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Why Cultural Appropriation Isn’t Okay

Cultural Appropriation is a term that is being used more and more in society which gives leeway to misconception and biased justification. There is power dynamic that goes with cultural appropriation so it is not synonymous with assimilation. When people of color and immigrants take on American habits like wearing jeans, or eating hamburgers, or “straightening their hair like white women” (which carries a whole other argument itself) they are doing so to fit in. In America and many European countries, being white is the default; it’s the norm. In many instances, if they were to openly express their cultural habits they would be out casted or not excepted for jobs, education, and other opportunities available to others. There is a huge and obvious difference when white Americans adopt an aspect of another group’s culture “just for fun”. In most instances, the thing that was adopted at one point was looked down upon, but is praised now that is has been incorporated by white culture. Imagine the hurt and discrimination that goes along cultural appropriation takes place.

Let’s put things into perspective with this example. Cinco de Mayo, is Holiday celebrated by many Americans as an excuse to get drunk, dress up in stereotypical Mexican attire, and get ½ off on Americanized Mexican food, but it takes on a different meaning in Mexican culture. This behavior enriches the power dynamic and contributes to systematic oppression against Mexican immigrants in America, illegal or legal, and the discrimination against Mexicans as a whole.

There is nothing wrong with appreciating other cultures, but doing so for your own enjoyment is when a problem starts to stir. Let’s work on genuinely supporting other cultures instead of trying to loopholes that may lead to harming someone else.

19 Georgia Southern Junior Graphic Design Major I aspire to be an experiencer
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