“Is there a double standard?”
Over the recent years, I have heard more and more about cultural appropriation. The question of who is allowed to do what. Am I ripping someone off, or am I admiring someone? Which means paying homage to where you got it from, but how many people actually do that? For me at least, I see a lot of styles that African Americans have made popular. It has been considered persona non grata, but worn by someone White and it’s a fashion statement. But, is this something that we all do, or just centralized to a certain ethnic group of people. Well, let’s take a look at the different groups of people.
The African American population for starters are a group where music, dance, and clothing style has influenced generations of young people. Not only Black youth, but youth from a variety of other ethnic groups as well. Yet we still have the appropriates of the styles and claim it as their own. There has been a term for the name of these people and they’re called Culture Vultures. They come in and consume the parts that they want and toss out the rest. So instead of calling a hair braided technique Cornrows, the name has been changed to Boxer Braids. The name is changed and yet there is no conversation as to where it came from; almost like it doesn’t matter. It does when the group it is being taken from is told they are not innovators of any style. Yet the style is used later on by an outside group.
Is it just African American? What about the Hispanic population, are there any cultural identifiers they have that people adopt. And my answer is absolutely. I have noticed that a lot of people from the west coast over the years have taken on the Cholo and Chola look. What is this look? It’s what has been popularized by west coast hip hop artists. Flannels, Dickies pants, shorts and long tube socks, Chuck Taylors, hair nets, with hair slicked back. A look that the Hispanic community has popularized is more than just some hip style. It has more meaning to the group, but to everyone else, it’s the cool thing to do. So how come no one is open into talking about all of these non-Chicanos adopting the style as their own, or showing disrespect by trivializing it.
No one says much about it, unless you’re Chicano. But, what about White Americans. Wait a minute, what I meant to say was, what about Italian, Irish, Greek, etc. I have always seen people dressing up in traditional Irish garb, who are not Irish. I have seen people styled in the Guido culture of Italians. Even people dressed in togas, but how does the Greek community feel regarding this appropriation. But unlike minority groups, people who fall under the category of European don’t typically get upset over the appropriation. Is it because their cultures are not strong enough to take over. Or is it because that they are typically the majority so it does not encapsulate them like it does someone else?
In the end, we all take a little bit from someone else. Even at times not knowing where it came from. Yet that is what it all comes down to in life. Who created what and who gets the credit for what. But most of all, are the creators being replaced by the popularity of the group using it next.