Cultural Appropriation

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Almost every time I log onto some form of social media, I see something about how someone of another race has culturally appropriated something from the African American community. Then behind these claims of cultural appropriation are numerous comments by African Americans who are in an uproar.

The black community has been getting more and more sensitive to things that are being posted on social media as the years have gone by. I remember seeing a post on Facebook of a Caucasian female with box braids. The hairstyle was really pretty on her but black people in the comment’s section were furious. They felt as if the girl was taking something that only belonged to black people and using it. Yes, Africans originated wearing their hair in braids but that does not mean that it is limited to only black people. For instance, black people are not born with straight hair, yet Caucasian people are. However, the black community does not see a problem with straightening their hair. African Americans can also display signs of cultural appropriation.

African American journalist Zipporah Gene asked the black race to stop wearing and using African symbols in their clothing because they do not understand the meaning behind them. Some African Americans think that because they’re socially conscious in today’s American society that they know all there is to know of their history which contains events from slavery to the election of the first black president in the United States (US).  Some blacks do not know about what their ancestors did before they were forced to come to the US nor do they have a full understanding of African culture. Just because blacks worldwide resemble one another in certain skin tones does not mean that they are all the same.

I think cultural appropriation is only a problem when a particular race takes another race’s culture and tries to put another name on it as if they created it. Kim Kardashian recently came under fire for wearing cornrows and calling the style ‘Bo Derek braids’. She called them ‘Bo Derek braids’ because she was inspired by the actress Bo Derek who wore a similar hairstyle in a 1979 movie entitled 10. Even though Bo Derek wore the braids years ago, she did not invent the hairstyle. The cornrows that Kardashian donned actually originated in Africa. I don’t care about other races wearing different styles that aren’t indigenous to their culture but credit should be given where credit is due.

 

 

KenShayla Nelson is a Freshman Broadcast/Mass Communications major from Greenville, Mississippi. She will be a contributor to The Campus Chronicle for the 2017-2018 school year.

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