Get Inspired, Be Empowered Forums General Discussions White women with African hairstyles. Is it Cultural Appropriation?

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    Cultural appropriation means the exploitative or oppressive cooptation of elements of one culture by members of a different culture. Now one might wonder how can the cooptation of one’s culture by another be oppressive or exploitative? Well the answer to this question lies in the way one culture is treated by the privileged majority. Take for example, African women. African women have many different hairstyles which are a very crucial part of their culture. But are those African hairstyles treated with respect? No. There have been numerous incidents in American schools where the african child was punished or discrimated because of the hairstyle she chose to do! So when someone’s culture is getting them punished in school, then how is it okay for the privileged majority to opt that part of someone’s culture as their fashion?

    Obviously the privileged majority would not face any prejudice or discrimination for the hairstyle that they adopted from African culture. On the other hand, little girls in school are facing torment of the school authorities for doing something that is a significant part of their culture. So to answer the question that whether white women with African hairstyles is cultural appropriation is a big yes. It would not be cultural appropriation in the world where the african women would not face discrimination for their cultural practices, but sadly we don’t live in such a world right now. Hence, we should be mindful of what kind of cultural practices we adopt from other cultures, and we should be careful to not appropriate any culture.

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