cultural appropriation

cultural appropriation has nothing to do with consent. just because locals or your friends of that culture assist and even support you in wearing an ethnic costume or participating in cultural activities etc. doesn’t mean what you’re doing is automatically defanged.

i recently saw an “influencer” on instagram post a series of pictures from her travels to India, one of which was of her posing in a sari—she talked about how “special” India felt, how it has “the most colour, uniqueness and personality” of all the places she’s visited and how she felt compelled to take pictures of everything she saw because it was all so “incredible”—and it just didn’t sit well with me because of the undertones of cultural exotification and fetishisation. it’s not helped by the fact that photography, especially in the context of voyeuristic travelling or “spiritual self-improvement,” can reinforce the treatment of foreign cultures as passively existing to serve and be subsumed by your personal motives and interests. like susan sontag said, “A way of certifying experience, taking photographs is also a way of refusing it–by limiting experience to a search for the photogenic, by converting experience into an image, a souvenir.” the tone of fascination and credulous awe towards Indian society in her caption doesn’t do her performance of cultural appreciation any justice. she was being appreciative, sure, but to speak of the experience as an “adventure” that you can’t wait to “share” with people (your instagram/youtube followers), aka as part of a personal “broadening my horizons through cultural immersion” journey, is to commodify it to some extent and, by extension, to commodify the culture that you’re exploring. particularly in the context of an instagram post, it is an example of how photography is used as “one of the principal devices for experiencing something, for giving an appearance of participation… having a camera has transformed [the tourist / spectator] into something active, a voyeur… A photograph is not just the result of an encounter between an event and a photographer; picture-taking is an event in itself, and one with ever more peremptory rights–to interfere with, to invade, or to ignore whatever is going on. Our very sense of situation is now articulated by the camera’s interventions.”

this all exacerbates the problem of cultural appropriation, because it’s enabled and even facilitated by the practice of photography. it’s like you’re trying to lay claim to another reality by tokenising it. and the very ability to adopt and indulge in such a voyeuristic attitude speaks to your position in society and how it allows you to be uncritical of your actions and motives like this.

If u wanna know the difference between culture appropriation vs appreciation? Literally just look at what Angelina Jolie is doing —


Her visit to Pakistan? Everyone remember that?

Oh yeah, and she got a RIDICULOUSLY painful traditional tattoo from Thailand, done by monks like how it’s meant to be done.


And remember when she ate bugs in Cambodia while explaining that when Cambodians were starved of food, they relied on insects?


THIS is cultural appreciation

White people can’t have dreads!

They just can’t! This isn’t even an opinion it’s a fact! Look:



Shit white people do:


Like let’s be honest, do those look ANYTHING alike? No? Didn’t think so🤷🏾‍♀️😂

I know they won’t stop doing this appropriative shit even though it doesn’t compare in any way to the real thing and white people just shouldn’t do it from a moral/ethical viewpoint but they will continue to so here’s the deal.

We’re no longer calling that shit white people do dreads, from now on when white people try (and fail) to imitate dreads they’ll be called matts.

Because it literally looks like they matted their hair together with glue to make grinch fingers sprout out they heads lol.

So one more time





Live it, learn it, love it👌🏾

Thanks for coming to me TED talk


Haha WOW a lot of racism and ignorance in the comments from white people about this! Let’s just clear something up

White people wearing dreadlocks are considered cultural appropriation here because for decades (and even still today) white people would make fun of black women and men for their natural hairstyles. After slavery black women would have to straighten their hair to find work and black men would have to shave. The same can be said for today. Today in order for many black woman to be seen as “professional” they have to have straight hair and for black men they have to cut off all their hair.

Today black children are kicked out of schools for their dreadlocks and it is only illegal in ONE state to discriminate against a black persons natural hair. That means in 49 states it is completely legal to fire a black person, kick a black child out of school, and discriminate against a black person just because of their hair.

Also many black women grow up being told our natural hair isn’t as beautiful as string straight hair. This is told to us by the beauty industry, social media, our parents, and society. This is why now it is so hurtful and disrespectful to see our hairstyles and culture copied by the very same people who made fun of us and told us our hairstyles were “ghetto”, “unprofessional”, and “ugly”.

Also the vast majority y’all just don’t have the biological hair texture for it and if you’re not black and you do then it’s still wrong to appropriate this hairstyle! I hope this helps explain the situation a little better for y’all.


Unappropriated Beauty“ is a poster ad campaign tackling the issue of cultural appropriation in a non-accusatory, educational way. These adverts are size-compatible to fit in different settings, including bus shelters, billboards, mobile devices, and magazines. The goal of this project is to educate the consumers of appropriative media so that they are better equipped to decide for themselves what is and what is not cultural appropriation, and therefore lowering the tolerance for appropriation being applauded in the media.

Some ways non-Mexicans can be respectful this Día de Muertos, presented by your local trans Mexican:

  • Don’t base and assume everything about this tradition from popular media like Coco, as great as it is, it was still ultimately produced by a white multi-billionaire company that exploits its workers that tried to take the audience’s attention from actual Mexican cartoonists that wanted to make a movie about our tradition (yuppp, that’s Disney for you)
  • If you’re not Mexican and you want to do Mexican sugar skull makeup, I really really encourage you to do just a regular skull instead. Although I am okay with people using this as long as they are respectful and understand the roots and culture behind it, I know a lot of Mexicans that are not and I support their stance since I am very wary of non-Mexicans using them.
  • Don’t make jokes about this day, as someone that actually has deceased family from Mexico and plans to celebrate this, I cannot stress enough how disrespectful this
  • Educate yourself about our traditions if you want to, but don’t pretend to know more than actual Mexicans please
  • Don’t mess with our ofrendas please. Again, super disrespectful.
  • Actually don’t mess with anything related to this day, not even flowers of cempasúchil or sugar skull. Period.
  • Don’t dismiss our tradition as a dumb superstition or anything like that. For many of us this day is really important, including myself, and that is entirely disrespectful towards us and our cultures (you shouldn’t dismiss any holidays/special days for other cultures either!)
  • Above all, educate yourself and instead of making this about you, use this day to highlight Mexican voices rather than your own.

Thank you! Gracias! Feliz día de muertos!!!

Non-Mexicans are encouraged to reblog, without comments

A Note on Cultural Appropriation

If you’re not Native American, its not smudging its smoke cleansing.

If you’re not Native American, its not a spirit animal, it’s an animal guide, patronus or daemon. (And no it’s not a totem animal either.)

If youre not African American or Afro-Carribean, it’s not a voodoo doll it’s a poppet.

Yes, you’re not wrong in pointing out that i just gave you a list of synonyms. No one is saying that these CONCEPTS are inherently appropriation. But specific terms carry their specific ties. Know what ties are for you, and what aren’t.

“I am Native American from the Omaha tribe in Nebraska. My Indian name means ‘shooting star.’ I wish the world knew that we do still exist. And, no, we don’t all live in tepees. When I see people in headdresses or Native American accessories, I feel disrespected. They don’t know the meaning behind it, how we wear it, or what we do to earn it. This is a real eagle feather. It doesn’t just fall off an eagle and someone says, ‘Oh, here — it’s yours.’ You have to earn it in my culture. I feel powerful when I wear it, more confident, and more connected to my ethnicity. I’ve never been embarrassed about being Native American. I take pride in it. I love how spiritual we are — it’s like we’re in tune with the Earth and the universe. I know there’s no other culture out there like mine.”

Daunnette Reyome