Anything can spark a political controversy, even the blunt choices people make every day. This time, we’re diving into the internet’s dilemma that came from a 30-year-old woman who recently shared the tricky situation she got into on the r/AITA subreddit.
“I have always struggled with my hair,” the author recounted and added that the family she was adopted into did little to properly care for her hair, “leading to huge knots and my hair massacred by scissors to make it short.”
It changed when the author got into university, where she met her best friend, who was black. “She showed me hair products from brands intended for black people that really helped with my hair quality and even took me to the salon she went to that catered for black hair types.”
From that point, the author realized that black hair salons were the only place that could really take care of her hair, and she hasn’t looked back ever since. But now that she’s been accused of appropriating black culture by a white friend, the author seeks to find out whether it’s really okay to go to black hair salons.
The 30 y.o. white woman with thick, curly hair says she’s always struggled with her hair, but now that she’s found salons that specialize in black hair, she couldn’t be happier
Image credits: ljubaphoto (not the actual photo)
But she recently got accused of appropriating black culture, so she shared the incident on r/AITA to find out whether she’s wrong to go to black hair salons
Image credits: throwawayamitastoty
The term ‘cultural appropriation’ refers to the adoption of an element or elements of one culture or identity by members of another culture or identity. This becomes controversial when members of a dominant culture appropriate from minority cultures. These elements may include but are not limited to fashion, styles, trends, iconography, artifacts, ideas, speech and so on.
Some of the most talked-about examples of cultural appropriation have been Myley Cyrus twerking, white girls wearing cornrows, Kim Kardashian wearing ‘Om’ earrings, and Selena Gomez wearing Bindi. While many white offenders received huge backlash for appropriating other cultures, others claim it’s an inevitable process, something that’s part of globalization.
The critics of those who take cultural appropriation as an offense claim that guarding cultures and subcultures is essentially counterproductive, and that’s not how culture and creativity work. The exchange of ideas, styles, and traditions is one of the tenets and joys of a modern, multicultural society.
In most cases, cultural appropriation depends on a particular situation and context, thus no general rules of do’s and don’ts can be made. While some cases of cultural appropriation appear to be clearly unethical and exploitative of culture, others fall under the blurred line of what we call an act of appropriated culture.