At some point during the course of our daily lives, we’ve all come across certain individuals outside of Black Society who conduct themselves in a manner that appears…quite unique when it comes to how their respective racial groups generally abide by their code(s) of conduct. To some of us who are exposed to these non-Melanoid people, it’s amusing. On the other hand, there are some of us who find their behavior to be annoying, and oftentimes downright offensive. These people are known as “cultural appropriators”.
Although cultural appropriators have been in existence as early as the days when the ancient Greeks would be educated by the great scholars of ancient Kemet (only to steal much of the knowledge and claim it as theirs), it is imperative that our youth are informed about how to properly identify who cultural appropriators are. The reason for this is because many of our youth are in constant interaction with children and teens of other races–as their classmates in school, and their teammates in their youth sports leagues.
It has been said that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. We’d be remiss to acknowledge the world-changing effects of hip-hop (and general Black pop culture) in the modern era. However, let us also acknowledge the difference between imitation and ridicule. Here are a few examples to identify cultural appropriators, and how they “get down”.
Have you ever come across a non-Black male who uses one too many “yo-yos“, and “‘nah means” in your presence as part of their vocabulary, yet you notice how they switch right back to the King’s English in the presence of their white peers? Do you know that non-Black female who refers to her Black boyfriend as a “triflin’ nigga”? These are examples of members of the dominant society who are cultural appropriators via the usage of Black colloquialisms. They are also masking white their supremacist tendencies to disarm their Black buddies by attempting to “talk down” to us.
In the dominant society, there has been a recent trend that has gone viral which involves a longtime tradition in Black Society. What is the tradition, you ask? It is the tradition of wearing the durag. A highly affordable item that we as a people have worn on our heads for many years, it has now found its way to the mainstream media spotlight when it was revealed that white runway models were taking pictures for social media to show off their du-rags.
This is an example which could serve as an article all by itself, but it has often been noted that cultural appropriation runs deepest in music. From Elvis, to Justin Bieber, it’s no secret that Black music’s influence has given birth to some of the dominant society’s most celebrated performers.
Speaking of Black music, perhaps no other form of music is as influential as hip-hop. The genre has grown so rapidly, that it has become a subculture of Black culture, by itself. The culture of hip-hop has been embraced by people from New York to Tokyo. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by people in the dominant society who have bastardized the culture to create media platforms which has a primary focus on Black dysfunction and mediocrity. Some of these media figures look, walk, and talk the part (hip-hop), but their motives are ulterior. Instead of using their platform to highlight Black excellence in the culture of hip-hop, their only focus is to report stories about beefs (especially between Black artists) and deliver content only worthy of making the tabloids. This method isn’t limited to hip-hop journalism alone. This also occurs in sports media as well.
Are you familiar with that fire-and-brimstone preachin’, good word deliverin’ white pastor who does his thing on the pulpit every Sunday in front of a predominantly Black church congregation? For years, we’ve been led to believe that their status as the “man of the cloth” exempted them from scrutiny. After all, we’re all God’s children and bleed the same color blood, right? At least that’s what these white pastors of Black congregations tell us…but it’s now a safe bet to conclude that we can’t even believe that mantra anymore. Hopefully, Joel Osteen and Paula White taught us that lesson.
People generally have a right to like what they like, as is the case with the dominant society’s fixation with Melanoid culture. On the contrary, the tragedy of it all is that their seemingly innocent voyage into Black culture has become a predatory one, robbing us and insulting our intelligence in the process.