3 Ways Non-Black Folks Should Put Respect On The Black Culture They’re Loving
Cultural appropriation is a bit of flattery and a hard slap in the face at the same time.
September 15, 2020 at 1:13 am
There’s a well known quote that says, “Everyone wants to be black until the cops come.” Today, it seems those words couldn’t be more truthful.
There seems to be a fetish when it comes to Black culture and its influence in the world. From the music, clothing, hair, food, fashion and almost everything in-between, Black culture is picked apart and used in modern day society for just about everything you can imagine. People all around the world enjoy what the culture brings to them, but not so much the people that are attached to it.
The conflict of Black culture being used in mainstream media and brands sticks out like a sore thumb when trends are being appropriated, renamed and just plain out stolen. The problem lies here: Why is it that things once deemed “ghetto” or “too Black” are now the things to rave about? Braids, du-rags, extra long nails, gold teeth, excessive jewelry and street-wear are all parts of what define Black culture, yet, it’s only accepted widely when a celeb or influencer, not connected to the culture, gives their spin of the trend to the world.
Other minorities outside of the American Black culture generally have a sense of unity in their heritage and upbringing that they can identify with. Black culture is unique in the sense that many black americans do not have a detailed family tree of where, who and what their family history is made up of, outside of slavery. So for those in the black culture who have worked effortless to find a sense of placement in this world after years of suppression due to mainstream backlash, the simple fact that black culture is being exploited by others who have an actual identity to hold on to, is where angst forms.
It’s a bit of flattery and a hard slap in the face at the same time. If people are going to embrace the culture and the things that come with it, then they should also embrace the innovators of color that started the trend(s) they are obsessing over and false calming as their own. A lack of recognition is present when it comes to giving Black creators the recognition they deserve. From Miley Cyrus, The Kardashians, Drag Culture, Runway Fashions and countless numbers of social influencers, so many have taken it upon themselves to coin phrases or styles that are synonymous with black culture, and quite frankly it's a middle finger up to every black creator not receiving the credit that's due.
Platforms like Tik Tok are notorious for highlighting copycats in place of the original content creators, which proves the point of popularity only surrounding non-POCs that are deemed cool. The excitement for the things we do and create is getting quite old, especially if the same energy isn’t placed around giving the real creators the respect that’s due.
The problem here is not so much surrounding cultural appropriation, but more-so cultural appreciation. When people are using a culture that’s not their own for personal gain with no real interest to learn about the history of it, it triggers the people who have worked hard to get their heritage, work and lineage recognized by the world. Respect will come from the Black community when people go into a situation looking to gain a full perspective on the culture, allowing room for them to make a real life connection, instead of a mockery.
There are a few things that can be implemented into the patterns of non-POCs in order to give the respect that’s due and also learn from the culture — instead of exploiting it.
Here are a few tips for those who love — and respect — Black culture: