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The Voice of the Black Community


Mirror our culture, but give credit
Appropriation is cool when acknowledged
Published Thursday, November 9, 2017 4:29 pm
by Kylie Wooden

Kylie Wooden

Cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of another culture.

To outsiders, it sounds harmless. However, it is anything but. As an African-American girl, I see the effects of cultural appropriation firsthand. A perfect example is boxer braids. Contrary to the New York Post’s popular opinion, “boxer braids” are not a new hairstyle. I will not ignore the fact that the newspaper gave credit to the style’s original African roots; however, the statement “[the style] has been worn by celebs including the Kardashian clan. And now it’s filtering down to the masses,” is only partially true. I have been wearing cornrows since I was 5. Almost every African-American girl that I know has worn cornrows at some time in her life.

Speaking of cornrows and calamity, in Katy Perry’s “This is How We Do” music video, the pop star was sporting a head full of cornrows. While most viewers perceived this as harmless, the black community felt outraged, and rightfully so. Black women have been wearing cornrows for years and years. It is a part of our culture.

Even though we invented the style and wear it often and in public, it seems as though the plaits are only cool and popular when worn by a white woman. When a white woman wears her hair in an Afro or cornrows, it is edgy and trendy, but when a black woman sports one of these traditional styles, it is viewed as ghetto and unkempt, which is frustrating.

Of course, African Americans are not the only victims of this crime. Native Americans, Latinos, and nearly any other minority also fall prey to this monster. Urban Outfitters’ popular “Mochila Bags” are a perfect example. Though the colorful and creative designs seem original and trendy, they actually originate from Colombia. Quite honestly, though, this isn’t surprising, considering that Urban Outfitters has been stealing designs from Indian culture as well.  

I have no problem with cultural exploration. I think that exploring cultures that are not your own and honoring them by researching them or adopting certain aspects of that culture into your lifestyle is wonderful. However, I do have a problem with people taking credit for those aspects. Think of it this way: let’s say that your friend has an amazing singing voice. She also likes to write music.

You get a text from that friend; the song she had been working on for years is finally done, and she sent you a video. You love it! It is amazing! So, you take the video and post it without your friend’s permission. In the description, you claim that this is your original song and this is your singing voice. The video gets 5 billion views because it is that amazing. A few days later, your friend finds out and she is outraged!

My point is: learn, explore, grow! Study other cultures. Explore their myths, music, and food. Grow in your experiences. There is nothing wrong with becoming a well-rounded person. However, give credit where credit is due. Thou shalt not steal.

Kylie Wooden is a student at Carmel Christian School.


By the way...point well made Ms. Kylie Wooden!
Posted on November 10, 2017
It is not surprising that this article would resonate with many , inspire others yet ?irritate? some. While my choice could be to focus on the ?irritated some? that will not be the path I will elect to take because I understand that a closed mind with a narrow and defensive perspective is incapable of being enlightened. My focus, however will rest with the generalization of the concept presented in this article. The perspective of failing to give credit where credit is due and claiming it as your own is not limited to race. It is also applicable to gender. Throughout history, there have been many trends, societal and medical contributions that have been generated by women. It was not uncommon for a man to take the credit for the discovery etc and call it his own. The woman, whose voice and presence may have been suppressed due to the ?way things were back in the day? or by a lack of funds to get the word out or a wealth of other barriers that left them without a voice to shout to the world that we were the originators, sat back and watched the male present is as their own and the world recieves it as NEW and AMAZING!! Thou shalt not steal - but give credit if you get the idea ?second hand? and sport it. Imitation is the best form of flattery...but outright theft is offensive.
Posted on November 10, 2017
The response to this article, sound like it came from a racist pig that has no education on black culture, nor even their own white racist culture. This article was well written with nothing but FACTS. If you are offended, then shame on your ignorance. You probably voted for #45 because you sound just like him, a racist, ignorant, entitled white pig.... #DEVIL#SATANS SON YOU ARE!!!!! (Written by Tiffani W.)
Posted on November 10, 2017
Said with Excellence!!!!!
Posted on November 10, 2017
So what is your point(s)? That blacks, again, want to be segregated by their culture and no one should adapt it? How funny do you think it is to whites to see a black trying to have blonde hair (poorly dyed of course as the make up of the black's hair is different from whites?) Or pink, or blue, green, and the most hilarious is the NFL player that has a little top hat haircut and it is "blonde." Looks like Halloween. So some black "styles" simply look better on white women than they do on black women! As far as "thou shalt not steal," where do you get off claiming that blacks "own" this style or any style. At least we are picky. Didn't see many whites running around in public with pants waist size 10 inches too big so it took a hand to hold up the pants. What was that about. Being black or being dumb? Look, another black style is to wear a baseball cap any way but correct, so whites took it up. No stealing. And a last example that white women are fine to leave to blacks is that they don't want a butt that sticks straight out and is so large that it looks like 2 cats fighting inside a pillow case when the black woman walks. Again, at least whites are selective with class! So keep your "culture" which also includes low education, incorrect language use, crimes, etc.
Posted on November 10, 2017

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