According To Candace Ray

Cultural Appropriation

If you’ve seen #Whitegirlsdoitbetter, floating around Twitter and Instagram, it’s not a joke. It’s an actual hashtag people are feeding into. Yes! They went there. For those of you shaking your heads and rolling your eyes….. Solidarity Sister!

For each culture, what do we consider culturally appropriate? To be straight forward, cultural appropriation is mostly present between Blacks and Whites. The offenses and “Swagger Jacking” are not as relevant between other races and cultures. The separation is further and further.

Recently, Kylie Jenner was dragged on the internet for uploading a picture of herself rocking straight back cornrows. Immediately, cultural appropriation came into play. Because Ms. Jenner is considered white, is it culturally inappropriate for her to sport a hairstyle that’s mostly associated with African Americans or Blacks?

Some people, like myself, may think it’s just a hairstyle and there isn’t much harm in it. Cornrows and Braids are used as a protective style to prevent spilt ends and damaging with hair, which people of all cultures, who aren’t bald, are familiar. Others may look at a white women with cornrows and think she’s mocking black people or trying hard to be “down.” When it comes to the adoption of style and expression, do we see this as a compliment or an insult?

Hypothetically speaking, let’s say you have an associate, whom you see often, compliment you on your outfit and, in particular, how nice of a top it is that you’re wearing. Days later, you see this person and they are shamelessly sporting the same exact top they recently complimented you on. You notice but decide to pay it no attention. Then, Three to Four outfits later, you’re noticing it’s a pattern and this person is really copying your style. Is this a compliment for the great style you possess or an insult to your identity?

Amandla Stenberg, the Hunger Games star who has been pretty verbal about cultural appropriation, recently said “I wonder what America would be like if it loved black people as much as it loves black culture.” Things that make you go hmmmm. What’s appropriate? Why is it trendy if Miley Cyrus shakes her cheeks, or should I say Twerk, on a married man but it’s trashy and inappropriate if a black woman does the same? A white woman can put her hair in braids, get a big booty and pouty lips and “Do it better” but for a black woman that same instance has been seen as a Thursday since the beginning of time. Can you really say you “do it better” if you didn’t do it first?

When we keep things black OR white, we separate those who were born into the AND category? What’s culturally appropriate then?


Candace Ray

**You’re Welcome for the Memo**


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