What is cultural appropriation? You have probably heard of it before, but how does it apply to you?
Cultural appropriation is the adoption of another cultural groups' elements, including clothing, symbols, art, music, religion, language, and social behavior by another culture that is often more privileged. On college campuses this often is brought into focus around Halloween and costume planning. It's funny if you dress up as a celebrity or powerful figure, but when you dress up as a culture that may have been oppressed in the past, you are reinforcing power structures in offensive ways or using another culture for your own entertainment. Cultural appropriation belittles another culture in a way that trivializes an entire way of life by turning it into an accesory.
So, what should you do if a friend is considering a costume that is culturally appropriated? Make sure to say something, and suggest another costume that is not likely to be hurtful. Here are some other ideas!
- Your favorite animal or mythical creature
- A Super Hero
- Celebrity, historical figure, or politician
- Your favorite food (i.e. cover yourself in purple/green/red baloons and go as grapes!)
And remember, Give it. Get it. EXPECT RESPECT.
Courtesy of: Courtney Maliszewski