Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cultural appreciation is not cultural appropriation

Photo credit: Rocio Valdez

Photo credit: Rocio Valdez

Photo credit: Rocio Valdez

Monique Nethington

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How can people who fight constantly for equality be the same people that feed the divide that is quickly growing in this country?

A short answer, and frankly only one of the answers: they claim cultural appropriation in every situation they can without even knowing the entire story.

One can not claim to fight for equality if your are constantly segregating your own culture by claiming you are the only one that can explore and embrace it.


Do not just automatically berate someone for wearing their hair in dreadlocks, listening to hip-hop music or because they decided to wear an aztec inspired top at the latest music festival.

When you do this you make yourself no better than the white radicals of this country.

To claim that someone is appropriating one’s cultural you must first understand what cultural appropriation is, and in reality what cultural is.

First, culture and race can mean different things to a lot of people. Some might say their race has nothing to do with their culture, while some would say their culture has everything to with their race.

However, by definition, culture directly relates to your ethnicity which is the term for the culture of people in a given geographic region. This encompases its language, religion, heritage and customs. To be a member of an ethnic group is to conform to some or all of those practices.

Cultural appropriation is when a majority group steals elements of a minority cultural as its own. It is separate from appreciation and borrowing.

Appropriation is done with malice.

So, are you really going to say the drunk girl at Coachella wearing an aztec embroidered top, with turquoise accented jewelry is maliciously appropriating your culture?

Probably not. So than why must you shame her?

She could honestly be wearing her garb out of appreciation for your culture, or it could be her culture– YOU HONESTLY DON’T KNOW.

She may look white but for all you know she could be full hispanic, or even half, but just because she doesn’t look like you she can’t wear what she is wearing.

The second side is that she is just completely naive at the fact that what she may be doing is appropriating culture.

Rather than yelling at her, inform her of what you consider a fashion faux paux. Get to know why she is wearing what she is wearing. Learn from each other.

All Americans can take note of this.

We are supposed to be a country of immigrants who are constantly fighting for equality.

It’s time we start acting like the melting pot of country that we claim to be.

The beauty of being a melting pot is that we meld together all these different cultures together to make one culture– AN AMERICAN CULTURE.

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Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.
Cultural appreciation is not cultural appropriation