Cultural appropriation has always been something that has perplexed me. Like how can folks willingly wear something that is something not from their culture? More so, what irritates me the most is how often items of marginalized cultures get commodified. These items become created and sold for profit. And it is all in the name of capitalism.
Like the kimonos and “peasant shirts” that have been in recent trend in fashion, they can be circulated and accepted because their original owners are not wearing them. It is only when they are by those in the dominant culture, whites, that these items are seen as beautiful and as something worthy of being worn. Yet, if their original owners were to wear these same items they would be judged and marginalized because they are wearing items that signify who they are, and for that they experience what whites do not: the experience of being a marginalized person of color.
In “Cultural Appreciation or Cultural Appropriation?” It notes how cultural appropriation is harmful because it is the extension of “centuries of racism, genocide, and oppression.” And it can be seen easily with how white folks get celebrated and revered when they were items from marginalized cultures, and don’t receive any of the same consequences that people of color do. On white folks, it is beautiful but on people of color it is not. How does that even make sense?! It does not.
By appropriating marginalized cultures, it is simply reiterating the idea that it is okay to take things of people of color and profit off of it. A narrative that is not strange when you think of it. It is something that has been happening for centuries. Those in power, whites, who merely take what is rightfully people of color’s and advance their own agenda’s. And it is all at the detriment of people of color who receive the worst end of it, while white folks reap in the benefits and rewards.