Since this recently submitted question is so fresh and innovative, I’ve decided to give it a little bit of my time.
(Among others) Why you cannot “appreciate” my culture:
- When white people take it, they take the aspects of it that they like. These are the aspects people were mocked and hurt for sporting - but when white people choose to adopt this, it becomes correct to do, and “cool.’ This is suggesting that the opinion of a white person on the culture is somehow better than that of the original member of the culture. This upholds white supremacy.
- White people do not fully appreciate the culture, ever. They only take the aspects they like. As a result of this, the nuances of the culture is lost, resulting in erasure of the culture. This is particularly problematic for cultures with rapidly diminishing amounts of people.
- White people do not adopt the culture right, but frequently adopt a version that they see. This is not what the culture really is and propagates racist stereotypes. It frequently tells the story of a blatantly false caricature.
- In adopting the aspects of the culture that you want, the depiction of the culture is frequently sexualized.
- Simultaneously, when you take a part of the culture for your own, it erases the lived experiences of the group that upholds a custom and the struggles and hardship that the group went through. Thus, it diminishes the history of the group and causes for further erasure of experiences.
- When customs translate into a Western context, very frequently a price tag is put on them - or they are commodified. This is a problem especially for spiritual practices that hold deep significance for those who practice it, and is blatantly disrespectful to these communities.
What is the collective factor that is wrong with this all? When you appropriate culture, you are treating the holder of the culture less important than your whim to use it. You are treating people of color and people who come from a non-Western cultural context as less than human.
(note that I am using West as an indication of the cultural unit of the West and Western Thought, not as the geographical region.)
So why can’t we be brothers and sisters?!
- Ethnic cleansing.
- Systemic Oppression.
- Erasure of our role in history and our presence in the world today.
- …but really, this list is endless. For more, check this out. And this. And any of the rest of the White History Month posts.
*OK BUT THAT WAS A LONG TIME AGO!
No. Because we still face the effects of this and you’re still not listening. We can engage in universal siblinghood when we don’t feel like we’re less legitimate people because of the colors of our skins and the *mystical* practices we engage in.
You wouldn’t discriminate someone born with a penis for dressing like a “girl” in any sense.
I couldn’t discriminate against white people who were appropriating culture even if I wanted to. You wanna know why? White people have privilege. We don’t have any rights except in our own spaces, sometimes not even then.
And as for the rest of that sentence? No, it’s not the same thing. There is no inherent insult in cross dressing. There is extreme inherent insult in cultural appropriation and it would be wise to see the difference. Do not appropriate the struggles of other groups of peoples to prove your point and dehumanize them.
But other people steal white culture all the time!!
Let’s start at the very beginning.
And when ‘we steal your culture,’ that’s actually not what we’re doing. Let’s have some examples, specifically about clothes, but also about pretty much anything else I can think of.
- We’re trying to adjust to a world where whiteness is the norm. Because white people are able to tell the world what is ‘normal’ and they have defined, say, tshirts and jeans from Hollister as ‘normal.’ We wear it to be normal, not to appropriate ‘white culture.’
- We wear it because colonialism and other movements that caused for white people to rule us forced us to adhere to their standards for many generations. We wear it because we’ve been systematically forced to.
- We wear it because we think it’s pretty - we wear it because the standards of beauty today are white.
- We wear it because we will be harassed by white people and told to go home if we don’t. It doesn’t matter if it is our home. The only way to be American or of the West is to dress in accordance to Western culture.
- We wear it because we will be harassed by our own people if we don’t. We wear it to not be the worst kind of person there is - a FOB. We wear it because of our own internalized whiteness, internalized after many many centuries of it being forced onto us.
So to end this, nah, I’m not the racist one.