By Tuesday Bowen
Black culture is a rising trend across many ethnicities in this society. Cornrows, dreadlocks, black slang, and black music have all been integrated into our mainstream society. However, black people have not been as integrated or appreciated. Cultural appropriation of the black community needs to be heavily addressed and targeted in our society.
First, let’s start with what black culture is. Black culture is the way that African Americans celebrate, carry themselves, and live their lives; that is if a black person chooses to take part in their own culture. It incorporates dancing, music, singing, clothing, hair styles, and ways of living that black people have created over many years by many ancestors.
For example, black music can include jazz, rap, soul, and R&B, all of which were pioneered by black artists. Another example, black hairstyles (dreadlocks cornrows, etc.) are not simply styles, rather they are specifically made to preserve African American hair.
Like any other culture, black culture has its own historical and cultural roots. Every ethnicity has its own type of culture, and trying to integrate into an already widespread culture without belonging in it is not appropriate. One needs to have a true appreciation of the culture to be able to participate, and simply adopting a style is not enough.
All cultures around the world are appropriated in some way or another; however, these cultures are not integrated into everyday life by those who are not a part of that culture to the same extent as black culture.
White people especially choose to appropriate cultures other than their own because they want to be a part of one that actually embraces their ancestors. For instance, Kylie Jenner getting cornrows is deemed acceptable and Kendall Jenner wearing an afro is considered stylish; however, when black people do this, it is considered dirty or not professional.
This unfair mentality needs to come to an end. Appropriating cultures hurts the culture itself, and is also offensive to those who actually live in and were born into that culture. Culture is sacred, and not something to be tampered or experimented with. There is a huge difference between appreciation and appropriation, which is something society needs to grasp.