Have you ever taken offense when you saw someone dressed in traditional garments from your culture? In America, this happens quite often. Some people may not recognize it and some refuse to acknowledge that it even exists. Cultural appropriation is a situation in which a dominant culture steals aspects of a minority culture’s, such as hair, clothing styles, and music.
“Cultural appropriation refers to picking and choosing elements of a culture by a member of another culture without permission” (O’Reilly). For example, white people steal certain parts of African American culture. They exploit it, misuse it, and whitewash it. “Exploiting a culture deprives the culture of the credit they rightfully deserve. They do not get recognized for something that originated from them because of their appearance or their cultural background” (Nittle). Since white people are from the dominant culture, they believe they can take from other minority cultures. Most of this happens most often with African American culture. “Cultural appropriation is itself a real issue because it demonstrates the imbalance of power that still remains between cultures that have been colonized and the ex-colonizers” (Uwujaren). In the past, whites had influence over African Americans’ culture. During the civil rights movement, white people began to lose some of their influence over African Americans. Now, they are attempting to regain it through cultural appropriation. That is why they take things from African American culture. For example, white people are taking the fashion and music style of African Americans. White people are slowly regaining the power over other cultures.
Cultural appropriation of the African Ame...
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...teness while the same things are disdained and penalized in actual black people” (Harris). White artists can get away with stealing African American music because of their skin color. They can do whatever they please. They can modify it, whitewash it, and manipulate it any way they want. Still, their music lacks the real feeling rap and hip hop often creates regarding a life on the streets: too many of these artists are probably from the suburbs. However, African Americans have been ridiculed for their own culture. As a black person, one cannot do the same as a white person. When African Americans do something, it is seen as negative. When white people do it, it can be glorified.
Clearly, cultural appropriation is alive and well in America. Maybe someday, others will recognize people of all cultures for their creativity instead of pilfering it for their own profit.
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