I would consider myself a smart person. I don’t have all the answers but I have never pretended to know everything. But being on the internet makes me question everything that I know about the society that we live in. Mainly because the world is evolving at such a speed that I can’t keep up. But it’s also because I’m not angry and my life is filled with love. Soppy I know but it is true. Everyone seems to be angry these days but is it directed in the right places?
Cultural appropriation is a thing these days and I can’t swing a cat by its tail without accidentally being racist. And this is the problem with cultural appropriation, it makes people who aren’t racist seem like ignorant swine who don’t understand the world around them. According to Wikipedia, cultural appropriation is a negative thing that happens when a dominant culture uses parts from other cultures as fashion and disrespects another culture in the process. Fine, I get that. Having something that is important to your culture bastardised into a fashion statement is offensive. But there are three big problems here.
People don’t know they are doing it
I don’t think it is fair to scream at someone for wearing something from a different culture mainly because I grew up in the 90’s when it was expected of you. If something from another culture was available for you to wear or use, then you were expected to use it. And if you didn’t, you were a big fat racist who hated everyone. Cultures welcomed each other with open arms and swapped things around. And there was nothing wrong with it. If a pop star decided to embrace another culture, it was welcomed because it got people talking and exchanging ideas. Wearing something from another culture made you a superior person because you embraced the differences that made us all beautiful. But then again, you can’t judge where someone is from by the colour of their skin. I saw a story on Facebook a while ago that made me giggle because it shows how twisted everyone has gotten over this. A guy had a dream catcher tattoo on his arm and was constantly being told that he was a racist and was stealing from Native American culture. Thing is, he was a Native American. He was born and raised on a reservation. He even got his tattoo there. But he “looked Mexican”, so people lost their shit because they believed that he was stealing someone else’s culture.
It’s building up walls that had been broken down
Like I said, I’m a child of the 80’s and a teenager from the 90’s. I remember when not wearing stuff from another culture was seen as racist. Actors and musicians used to take to the red carpet wearing something random from another culture and when questioned about it, it was merely a nik-nak they had picked up on location. Did people lose their shit about it? No! Everyone loved it, including the culture that said nik-nak came from. What is now seen as cultural appropriation was once a way to spread the word that other cultures exist. People asked questions and we learnt from each other about how others lived. It was an exciting time when people when people explored other worlds without fear. In the 90’s when Eminem launched his career as a rapper there was a few raised eyebrows. Some people called him names and accused him of borrowing “black culture” but he had grown up in mainly black neighbourhoods, it was all he knew. As far as he was concerned, this was his culture. The same thing happened when P. Diddy told the world that he was the American Dream. There were some raised eyebrows at this too. He had come from hip-hop and shaped himself into a world-class business man. Like I said, raised eyebrows but nobody lost the head over it and we all got on with our lives. If this was to happen now, they both would be run out of town and a race war would break out.
The world is multicultural
I am Northern Irish. I live on the Emerald Isle and pay my taxes to Britain. But I am also of Native American descent. Yeah, work that one out. Anyway, because I am learning about where my family is from by tracing the family tree back, I am exploring many different aspects of Native American culture, mainly because we aren’t sure where my great-great-great grandmother was from, but I also find the culture and history interesting. If I found out exactly where my family came from and the traditions that my grandmother followed, and I choose to follow them or incorporate them into my life, would that be seen as cultural appropriation? Some people have said yes and others have said no. But it’s my heritage, shouldn’t I be allowed to express myself and acknowledge my ancestors whatever way I want? When President Obama told the world that he was of Irish descent, the Irish welcomed him with open arms and probably nearly destroyed his liver with whisky.
The problem is that people have become so concerned with skin colour and culture that we have become blinded to the fact that this is a new form of racism. Like I said at the beginning, I don’t think that people should be exploiting something from another culture for shit and giggles, but everyone needs to calm the fuck down. One of the big things at the minute is the return of 90’s fashion, when wearing something from another culture was what you done. Teenagers and hipsters are wearing stuff that I wore as a teenager. Fashion and trends come and go, and the 90’s were a repeat of 60’s hippy fashion.
You don’t know why a person is exploring another culture and it’s none of your business either. You don’t know this persons heritage. So stop judging someone on the colour of their skin. And calm the fuck down already.
Did you know we do a podcast now? Well now you do. Head over to our YouTube channel and listen to the insanity first hand.