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Appreciate, don’t appropriate other cultures

Imitation is said to be the most sincerest form of flattery. But there is a point where it isn’t flattering at all.

It’s no doubt culture is evolving and with that comes adaptation. There’s a difference between appreciating a culture and appropriation.

Culture appropriation is when dominant white races borrow aspects of culture from oppressed racial groups. Using elements of the culture and redefining them as their own while getting praise and recognition seems unfair while the actual culture only gets backlash and stigmatized for expressing their roots.

I don’t mean ordering a carne asada burrito and amusing the cashier with your “Spanglish.” Or wearing a Sari to an Indian wedding you were invited to. It’s developing aspects of a culture as if it were the one you were born into, defeating the symbolism of that aspect of a culture for the purpose of an aesthetic is where we should draw the line.

Wearing a Native American headdress to Coachella or any sort of dance event isn’t fashion it’s disrespectful. Having a white girl, drunk out of her mind dancing, while wearing a $20 “Sexy Pocahontas” costume from Party City isn’t honoring a culture. It’s dismantling one.

According to the Indian culture, wearing a Native American headdress was an honor, and those who got the privilege to adorn one were revered and esteemed figures.

P.S. – It’s seriously inconsiderate considering your ancestors may have massacred Native Americans centuries back, just saying.

Fashion changes constantly, I get it, but that does not justify the use of another’s culture as fashion, especially when it’s not yours. Kylie Jenner can’t buy plastic surgery to gain black-dominant features, and be praised for it, can she? The answer is yes.

People like Jenner are culprits of culture appropriation and indeed have been called “stylish” and “trendy” for their looks. Jenner has worn a Bindi, which is a spiritual symbol in Indian culture, as a fashion statement and then applauded for having a fashion sense, while Indian culture is still stigmatized for their beliefs and style.

Singer and Disney star Zendaya was berated for modeling dreadlocks at the Oscars this year. Scrutiny about her natural hairstyle had been headlines and Twitter talk. Host of Fashion Police, Giuliana Rancic commented on actress and singer Zendaya’s dreadlocks hairstyle she wore on the red carpet, saying that they make her look like she “smells like patchouli oil. Or, weed.” Although Rancic apologized, she was swift to judge the Disney star.

On the other hand, a few months later, Miley Cyrus wore blonde dreadlocks for the VMA’s. Not only was she commended immediately, she was called innovative and best dressed with her dominantly nude outfit. Headlines from news such as saying “Miley Cyrus rocking dreads on Instagram.”

Why was Zendaya criticized for her displaying her culture, and Cyrus get acclimation for her culture appropriation insensitivies. What the hell?

I’m not saying you shouldn’t enrich yourself in a culture. It should be evident when it comes to what’s appreciation versus appropriation. Educate yourself on a culture, see if you can enjoy it.

Those who celebrate their culture with symbolic dress should not be criticized while others are receiving social praise for adopting this same traditional dress to make a fashion statement.

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