Cultural Appropriation.


appropriationsketch

 ” The most disrespected woman in America, is the black woman. The most un-protected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America, is the black woman. ” – Malcolm X

54 years later black women live the same reality that Malcolm X spoke of in 1962. To this day black women are still treated as if we are nothing, as if we do not matter. Day by day I see people of all races and genders fall on one common denominator to insult and degrade, the black women. We have become the world’s punching bag.

Yet, even though we have become the punchline to so many jokes, we are still the most imitated group of people in America. Things that we are shamed for, made to feel bad about, are taken from us, renamed, and made mainstream… made “cool.”

This is called cultural appropriation. Basically when a dominant or majority culture “adopts” something from another culture, usually a minority culture, as their own without giving the credit, then they are appropriating. Cultural appropriation has become a very “touchy” subject in this day and age, because on one hand there are people who believe that people are being too sensitive and on the other hand there are people who take extreme offense when they see this. I am one of those people who take offense.

One of my biggest problems today is black hair. For years black women have been told that their natural hair is not good enough. We have been told that in order to look “kept” and “professional” then our hair needs to permed and straight. When we wear afros or protective hairstyles (dreads, braids, etc) things become a problem. The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled that it is okay to discriminate against black hairstyles like dreadlocks and twist in the workplace.

Black hairstyles are shamed when they are on black people, but as soon as Kylie Jenner wants to sport some faux locs then it’s “new” and “edgy”.

zendaya
courtesy of the Inquistr

When Kim Kardashian down the street wants to sport cornrows, a style that originated in Africa and the Caribbean during slavery, she is deemed the pioneer of “boxer braids.” WHAT ARE BOXER BRAIDS?! Cause those surely look like cornrows to me.

This is an absolute slap in the face to black people because the same thing that you shame us for is the same thing that you turn around and steal.

 

kim k .jpg
courtesy of Kim Kardashian Instagram

Growing up I had many experiences with this. I got the backstage pass to this “phenomena” at a young age. When I was younger I used to be made fun of because of my big lips. If you know me or have seen me you know that my lips are bigger than average. I never thought that there was anything wrong with me until I got to school. The people in my family had the same features as me, I saw them as normal.  Fuller, plumper lips ARE indeed a common facial characteristic that black people possess. But going to a predominately white school, I didn’t see many people like me, and this made me feel like the odd man out. This gave the bullies all the ammunition they needed.

Imagine my surprise when I got on social media and saw white women, women who were not born with big lips getting lip fillers to get what I already had, and they were praised. They were given articles in magazines, “How to Get Kylie Jenner Lips.” They didn’t get shamed like I did. They were deemed as “exotic looking” and “different,” but I was “fish lips.”

I don’t think that anybody can read anything that I just said and call me a liar. I speak facts, this stuff actually goes on and it needs  to change.

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