You Can Stop Calling These 7 Things Cultural Misappropriations


1. Headscarves.

In present day America, the headscarf is primarily associated with the hijab, a piece of clothing worn by Muslim women after they reach the age of puberty. Generally, this is seen by Americans and non-Muslims as a sign of bondage or inferiority to their male counterparts. However, the headscarf has been a staple of fashion since the sun started burning our scalp, as well as when humans began to realize they had to find a way around a “bad hair day.” In the 1960s, headscarves were extremely popular, often paired with bug-eye sunglasses on a summer day. They are an effective and simple way to protect your head and face from the elements while keeping cool. It’s also a fantastic accessory and alternative to wearing a hooded sweatshirt or hat. Wearing a headscarf doesn’t make you Muslim, but if you’re worried about people thinking you are then you should really consider reevaluating your priorities more than your wardrobe.

2. Dreadlocks.

It’s necessary to talk about this hairstyle, especially in light of the dis about Zendaya’s dreads at the Oscars. Oh wait, no we don’t. Why? Because it’s just a hairstyle! Nobody’s complaints about straight, platinum blonde hair being too gringo ever went viral. Hair is hair; it’s on YOUR head. Wear it how you want and don’t judge others for how they wear theirs regardless of the color of their skin.

3. Men’s Earrings.

In this era of the war on social equality, little things can spark a big debate. In minority communities, it’s perfectly normal to see a male wearing earrings without dubbing him as “alternative” or allowing this to speak for his sexuality. Since when did earrings have to do with sexual orientation? Okay, maybe if George Takei came down a red carpet wearing a giant earring from one ear that had “I’M GAY” written in diamonds…but, anything short of that is just another accessory. So, men, bling it up.

4. Being a pacifist.

Being opposed to violence doesn’t make you un-American. It doesn’t make you a Buddhist Monk. And it certainly doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means that you care about the people around you and their wellbeing — whether you share their beliefs or not. And that? That’s humane. Thank you for being human.

5. Language.

And I’m not just talking about racial slurs. The English term “beef steak” has been appropriated by many other languages, including French and Spanish, as “bistec.” You can appropriate words without it being racist or harmful. In fact, all languages are just regurgitations of other languages, some ancient and others still in use.

6. Twerking.

So what if white girls want to twerk? Yes, I found that video of that Russian Twerk team a little hard to watch, but that wasn’t because of their dance ability as much as it was my concern for the exploitation of possible minors. Those girls may not have a lot to work with, but they sure can make it work. This isn’t the first time dance or music has been attributed to one culture and been met with great negativity when adopted by another either. Jazz, Blues, Swing, all the way down to Country music. Not to make this about Battlestar Galactica, but, “All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.” Unless, of course, we stop being so concerned with cultural isolation and start concerning ourselves with human identity.

7. Smoking Weed.

As marijuana becomes legal in various parts of American, I’d like to remind everybody that alcohol wasn’t always legal either. Just as many opposers of the use of medical marijuana suggest that they don’t want to be absorbed by the “Stoner Culture,” during prohibition people used to spiel about the disastrous effects of allowing people to decide for themselves whether they can use alcohol and with what degree of self-control. But that’s not the topic of this article. What I’d like to address here is that perhaps it’s time to let go of the term “stoner.” When your grandma is getting high in her living room with a batch of homemade cookies in the oven and Conway Twitty on the record player, weed isn’t “hard” or “thug” anymore. No need to get upset when people who don’t smoke use the terms “toke” or “vape.” What you should get peeved about is that your grandma’s prescription kush is higher quality than your street crap.