A facebook page, a tumblr, a poem, countless headlines and memes.
Apparently people have a lot to say to white girls.
Now before anyone loses their shit, I do agree that there is racism in society today. And maybe more common that that, there are the hidden biases that, however unintentional, have negative effects on those who are not white. I try to recognize and be grateful for the fact that I don’t know what that is like.
But, (you knew there had to be a ‘but’) I disagree with two articles I read today that reeled you in with this or a similar headline. Both were about the cultural appropriation happening at Coachella. Now, I still struggle to understand where things go from being fashion or flattery by imitation to a mockery. As a kid, I was a gymnast. And when I competed, I wore cornrow-style braids in my hair. I didn’t do it because I wanted to be black. I didn’t do it because black girls did it. I did it because it was one of the only ways to keep my hair in place on my head through four hours of flipping, jumping, tumbling, and rolling around on mats and floors. Was that inappropriate of me?
But that wasn’t my biggest beef. No, what bothered me more was the arguments against Native American headdresses. The first article I read said that they were a sign of power that only chiefs deserved to wear. You know what else used to be reserved for royalty? Crowns. Tiaras. The color purple. Things that anyone can wear now. But a tiara from the dollar store holds no meaning. Even an expensive one means nothing on the head of girl at prom or turning 16. And the same thing goes for the feathered head pieces that festival-goers were wearing. Yes, they are honorable and noble when worn by the men who earned them. But these are not those and they do not mean the same thing.
Now the second article got me even more confused. A Native American girl was horrified at her decision to post a selfie of herself in her grandfather’s headdress on facebook after hearing a stat on how Native American women are more likely to be sexually assaulted. She could not believe that she had contributed to this epidemic through her sexualization of traditional Native American dress.
Hang on now. The sexualization of Native American women is what’s leading to the rise of their sexual assault? Now tell me that the same people who are upset about the cultural appropriation are not also the ones who tout that they have a right to dress, talk, act however they want and not be raped. Women in skimpy “Native American” costumes are responsible? Hell no. Rapists are responsible for rape. Plain and simple.
You can’t have it both ways, ladies. You can’t fight for equality and say that women deserve as much as men and then turn around and call a woman disrespectful for wearing a traditionally male garment. You can’t say that rapists are the only ones responsible for sexual assault, not their victims, but then also think that posting a picture of a pretty girl in a headdress contributes to the problem.
Let’s stop tearing each other apart for conflicting reasons, ladies! And if you have a problem with someone, talk to them about it. Don’t write a letter blaming everyone who’s not like you.