31 Things White People Should Culturally Appropriate From Black Americans


Everybody wanna be a n****, but don’t nobody really wanna be a n**** has never rang more true when it comes to culture appropriation. I mean I get it. Black culture and entertainment is fun, it’s cool, it’s fresh, it’s stylish, it has a beat, and it’s original and even makes for a great Instagram selfie. Black issues, not so much. However, oddly enough black issues have been trending among the black community long before anyone could put a hash tag on it. And that’s one of the problems with culture appropriation – the cafeteria-style tactic some white people take to blackness.

It’s all blonde cornrow selfies and Kylie Jenner lip challenges until a black person gets shot during a “routine” traffic stop, then it’s crickets. But wait, where are those same people who took such pride in black culture and even tweeted about how dope the new Kendrick Lamar CD was during the recent onslaught of deaths that included: Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, the Emanuel Nine, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Aiyana Jones, Rekia Boyd, Tamir Rice, and sadly others. I’m guessing they were at Whole Foods Instagraming their kale salad lunch. While I understand life goes on even in the light of tragedy, but acknowledgement goes a long ways. It doesn’t have to be politically or racially rooted. But usually when someone loses their life, condolences are in order. Still, make no mistake. It’s open season, and I’ve only been seeing one type of prey. Another major problem with culture appropriation is that it doesn’t provide appropriators with a full spectrum of experiences of that culture’s community.

Appropriators are doing themselves such a great disservice if they think the black experience is just limited to hairstyles and hip-hop. Therefore, I decided to put together a list of things White people really should start appropriating, so they can truly have a holistic, intimate grasp on blackness. Now, I’m not suggesting that any of the below should happen to anyone. Marginalized or not, everyone deserves to have their basic human rights respected. However, if there was an alternate universe where White people could experience any of the below on a macro level, then I’m confident there’d be a lot more awareness and empathy to go around – rare qualities. So, in no particular order are 31 things White people should start culturally appropriating. You’re welcome and appropriate away!

  1. Slavery
  2. Police brutality
  3. Guilty until proven innocent
  4. Low socioeconomic status
  5. Being villainized
  6. Relentless racial awareness
  7. Desexualization
  8. Oversexualization
  9. Inability to easily/properly track family roots and ancestors
  10. Overrepresentation in the prison system
  11. Underrepresentation in mainstream media
  12. Being nappy (just because I think it’d be funny and getting a perm doesn’t count)
  13. Food deserts
  14. Being publically stoic in racially charged times
  15. Culture appropriation masked as inspiration or culture exchange
  16. Representing their entire race
  17. 43 Black presidents and one White president
  18. Low property value
  19. All the fuckery that happens on dating apps
  20. High-poverty schools
  21. Doubt of any mental illnesses
  22. Historically not having the right to vote
  23. Being used for your votes
  24. Disparities in wage trajectory
  25. Colorism
  26. Self-hatred based on race
  27. Being told you’re cute for a white guy or girl
  28. Being labeled a thug for protesting
  29. Teaching kids in your family under seven about race relations, and where they fit in those relations
  30. Being ignored, overlooked, and/or talked over in work meetings
  31. Being told you’re being sensitive about all of the above