It’s cultural appropriation.
Cultural appropriation exists because of centuries of:
- Imperialism: more specifically, cultural imperialism which is essentially one cultural dominating another. (IE: white folks and everyone we’ve ever invaded ever. Including each other.)
- Racism: justifies the appropriation by making various cultural/racial/ethic groups marginalised, oppressed and seen as inferior by the privileged group.
- Exoticism: justifies commodification and objectification.
- Entitlement: thinking that oppressed people’s culture, society, and spirituality are up for grabs.
- Unawareness of privilege: based on misunderstanding of power dynamics, entitlement, exoticism and racism
Why is cultural appropriation harmful?:
Cultural appropriation reinforces oppression because it invalidates and commodifies marginalised groups.
- Invalidates: the culture/society/the people
- Homogenizes: lets look at the white girls wearing warbonnets and mukluks. War bonnets are worn traditionally only by various Native plains tribes and mukluks are boots made of usually seal skin warn/made traditionally by Alaskan/Arctic natives. This haphazard and disrespectful throwing together different pieces of two completely different Native cultures which is portraying an image of homogeneity and reinforces the stereotype that there is just one Native American culture and they are all the same, which reinforces oppression and racism.
- Commodifies: putting a monetary value on something that should not be sold or purchased or marketed in any way, eg. spiritual practices.
- Reinforces stereotypes: which reinforce oppression and racism-a tool of colonisation.
- Distorts traditions into inaccurate and offensive caricatures
- Romanticises cultures: often this is something that results in entire groups of people being seen as ‘something that used to exist’ as opposed to people with lives and cultures that exist and flourish today. You get this a lot with Native American and Canadian culture.
- Eroticises/exoticizes people: this is incredibly dehumanising.
Read more specifically here:
Why are dreadlocks considered cultural appropriation?
Why You Shouldn’t Wear a Bindi