The holiday of ghouls and spirits is upon us. We get to dress up and see the characters we know and love in horror and fright-night films come to life. The scariest thing you can see on Halloween is cultural appropriation.
Cultural appropriating is one of the things that should not, repeat should not, be part of your costume, cosplay, or daily wear. Cultural appropriation is defined as the adoption or theft of icons, rituals, aesthetic standards and behaviors from one culture or subculture by another.
Spotting appropriation is easy. You just have to watch for the ignorant misconceptions of a respected cultural aspect. Using a culture as a “trend” or the subject of a joke is wrong. It reduces culture to cheap attractiveness.
Some examples of cultural appropriation are statements like “Dreamcatchers are an amazing tattoo idea!” Lame, ignorant and so below the borderline “basic.” It’s appropriating what the Ojibwa people have created the Dreamcatchers for; to protect their people from bad omens and bad juju.
“My clothing is inspired by Geishas in Japan.” Just don’t. It is making the Japanese culture as some exotic and desirable fashion piece to your collection.
The “trend” of hair (braids), clothing (traditional clothing), language (slang or phrases), beliefs/stories (traditional stories), imagery (how you portraying as “part” of the culture) and identity (self-explanatory) are factors of what to identifying as being cultural appropriate by non-personas of that group.
These factors are leading on the stake of cultural identity for the groups of people who created and influenced their self-representation. The stakes are an extension of racism, genocide and oppression even for the way the way this type of portrayal is normalized. This behavior perpetuates the stereotypes for these individual groups of cultural persons.
Cultural appropriation is ignorance that disrespects and commodifies the images of culture that is not intended for incorrect representation for people of culture. This spooky season, look out for the appropriation of culture. and look out for others who are not aware of what is appropriation.