Many teens my age are unaware of what cultural appropriation truly is, and even most adults ignore that it is a severe issue in America because they don’t
understand it. However, with the recent trending of #reclaimthebindi across social media sites in response to the Coachella music festival, the claws have come out between those who choose to educate themselves on the topic and those who sadly choose to remain ignorant. Cultural appropriation is basically defined as, “ The adoption of elements of one culture by members of a different cultural group, especially if the adoption is without the consent of the originating culture, and when the appropriating group historically oppressed members of the originating culture.” If you aren’t aware with Coachella, the music festival is known to attract predominantly white fans who arrive decked out in accessories like headdresses, kimonos, bindis, aztec prints, etc. While to the untrained eye these may seem like innocent fashion trends, they take away the sacredness of an entire culture. Friday April 17th in my AP Lang class we had an intense debate on if this idea of cultural appropriation was truly an issue. One classmate argued that it was simply fashion and these cultures should be honored that Americans think it’s beautiful. No. Unfortunately, cultural rituals and fashions are deemed “ugly” and mocked until members of the caucasion race gets a hold of them, then they are deemed “beautiful and cool.” No more, we cannot just pick and choose things we like from a culture that for as long as we can remember has been oppressed by the system of white supremacy in America. This is not fashion, these clothes have a sacred and symbolic meaning for the members of these cultures and for people to be ignorant and go around sporting them like they know ANYTHING about the culture or the purpose behind these accessories is disgusting and unacceptable. So I encourage you to make a goal to educate yourself on this topic, reflect on times when you yourself have been the appropriator, and spread the word about this practice.
#reachoneteachone , Jade