Assuming you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few days, you should be well aware of the conversation surrounding cultural appropriation currently going around due to the pasty princess Kylie Jenner posting a picture of herself on Instagram in some Urban Outfitter lookin sweats and crop top, complete with cornrows. Looking like a discount, light skin, Riley Freeman with the caption “I woke up like disss”….yes “disss” with a wig stolen straight off a Tyler Perry production.
But anyways, the controversy started when young black queen and actress Amandla Stenberg, whom you may know from her character Rue in “The Hunger Games” and/or her viral video “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows”responded to the photo stating:
“when u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards ur wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdoitbetter.“
Of course white media was in an uproar and went on a rampage, trashing Amandla and coddling poor Parmesan princess Jenner, but I’m not here to talk about that. You can read the full story and see photos of this exchangehere and will find various other stories surrounding this incident all over the internet. What I am here to talk about today, is not this exchange or the media’s bullshit but rather expand of the basic concept behind what Amandla and countless other black people are stating when we call out white people with black hairstyles.
It’s not about the hair. Honestly no one cares if you (white people), want braids in your hair, the physical braids are not the issue. The issue is when white people fetishize black women and black culture, but turn around and ridicule us for practicing OUR OWN culture and/or staying silent on black issues. You call us ghetto for our baby hairs and cornrows in OUR hair, you fire us for the hair that grows naturally out of our head, you call us dirty when we have dreads. You have made it illegal to even provide black hairstyles. You made it illegal for black women to wear their hair exposed (unwrapped).You spend your whole life trashing US for practicing OUR culture, but then you turn around and want to participate in black culture when it’s convenient for YOU and only you, as well as make some cash off our culture and at our expense.
Look we get it, black culture is lit, fun and dope as hell. Everyone wanna have a piece of it because black people are the shit. Frankly, we have never had a problem sharing our culture with people who actually give half a flying fuck about us and respect our culture. Also,many parts of black american culture was created as a way to cope and survive as an oppressed group in America. So when you come along and take the fun parts of it but ignore the injustice and oppressive pieces we use it to cope with, you’re essentially saying:
“I care long as long as it stays happy and fun, but when you all start getting murdered every 28 hours, imma go back to my comfortable white space and take all this shit from you so you can no longer have comfort in your own culture. Oh and I needed some cash and ran out of ideas because i’m basic and uncreative, so i’ll just take this thing you all shared with me and use it for myself without giving any credit to the originators, thanks guys, hope all that injustice stuff goes well”.
In the words of Paul Mooney….
You want to be a part of blackness until it comes time to actually BE black, until it’s time to get racially profile and slaughtered every 28 hours by police. You want to say nigga but don’t want to be treated like a nigger, like we are every single day. You wanna have cornrows until it’s time to face the consequences of having cornrows.
You want to participate in blackness but don’t want to participate in making sure we stay alive, get equal pay? Equal Voting rights and access? Don’t get fired for the way that we look? Racially profiled? Longer sentences for minor crimes? if we even get sentenced at all and not gunned down in the street. You want to participate in blackness as long as you get to keep your whiteness and privilege.
Nah, the least you can do if you’re going to come into the culture you mock us for, is attempt to care if black people live or die. If that is something you can not manage, then stay far the fuck away from us and our culture.
We are not putting up with it anymore. We are not going to stay silent. We will take a stand and we will drag you. You can whine and cry all you want about how “reverse racist” and unfair it is, we don’t care. You WILL start caring about black lives, you WILL start respecting our culture, or you can swerve back over to your dry baked potatoes, unseasoned meatloaf with a cup of Earl Grey tea, and off beat line dancing having ass lane.