15 Pictures That Prove White People Should Not Dress As Other Races
Vogue recently did another Blackface editorial. /Eyeroll. Let’s just break this issue down once and for all. When White people take parts of non-White people’s culture this is cultural appropriation. When White people wear blackface this is racist.
What is cultural appropriation? : ”The adoption of some specific elements of one culture by a different cultural group. It describes acculturation or assimilation, but can imply a negative view towards acculturation from a minority culture by a dominant culture.”
So who is the dominant culture in the United States? White culture. Why is that? Africans were brought to the Americas by White Europeans as slaves. Genocide was committed against Native Americans by White Europeans and they were also held as slaves. Early architecture, railroads, bridges, mining and the like were built on the labor of Chinese immigrants who were discriminated against, paid poorly and disenfranchised. All so that those White Europeans who would become White Americans could have a sustainable economy and homes. When one race (in this case the White race) insists on marginalizing another race (every non-white race), the race that maintains all of the political, social and economic power will become the dominant race.
But all of these minority groups have rights now, so should it be OK to take parts of their culture? Nope. Because America’s White ancestors decided to do a lot of really silly, stupid shit (understatement of the century) to people of color, White people today still benefit from being the dominant culture. This is White privilege.
Wait. What is White privilege? “It refers to the set of societal privileges that white people benefit from beyond those commonly experienced by people of color in the same social, political, or economic spaces (nation, community, workplace, income, etc). The term connotes both obvious and less obvious unspoken advantages that white individuals may not recognize they have, which distinguishes it from overt bias or prejudice. These include cultural affirmations of one’s own worth; greater presumed social status; and freedom to move, buy, work, play, and speak freely”
White people are considered the universal standard of everything: beauty, intelligence, wealth, .etc. It’s why people of any color have no problem going to see a movie with an all White cast but when a movie features an all Black cast it’s considered a “Black movie for Black people.” It’s also why although every race has equal rights, White people still maintain most positions of power and there is an overwhelming disparity between the representation of Whites and people of color in all fields of work.
So why can’t I wear Blackface or dress like a Native American or have a Bollywood themed party even though I am not racist? As a White person you have White privilege. When you dress up like a Native American or when a model puts on Blackface, the model is still recognized as a White person but since they have appropriated the dress of other cultures they are seen as a “cultured” or “exotic” White person. It’s like when you go on vacation to Morocco or Costa Rica and bring back an interesting fabric or piece of jewelry as a souvenir and everyone thinks you’re “cool.” The reality is that the people who actually wear headdresses or who have Black skin or who wear bindis have to deal with all of the social, economic and political marginalization that is associated with that culture. For example, a White model might look fashionable painted with Black skin but someone who is actually born with that skin color will inevitably be associated with a certain race and thereby have to deal with all the prejudices that come with being that race. However a White person will never have to deal with that when appropriating culture because of White privilege.
Furthermore. White people, being the dominant culture that they are, when they appropriate the cultures of other races to the world that representation of the culture is the one that everyone sees. It’s only inevitable that unless you grew up as a part of a certain culture you won’t fully understand it enough to represent it. When White people portray other races they are sending a misleading image of that race or culture to the world. Essentially it promotes racial and cultural stereotypes.
Remember, having “good intentions” does not mean your worldview or behavior isn’t racist or ignorant.