CULTURAL APPROPRIATION

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∞ Marisela Diaz

imageCultural appropriation is the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of another culture.

Cultural appropriation is not the same as cultural exchange where two or more groups are sharing their culture. Cultural appropriation occurs when the group that is appropriating borrows part of a culture without understanding the significance of the culture from which they are borrowing. There are many instances where people culturally appropriate, but the most obvious is during Halloween. This can be a harmless holiday but there are instances where people dress up in costumes such as a “tribal princess” or “tequila bandito.”

These costumes are inappropriate because a culture is not a costume. Plus the costumes are perpetrating harmful stereotypes, often of people of color. Some may say that it’s just a costume or that they are actually appreciating the culture, but really that’s not the case.

So if you’re one of those people are who are thinking of wearing next year’s  “boracho” costume, don’t. That is unless you are prepared to pay the consequences behind the racist gesture.