Check out the following images.
Don't see what's wrong with them? Let's start with everything. This, my friends, is cultural appropriation. After you have clicked the link and are now aware of the wiki definition, I INSIST you check your privilege here.
Some people, such as the ones in the images above, carry this radical notion that emulating certain cultures is a way of expressing their appreciation and deep respect for them. What they fail to realize is that they are actually disrespecting those cultures in a very profound way.
Let's break it down:
Picture 1 – This dude and a bunch of other participating white people decided to replicate and reenact the Indian religious festival of Holi. Why? Oh, because it's pretty and colorful and looks like so much fun! Why didn't they just have a massive paintball or waterballoon fight instead, you ask? Well silly, it wouldn't be considered cool, or edgy, or free-spirited if it didn't have a religious/cultural connotation slapped on it now would it?
Picture 2 – Headdresses are considered sacred in Native communities and they are reserved for the most respected and revered leaders. The girl in the picture is not only insulting this Native tradition but is wearing the headdress as a fashion accessory. The lovely cigarette smoking adds the icing to this cake.
Picture 3 – Wearing bindi's is another stupid trend.
Not only do I not like her because her face looks extremely annoying, this girl is yet another person who hasn't considered the religious implications behind wearing the bindi. And even if she was putting it on to honor that (which in itself is wrong), someone like her still cannot wear a bindi because of All These Reasons.
Picture 4 – Are you a rastafarian? No? Then take a pair of scissors and cut those off (and in case you still haven't gotten the idea for why this is wrong as well, read this).
Picture 5 – Yes Lady Gaga, you like to be known for your crazy, over-the-top outfits but this is disgusting. She's made a mockery of the faith and culture associated with the burqa by prancing around in it and being so awesome. Reality: Muslim women get so much shit for wearing it but somehow, it's okay when liberated white woman Lady Gaga does it.
What you should take away from this:
Cultural appropriation takes the cultural of a group of people, usually people of color, and turns it into a caricature. Despite what you may believe, appropriation hurts more than it helps. Wearing an afro wig doesn’t promote acceptance of Afros; sexy geisha/bollywood costumes doesn’t improve images of Asian women, it eroticizes them and turns them into objects to be consumed and exploited.
So here's the deal: My culture is not a trend. Stop commodifying it.