Cultural Appropriation Response

If you’re White, please scroll to the bottom.

Response for Coloreds

Hey, I know we don’t know each other, but you clicked on this link because you felt offended by the article I wrote. I have a feeling you might be about to explain systematic oppression and racism to me, and how I’ve invalidated your experience. That’s far from the case. YOU ARE VALID AND YOU ARE IMPORTANT. So let me just explain this:

I am a woman of color; But just not a woman of color, a woman of many colors. I am not just one thing even though society tells me to check a box. Whites and POCs attack me regularly because I am not enough of either. I am angry. I am frustrated. I am marginalized. I am broken. I am tired. And I get it from both sides. And that article was in response to me being tired.

The purpose of that article was not to shove aside colonialism and racism. The purpose was people are ignorant and issues persist in society. But arguing about small shit that never intended to be offensive is a hard thing to distinguish without having a conversation with the person and without having clear definitions of who we are. I see POCs calling out others for cultural appropriation without even knowing the background of a person and watering down the real struggle to an article of clothing or hairstyle. People have forever tried to define us, but with our world becoming ever smaller, more mixed, and more non-homogenous, the reality is, those lines are gray.

The future is mixed nations, which will always include Whites. And xenophobia is always going to be a part of our history that has made its way to the present. And yes we should absolutely fight against it. But with travel becoming more accessible, changing your paradigm from homogenous to non-homogenous is inevitable. Fighting for ownership over cultural identity is null when cultural identity is so fluid and CAN’T BE DONE JUST BY LOOKING AT SOMEONE. A conversation needs to be had to see what a person identifies with. Conversations that don’t get to be had over making assumptions and screaming over a shirt.

With that being said, that is not to invalidate racism. When White institutions strip us of our culture, that is straight up racist. Black girls are given detention for not being able to wear their braids, Zendaya being called a druggie for having dreads, Native Americans not being allowed to wear their headdress, and the 800 million other examples of White institutions telling POCs what we can and cannot do. I’m here to fight against that. So tell me why we give a fuck about a Kylie or Miley or Taylor again? Cause I don’t.

What a White person wants to do with his or her body and clothes ain’t got shit to do with me. It is weird, sometimes, like Miley twerking, but I am not one to shame someone for his or her personal choices. But the VMA’s awarding Miley an award for twerking as opposed to Nicki Minaj who has been doing it for ages, THAT’S something to yelp about. The point is to differentiate between who you choose to fight with.

On the flip side, when a White person tells me what I can and cannot do with my body and clothes, mocks my culture, and confines me to a box, that has everything to do with me. So no, I’m not trying to make them the focal of my experience even though they are thrust upon me at every turn. The purpose of the article was to turn the conversation around to fight for us, not fight against them. And some people will argue that it is the same thing. But in my opinion it is not. The article is stating you should absolutely fight for your cultural rights and call out racism at its core. But it’s also saying: allowing others to embrace the cultures we identify with is how we evolve. I was also not trying to write a dissertation on systematic oppression, so understand it’s not possible to address it all.

So for me, I am tired. I am tired of fighting with you when we’re actually on the same team. I stand with you in solidarity. Colonialism and oppression won’t ever go away and it is painful. With all the pain I feel having to assimilate in the workplace, putting on my best White face, and always having to work twice as hard for being colored and quadruple for being a woman, I won’t continue to attach pain to clothing.  I am so busy feeling pain on other more defined and directly impacting things.

Response for Whites

If you’re a White woman about to stand up for people-of-color (POC) rights, by attacking me, a POC, turn around and go tell other White women what you’re about to tell me. Hold them accountable. By you telling me how I should feel or what I should be mad about, is you directly oppressing me yet again. It is possible to be educated and oppressed and move past this issue of cultural appropriation, so I’m not sure who you are trying to educate when you don’t feel any of these things. Frankly, I already experience enough of y’all telling me how to fit into your society, so thanks!

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