Cultural appropriation is an issue that warrants discussion, and students should be aware and informed.
Cultural appropriation is taking another person’s culture and making it into some sort of trend or otherwise belittling it whether for personal or popular reasons.
In some cases, people are more interested in taking advantage of the culture to generate profit, rather than having respect for the people that are a part of the culture.
For example, Lana Del Ray caused quite the uproar when filming her “Ride” music video, adorning a Native American headdress and waving an American Flag, singing the lyric, “I believe in the country America used to be.”
Many took this to be the glorification of a genocide in a pop music video.
“You can be culturally diverse if you want. You should be able to wear and do whatever you want to yourself, it’s your body not your whole culture’s body,” said junior student Francisco Godinez.
While I do believe in being an individual and doing what you want, I disagree with some choices that people make regarding cultures simply because they believe “it’s cool.”
I have seen many Caucasian students sporting matted dreads that have been made to resemble the locs of people showing their allegiance to Rastafarian culture.
Also, people who use African American Vernacular English (AAVE) such as Madonna, who called her white son the N-word, according to NY Daily News, and was not aware of the subtext behind it, or Pharrell Williams wearing “red face” on British Elle magazine, or Iggy Azalea claiming Miley Cyrus stole twerking from her.
“Cultural appropriation is disrespectful,” said sophomore Sergio Hernandez.
Could it be that our generation is desensitized to other people’s cultures and what they believe in?
Or are we absolutely in the dark about what’s going on in the world?
“I think that whoever is in charge should take some action,” said junior Andre Gildore, about informing students about the consequences of their appropriating behavior.
The media seems to perpetuate such ignorance, so a lot of students may think this kind of behavior is acceptable.
For instance, in January 2014, students at Arizona State University hosted and participated in an MLK-themed party, which received a lot of criticism from civil rights leaders.
“Many people don’t know what cultural appropriation is and one way of remedying this issue is with education. It is key to educate people on other cultures such as traditions and practices,” said Communications Professor Basemeh Rihan.
In my opinion, cultural appropriation is a problem, and our campus is not immune.
As students we should educate ourselves about “borrowing” or imitating traditions from cultures apart from our own because our behavior and actions can be offensive.