Cultural appropriation is commonly used when describing white society, stealing and using another cultures behaviours. It’s become more predominate as the years have gone by with so many musicians acting like they are African-American. A perfect example is Iggy Azalea, who comes from Australia, uses make up to look less pale and raps with a deeper tone and with a southern accent.
Cultural appropriation is all around us when we look at music and we see how stars act and dress. We hear Actors sounding like they come from the “Streets”, yet the closest they have been is Sesame Street.
Pants down low is all around us. But when a person purposely copies another culture to make themselves more saleable and more in tune with what ever the latest fad is just adds to the wrongness of this.
When people argue that they are not Culturally appropriating and that usually the argument is directed at Black people they point out that English, the Bible, western Clothing etc. Well there is a big difference between Cultural appropriating and what I call Compelled Culture. That is that missionaries, Guns etc. used against many cultures, African, Native American, Polynesian, Aboriginal is forced. We had no say in what we wanted. We have tried to maintain our cultures in the face of these adversities, this then makes the cultural appropriation all the more stinging. We have all had to fight to keep our identities and our cultures. We have been looked down upon and spat upon for our colour, race, creed. But we have fought proudly to maintain our culture.
We fought to keep it for what? To have the ignorant show up at places with Native American Head dresses, and not understand the importance of it? The wearing of Bindi’s as a fashion item, Braiding, rapping, talking like you come from the hood? Even here in Australia. Wearing something Aboriginal without understanding the meaning. Getting tribal tattoo’s without having any concept of what they mean to the Maori people. Japanese words, to show how Zen you are? I scoff at this. This is Cultural Appropriation this is blatantly stealing to make yourself look cool. You are not acknowledging the problems of these people and you are not doing anything to help these people and the problems they face, but you just walk along with your extended ear lobes and believe that your spirit is a wolf, while you down you double soy latte.
Remember what many nations have fought to keep. What we have had to hide from the white man (if they found out it led to imprisonment or worse) our cultures that you just wear to look cool.
There is a difference between Cultural Appropriation and Compelled Culture. One is your choice, the other is people who had no choice.