Look, I'm really sorry if I offend you, but I'm trying to figure this out: So it's okay for a black cosplayer to play a white character or an asian character to play and race, but a white cosplayer can only play a white character? Isn't that a double-standard? Also, how is me owning sugar skull seat covers different from me eating Mexican food? If I can't own any sugar skull stuff, how can I still appreciate it and have it in my life?
Cultural appropriation is a white sin. Our long history of colonization means that we have harmed and even destroyed many cultures, and all of our own benefit. Cultural appropriation occurs when a white person takes something from another culture, uses it as their own (or modifies it to fit some standard of dominant culture) while condemning its use among the culture it belongs to.
The maliciousness of cultural appropriation is rarely clear cut, though. People think, “But isn’t doing/having this a way of honoring that culture?” A lot of times I’ve heard people say, “But I know a lot about the history and cultural significance of this thing!” Honestly, it doesn’t matter. At all. Cultural appropriation is not about your intent. You could be as well-meaning as it is possible to be, and you’d still be taking something that doesn’t belong to you.
White privilege plays a huge part in our blindness to cultural appropriation.We’re not used to being told that we can’t do something just because of who we are. But the truth is that we’ve screwed people over for a long time and it’s time that we stop.
So much of “white culture” is appropriated, so this means that there are a lot of changes that we need to make. To be clear, this isn’t a punishment. People of color aren’t “taking away our toys because we’ve misbehaved.” They’re “taking away our toys” because they were never ours to begin with. And that can be difficult. Like I said, it’s not something that white people are used to having to do.
For you, it’s sugar skulls. You like them. You enjoy them. But they’re not yours. They were never meant for you. We can’t take things just because we like. them.