Since America’s inception America has always shown admiration for Black culture, but no so much Black people. America has shown us over and over again they could less about Black people as a collective.
“Cultural appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations or racial stereotypes where it originated, but is deemed high fashion, cool, or funny when the privileged takes it for itself.”
Amandla Stenberg, Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows: A Crash Course on Black Culture, 2015.
If you’re a millennial and Black, you are likely to be a part of Black Twitter. Black Twitter is an amazing group on social media, and we are the most influential movement on the internet. In fact, it gets a lot of media attention. There are atrocities broadcasted through the constant “dragging” from Black Twitter. Let’s take it back a little bit, shall we. Cultural appropriation was a hush-hush topic across all media platforms until mid-2010 when the then 16-year-old Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg uploaded a video that she made for a first-class problem.
The title is Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows: A Crash Course of Black Culture. In this video, Stenberg pinpoints the importance of hair and the history of Black hair in our community, reaching back to the origin of Africa. She also calls out white artists Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Miley Cyrus for using Black culture to sell records and make money. Mentioning the deaths of Tamir Rice and Eric Garner via police brutality, she shows that people will appropriate our culture but not grieve over our deaths because most white people don’t care. At the end of the video, Stenberg poses a question that started a social media conversation that ushered us into a new era of social media confrontation: What would America be like if we loved Black people as much as we loved Black Culture? I was 18 when I came to my university, which is a PWI. I was a sophomore in 2015, and my journey to aiding my blackness was a route. I along with many other people, haven’t heard of the concept. It was in my face, all the time though.
The Appropriation Of Black Culture
Black women have been stigmatized with the “ghetto” description for our hairstyles, big hoop earrings, long nails, glossy lips, clothes, etc. All of these things, however, are becoming a trend. Why do we praise white women when they imitate our culture? Let’s be clear: understand that we should not be praising fish for swimming. It’s a beautiful thing that white people are down, but what about those that aren’t who still appropriate Black culture? Women like Kim Kardashian and that entire family love Black men and appropriate Black culture but do they really care about Black lives? Kim Kardashian recently posted on Snapchat, telling Black people to stop dragging Jeffrey Starr for his racist comments where he called Black women “n***** b******” and recently began to call beauty guru Jackie Aina a roach and things of that nature.
What is mind-boggling to me is that Kim Kardashian has two Black children, one being a girl. This hypocrisy is crazy because this happens a lot. These women fetishize Black men, hate Black women, and appropriate our culture. These women love Black men but are still racist. These are the women that get celebrated for looking good in our fashion. The toleration for these cultural appropriating women and men needs to stop. It’s not just white women who do it. White men are always listening to hip-hop, using AAVE (African-American Vernacular) and are the majority of the crowd during hip-hop concerts. These are the same controlling men that, along with white women, uphold white privilege and abuse Black people. My neighbors next door to me are white frat boys who support Trump but blast hip-hop every weekend.
Blackness has been used as the butt of a joke for centuries. Black people are not allowed to wear dreadlocks in the workplace or while seeking jobs because they are said to be unprofessional, yet white people wear dreads and its deemed “edgy” and “trendy.” Black people are illegitimate and called ugly yet white people go and copy off of us, and they get praised. Marc Jacobs is notorious for putting Black styles on white women, then denying that the roots of those styles come from us and saying that it doesn’t belong to Black people. Please understand that the buying power of Black people outweighs the buying power of any other demographic. We are giving the racist people our money, the money we struggle to get because they uphold their oppressive systems.
There is this huge thing in America to copy the Black style and neglect Black strife.Condoning the actions of these white people by buying their products, and giving them a black card. These people take Black culture, and profit off of it.
Minorities Appropriate Black Culture
Asians use Black culture as their counterculture, often rebelling against Chinese, Korean, etc. culture. Koreans run the beauty supplies that Black people support, yet they follow us in the store. Hispanics are also prejudiced towards Black people. George Lopez recently said, “There are two things you don’t do to a Mexican family: park in front of our lawn and marry a Black woman.” No one says anything about it because he’s Mexican, but had he been white it would be a different story. Hispanic women disrespect Black women and our hair and skin tones, calling us burnt and nappy headed. Anti-Blackness is everywhere. Asians dominate the beauty-supply industry, yet hate Black people.
This is a problem, but I have come up with a solution. buy Black. Buy Black-owned products. People will spend 28 dollars on Kylie’s lip stuff but won’t buy a $30 lipstick from a Black-owned company. Let’s strive to support one another. Black people are powerful. If we can change laws and strike up amendments to the constitution, we can rebuild our communities. It won’t be easy, but I swear to you that it will be worth it because we are all we got. Rebuilding Black Wall-street will take time and won’t be done in a day, but I implore all the readers to think about the question posed by Amandla Stenberg: What would America be like if we loved Black people as much as we loved Black culture?