There’s a fine line between love and hate. Everybody wants to listen to rap and hip hop music, but nobody wants to be racially profiled or shot by the police. We live in a world where the Kardashians represent “perfection,” but where do we draw the line between culture appropriation and culture appreciation?
The boundaries are simple: don’t wear a Native American headdress if you are not Native American. Don’t ever say the N word. Don’t embrace someone’s culture only to disrespect it behind closed doors. The fact that we must gather a list of dos and don’ts shows just how saturated today’s society is in the glorification of oppression. Feel free to express yourself, but refrain from doing so in a way that could potentially hurt or offend someone else’s culture.
This doesn’t mean that one cannot wear braids if she isn’t black, nor does it mean one cannot eat enchiladas if he isn’t Mexican. It simply means that to disrespect someone’s culture is wrong. The controversial new show on Netflix titled Dear White People does a great job of exploring and shedding light upon these common themes that are rarely discussed and often overlooked in today’s society.
American society tends to revolve around trends. One minute everyone is wearing Thrasher, the next every girl at school has Adidas All Stars. Why is it that the girl who wears sneakers with three stripes is socially acceptable, but the girl who wears chanclas gets made fun of? I’m not going to pretend like I’ve never worn Henna or eaten Pho, but I’m also not going to pretend like I’m Jewish just because I saw the HYFR music video.
Let’s keep in mind the most judgemental tend to be the same people who listen to rap music, eat burritos, and have statues of the Buddha in their home. Are you as confused as I am? The last time I checked, until a Caucasian posted it on social media, all those things were an underappreciated part of a minority culture. Sorry to burst your bubble my brothas and sistas, but Kylie Kardashian did not invent cornrows. American popular culture revolves around the objectification of minorites’ cultures.
You can have your backyard barbecue because quinceañeras and bar mitzvahs is where it’s at. It’s okay to embrace other cultures; just be sure to respect everyone’s heritage.