of
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