Why 'Cultural Appropriation' is BS

We are so embedded in our culture that it is invisible to us. But ask a foreigner to visit your home and they will say you do things very differently then them, and may even have different values and goals. We often times realize our culture, when someone does something that makes us uncomfortable, but the wonderful thing about being fortunate enough to be living in Southern California is the vast number of cultures and nationalities that reside here. We get to experience the world in our own backyard, and then choose what we like from each and incorporate it into our own lives. Social media is doing weird things to contemporary culture, interpersonal relationships and the terrifying rate of globalization, as an internet loving, generation Y, cultural anthropologist, it is my favorite thing to observe. Unfortunately, the term ‘cultural appropriation’ or ‘misappropriation’ has become a broad platform of discussion. Cultural appropriation is usually used to refer to members of a dominant culture (such as the US, UK, and other Western societies) that borrow/ exploit cultures of minority groups. BUT WHY????!!!!! There is great peace and courage in being open, loving and understanding of others. Why should we censor creativity for the sake of being politically correct about absolutely everything? To create is to be immortal! And when we create we are channeling ourselves into something that exists beyond us, an that is beautiful!!! 

It’s mind-blowing that even in America people are accused of cultural appropriation when this country has been built off of influences from other countries. For some reason, people see no problem with cultural influences in music, food, literature and language, but when it comes to fashion it’s instantly seen as stealing from a culture. We can walk down any given street in Los Angeles and come across foods from Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Mexico, and so on.. but wearing cornrows means you’re stealing and making fun of a culture!!! It saddens me that it’s seen as white culture perpetuating stereotypes rather than increasing racial appreciation, and that mindset in itself is a result of the current times that we live in.

I’ve spent my whole life fighting for freedom to BE. Supporting LGBTQ rights, black rights, trans rights, women’s rights, and so on… BUT now I find myself being told I have to STICK to my own culture. How dare I embrace another culture! How dare I branch out of the category.. HOW DARE I wear cornrows or braids?! HOW DARE I love asian food?! HOW DARE I wear clothes from a heritage other than my own?! Culture is the ENEMY. We have equally fascinating traditions as a species. Shouldn’t OUR generation relish in ALL we have created TOGETHER? Bottom line is there is no western background or the necessity to identify as such, we are HUMAN BEINGS. Personally, I want to share my world with everyone and not be judged or accused of appropriation when I admirably embrace other cultures. Taking influences from other cultures doesn’t mean taking credit for traditions that we had no part in conceiving, and if one defines something in the wrong terms it is not out of maliciousness or ignorance. It is our own ill education, we are here to learn!