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Appropriated or Appreciated. What’s the difference?

Culture is appreciated and appropriated very often, especially in social media

October 29, 2021

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     In social media you can search up anything. People get inspiration from Instagram, Pinterest, Tiktok, etc… One problem with getting inspiration from social media, especially fashion inspiration, is if it is disrespecting a culture. When someone does disrespect a culture, it is called appropriation. Appropriating may not be on purpose, but we still need to educate people on what is appropriate to make a trend and wear.   

     Before determining what are some things that are acceptable to wear and say, people need to know the difference between appropriation and appreciation. According to the website, Oxford Languages, cultural appropriation means the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of customs, practices, ideas, etc… of one people or society by members of another.  Typically, it is the more dominant people of society that appropriate.  In other words, it is a group of people taking something related to a culture and claiming it as their own or making it a trend. According to the website, Greenheart, when someone is appreciating a culture, they are trying to “understand and learn about another culture in an effort to broaden their perspective with others cross-culturally”.    

     When it comes to appropriation, celebrities are no stranger to it. From Kim Kardashian wearing a traditional Indian jewelry, to Marc Jacobs hosting a runway show for New York fashion week, with all white models wearing dreadlocks and many more. The most common place you see this happen is music videos. A great example of that was Katy Perry in 2013 at the American Music awards. She was wearing a Japanese kimono. Katy was called out for disrespecting and misinterpreting the outfit. She did apologize. One big place where people appropriate is Coachella, a music and arts festival. One of the biggest things people tend to wear is Native American head dresses. On multiple occasions, people have worn controversial things to big events. If you don’t know if you are appropriating, don’t wear it. 

     If you want to appreciate a culture, the best thing you can do, is learn about culture.  Another thing you can do is if you want to buy something that is related to a culture such African waist beads, buy from African/black owned business. Buy products from someone who is in the culture. The best thing to do is just research on your own time.  

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