Cultural appropriation is when someone takes part of a minority culture and uses it for their own purposes w/out knowing the significance or history behind it.

It's very complicated because some people from a culture will be offended while others will think it's celebrating the culture.

Example: Dove Cameron's Puss Puss magazine cover featured her posing with a Native American head dress. (Dove apologized and recalled the magazine)

art, artist, and beautiful image

This is cultural appropriation because Dove is using a significant part of Native American culture as a fashion piece.

The head dress is highly respected and every feather is earned.

Taking this piece w/out knowing the history or significance belittles the true meaning behind the head dress.

Another example: Cornrows have been part of Black beauty for literally hundreds of years.

the hairstyle has been seen as "ratchet," "ghetto" and just unprofessional.

braids, beauty, and hair image

But when Kim K decided to wear it, all of the sudden, it was trendy.

Cornrows were renamed as "boxer braids" or "Kim K braids" and there was no acknowledgement that they were taken from African culture

One social media comment said:
"I don’t care if you get braids I’m just saying don’t act like my black looks better on you."

one more example: A white girl on twitter posted her prom dress, which was a traditional asian dress called the qipao. She recieved both backlash and praise.

dress, qipao, and cheongsam image
looks like this

The qipao is a representation of Chinese tradition and modern fashion. It represents femininity and modernity, and doesn't have any sacred or spiritual background.

Many Chinese on social media didn't care about this event and were glad that she was embracing their culture

But for some Asian Americans, it crossed the line

This is the problem

often times, the people from these cultures aren't mad cuz you're wearing these pieces...

they're mad that they get discriminated against if they celebrate their own culture, but if a white person wears it, it's fine!!

no one can own a style...

but the cultures it came from can be acknowledged

the original context of the piece can be respected

and the cultures it came from can be encouraged in America.

african american, beauty, and fashion image

so what now?

it all may seem complicated and overwhelming, but if you start by appreciating the cultures that your favorite things originate from, that is a great first step

you can also ask yourself this..

Is this a sacred or religious piece?

Can a person from that culture freely wear that without being looked down upon?

Am I disrespecting the heritage of that culture when wearing it for my own purposes?

thanks for reading