I’m an immigrant and I must say I don’t understand cultural appropriation.
To be clear, here’s what I think it means:
Cultural appropriation is when western people wear or behave like another culture.
I see this come up when:
– People wear braids/dreadlocks to appropriate black culture.
– People wear bindis and bangles etc to appropriate indian culture.
– People wear headdresses to appropriate American native culture.
The popular sentiment today is that it’s not right as it’s ‘culturally insensitive’.
I think that’s bulls%#t.
I was 8 years old when I came to Australia from Fiji. Growing up in a predominant Indian culture, I would have loved to have seen Australians wear bindis, bangles and whatnot because I would instantly have felt some connection. It was scary back then, having to learn a new culture and suddenly being alone without any friends, especially in a new school.
Of course there are racist people who paint their faces black or adorn headdresses so what we do in modern society is we call every cultural appropriation ‘insensitive’.
But I believe that most westerners wearing and behaving like another culture are the type of people who are very accepting.
I’ve never met a racist person wearing braids or dancing to Bollywood songs.
These people generally want to be free to appreciate and get involved in other cultures by including it as part of their personal identity.
I think that’s the best compliment to one’s culture don’t you think?
By doing that, we stop making people from other cultures feel that their traditions and valued are accepted and celebrated.
If that’s not accepting of different cultures, then I don’t know what is.
I say wear whatever you like, appropriate away and allow people to feel that their culture is accepted in western society.
Screw what other people think. By looking to other cultures to find what we like, we can also stop giving so much control to the fashion industrialists who create trends to divide not only cultures but the rich & poor, the young & old, the cool & uncool – the list goes on.