What isn’t cultural appropration:
• Trying/eating/making a culture’s food
• Listening to that culture’s music
• Watching that culture’s movies
• Reading that culture’s books
• Appreciating that culture’s art
• Wearing that culture’s clothing IF in a setting where that culture is prevalent and IF people are okay with it and/or it is necessary to fit in and not stand out weirdly (i.e. If you visit Pakistan, you can wear a shalwar kameez so you don’t stand out as an American tourist. Or if you visit a specific temple or religious setting, you may need to/want to adhere to specific dress forms. Or if you’re invited to a wedding and they allow/invite you to wear their cultural dress to participate in the festivities).
• Using that culture’s dance/physical traditions in specific settings (i.e. taking belly-dancing classes, or going to an Indian wedding and trying to dance with them).
What is cultural appropriation:
• Wearing specific items of clothing that may (and probably do) have deeper meaning as a costume. Like on Halloween.
• Wearing specific items of clothing to be trendy or fashionable.
• Trying to imitate their natural beauty standards and possible makeup/markings (i.e dreadlocks and bindis and mehndi/henna).
• Taking their rituals, old-as-hell traditions, and dances and turning them into cheap, tacky everyday garbage for you to have “fun” with (i.e. smoking sheesha. Y’all turned it into this janky nonsense that looks so trashy and stupid).
• Taking spiritual/religious ideas and traditions and subscribing to them to be trendy or unique
• Trying to act like you’re an expert in their food, music, or art, and that you can do it BETTER than them
• Basically trying to WEAR that culture’s skin, clothing, & beauty traditions as a costume/trend and turn old traditions into cheap garbage
And WHY is this wrong? Because, in our society, white people or non-POC can get away with wearing another culture’s clothes and identities and it will be “cute”, “indie”, “bohemian”, “trendy”, and “exotic.” BUT when a POC who actually belongs to that culture wears their own culture’s clothing, styles of beauty, or does things that are specific to their culture, they’re looked down upon, made fun of, sneered at, told to “Go home, get out of this country, we don’t do that here,” and laughed at. The few times I wore a shalwar kameez in public—and I’m Pakistani—people gave me weird looks, like I had a disease. And yet if a white person (or, heck, even a different POC, because POC don’t have the right to appropriate other cultures either) wears a shalwar kameez, people will call her exotic and cute. Seriously? Do you see a problem? I do. Want some proof? When Selena Gomez and Katy Perry use other cultures as costumes in their music videos and stuff, they were thought to be creative and fun. But when an Indian American woman with brown skin won Miss America, there was a huge racist backlash and people said, “We don’t look like that here, we don’t need a curry muncher here, get out of this country.” So I guess Indian culture is only okay if Selena Gomez is stealing it, right? But not if an actual Indian woman is displaying it? Another example: white people with dreadlocks are seen as “soft grunge” and “hippie”, but black people with dreadlocks are looked down upon and seen as dirty and lazy for having them, even though they know how to take care of their dreadlocks way better.
Respect the fact that we are different. You don’t need to be culturally BLIND because that is just as ignorant. Trying to ignore cultures means you’re trying to erase peoples’ identities. You can appreciate/like/admire other cultures without trying to steal them, use them, cheapen them, and wear them as costumes. You weren’t born into it, so know your limits. And YES. There will ALWAYS be those people who say, “But my Chinese friends don’t care if ____!” and “I’m Mexican and I don’t care if people ____,” but they do not speak for all people of that culture and just because THEY don’t mind doesn’t mean other people don’t. Plenty of POC get harassed/taunted/degraded/fetishized over their own cultures WHILE people not of that culture are called “free-spirited”, “bohemian”, “quirky” and “trendy” for imitating the SAME culture—so yes, the people who oppose cultural appropriation do it based on actual microaggressions and bigotry they may have faced and it is NOT your job to try and convince then that they don’t have a right to their own culture or that the oppression against them should mean nothing.
Think about this. There are some women okay with sexism. Some POC okay with racist jokes. Some Jewish people don’t care about anti-Semitic jokes. And your friend might be one of these people. But suddenly that makes it okay for you to behave foolishly, immaturely, and ignorantly?
Wise up. It’s 2014. There is no excuse to be ignorant.
And if you ever need to explain to someone what cultural appropriation is, show them this post (credit me if you post it elsewhere). It’s a good starter and I think it encompasses the basics of what cultural appropriation is and isn’t.
in the movie a little boy recognises steve at the captain america exhibit. it’s my headcanon that a little girl recognises bucky when he goes to the smithsonian exhibit to find out who he really is
because little girls have heroes too
"You should tie your hair back," a little girl with pitch-black hair says to the Winter Soldier. He stares down at her, silent, but she continues undeterred. "Mommy says that we need to have our hair tied back or we’ll trip over things because we can’t see. She makes me wear these—" She displays her wrist, which is encircled by a rainbow of different hair bands. "—because mine keep falling out. You can’t fight evil if you can’t see it. I want to be a police officer when I grow up. Are you a…"
She trails off, her eyes steadily getting bigger. They dart to the large digital image of James Buchanan Barnes, then back to his face. The Winter Soldier’s eyes dart, too, over the exits and the crowd and the girl’s distracted mother—attempting to corral three other black-haired children—before landing back on the girl’s face, where an improbable grin has begun to grow.
"I knew it," she whispers.
The Winter Soldier blinks down at her, thrown off by the delight in her expression. No one is ever happy to see the Soldier.
The girl reins in her wide grin and does her own scan of the crowd. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell. People can’t handle the truth. But I can.” She turns her shining eyes back to the Soldier.
Slowly, very slowly, the Soldier reaches out with hands that have broken, maimed, strangled, shot, stabbed, and ripped apart human flesh. His voice creaks out of him, rusty with disuse. “Can I have a hair tie?”
Without taking her eyes off him, the girl rolls a light blue one out of the rainbow and hands it over.
Sometimes, my job absolutely sucks.
The short version is that I worked 14 hours today, and near the end of my shift, I was told that I was annoying, barely human, and not allowed to have emotions (specifically: not allowed to become frustrated when things bother me/people are rude to me) by an 18-yr-old who thinks herself above everyone, especially those who aren’t rich.
Then she stated that she was going to give me feedback, to which I told her no, I would not be listening to anything she had to say after what she just called me and she would have to come back later.
I’m not sorry to say that she didn’t come back later.
And then I started crying on the way home.
Good thing is that she’s leaving tomorrow for a few days, and I won’t have to see her for at least a week. Hopefully.
Bad thing is that I have no idea how I’ll be feeling when she gets back. I don’t want to get over it. I want to still be angry at her when she gets back and have her actually face the consequences of hurting people. I mean, people don’t like you because you’re an entitled ass. So.
Sad thing is that she’ll probably come back and expect everything to be okay. Because she can do no wrong in her eyes.
Well guess what.