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Cultural Appropriations??

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Time Zone: EST (New York, Toronto)
Messenger: Empress lioness 9 Sent: 3/19/2019 1:28:02 PM

Blessings, Idren
INI ran across this article and found some parts relevant for reasoning. Especially since the amount of ones n ones who added input to this work are many.

(((taken from GAL-DEM))

Haile Selassie I 👑;;

"A while back, here at gal-dem we asked our readers to send us in questions about anything they wanted us to answer. What surprised is how often the same question came up in various forms: what is cultural appropriation? Why canít white people wear dreadlocks? Are black people who wear weave cultural appropriators too?

In a week that saw Justin Bieber get dreadlocks and a black woman go viral for arguing with a white dude about having the hairstyle himself, itís about time we answer these questions, so that you never have to ask us again. Here is a starting block for those who genuinely donít know, and for those who do to send to their friends so they donít have to keep explaining things themselves.

What are dreadlocks?

Dreadlocks are a hairstyle in which the hair strands are locked together and manipulated into thicker individual ropes. They can be achieved through various methods, such as twisting the hair or through ceasing to comb through hair until dreadlocks are formed. Due to the tight kinky and curly strand patterns of Afro hair, dreadlocks are more likely to form naturally with this hair type than others. There is a misconception that dreadlocks have to be dirty, but this is false. Fully formed dreadlocks require the same levels of cleanliness as any other hairstyle, if not more, as they are more likely to catch lint and dirt due to the nature of their design.

What is cultural appropriation?

At a basic level, cultural appropriation is the process of adopting certain elements of another culture, such as practices, ideas, or symbols, and removing them from their original cultural context. It is considered inappropriate for many reasons, such as the profiting off the intellectual property of other cultures, disrespecting spiritual or religious figures and practices, and the double-standards involved when a dominant culture adopts aspect of a culture they have historically oppressed.

Which culture do dreadlocks belong to?

Most ethnicities have a claim on wearing locked hair in some way, depending on how far back you go. Ancient Greeks and Egyptians were known to sport dreadlocks, as did the Vikings, allegedly, a fact that gets brought up often to defend white people wearing dreadlocks*. However, these cultures have since died out, which means dreadlocks havenít been a dominant part of white culture for about a thousand years.

Dreadlocks have been consistently worn by various ethnic tribes in Africa, and have similarly been sported by the black diaspora as a maintenance tool. They also hold religious symbolism in some sections of Hinduism. However, in the modern-day 21st century of which we all currently live, dreadlocks are most commonly associated with the Rastafari movement which developed amongst black Jamaicans, through which dreadlocks hold spiritual significance.

So, although all ethnicities have a history of sporting dreadlocks, anybody who wishes to deny that dreadlocks are a black hairstyle within the cultural context of the present is in denial.

(*Although my Google search couldnít actually uncover any sources to prove Vikings had dreadlocks, but some of yíall are really adamant that they did.)

But hair is just hair. How can it be appropriated?

Most hairstyles donít hold any cultural symbolism, or are witnessed across many cultures, and so itís not offensive to adopt them. But different hair types are better suited to different styles, and so certain styles undeniably become linked to certain ethnicities.

When someone from a dominant culture or ethnicity adopts a hairstyle that is linked to a culture or ethnicity that has been systematically oppressed by that group, several forms of appropriation can occur:

When the dominant group claims they have invented that hairstyle, and donít give proper recognition to those whoíve been rocking it the longest. An examples of this include the re-invention of corn rows as a ďnew epicĒ style created by Kendall Jenner that wasnít rocked by seemingly every black R&B singer in the late nineties and early noughties.
When the dominant culture is praised for wearing a hairstyle, but those from the cultural background associated with that hairstyle get villified for it. Like when Zendaya, a black woman, wore faux-locs and her hair was described as smelling like ďpautchouli oil or weed.Ē Yet when white Kylie Jenner wears faux-locs, she got to be on the cover of Teen Vogue.
When the hairstyle is used by the dominant culture to make a mockery of the wider culture it came from. This can be done on a subconscious level, such as when white people get dreadlocks, then listen to Reggae and smoke weed and mimic many other superficial aspects of Rastafari culture, but ignore that a pretty large part of the Rastafari movement is the liberation of black people from white oppression (shout out to Ras Trent for epitomising this double standard). It can also be done in a really blatant way, like those ďrasta hatsĒ with fake dreadlocks attached, sold by joke shops as a costume, often seen combined with blackface.
Even if youíre a white person with dreadlocks and donít think the above points apply to you, the fact is these things still happen, and whereas black people with dreadlocks donít have the privilege of ignoring them, you do, and thatís a problem.

Itís like this: imagine handing in your homework and someone else getting all the credit, then your teacher making fun of how awful your own identical work is in front of everyone. Thatís what it can feel like for black people when white people wear dreadlocks.

But when black people wear straight weave, arenít they appropriating white European culture?

Other than the facts that a) most hair extensions are exported from Asia, b) some black people have naturally straight hair, and c) all ethnicities have been known to wear extensions, the real answer to this question is that there is a difference between cultural appropriation and cultural assimilation.

Cultural assimilation is where ethnic minorities adopt the cultural practices of the dominating culture to assimilate into it. Black people who wear weave usually do so because, due to the far reach of Western colonialism and modern globalisation, the dominating culture is one that emphasises Western features as more beautiful, palatable and accepted, and less Western features, such as Afro hair and dark skin, as unprofessional and uglier.

Cultural assimilation is enforced through the dominating culture. You can see evidence of this in articles weíve previously published, such as this black woman whose job offer was revoked when her braids (a hairstyle used by black women to maintain their hair) was deemed ďagainst their grooming requirementsĒ, when our author Yero Timi-Biu couldnít get a flat because of her foreign-sounding name, and our #skinlighteningseries which highlighted how European companies use coded language and advertising campaigns to market dark skin as a problem to be fixed. I even wrote about how the pressure to culturally assimilate caused me to change my government name.

So, when people of colour adopt dominant Western cultural practices, itís not a case of doing it to be cute, itís because it can genuinely make living within that culture easier.

Tell me straight. Can I, as a white person, wear dreads?

Yes, you can. In the same way you can also choose to use racial slurs, or ignore systematic oppression. But you wonít be exempt from criticism for the reasons I listed above. In a society that puts emphasis on free speech, you have the freedom to wear dreadlocks, and black people have the freedom to explain to you why they find it racist or offensive. We are not entitled to all things. We cannot get away with doing everything we want at all times. Make of that what you will.

Messenger: Nesta1 Sent: 3/19/2019 8:46:08 PM

Thanks for the post. Very thought-provoking.

The article states: "At a basic level, cultural appropriation is the process of adopting certain elements of another culture, such as practices, ideas, or symbols, and removing them from their original cultural context. It is considered inappropriate for many reasons..."

I can't agree with that completely, although I will acknowledge that one probably has to consider specific cultural exchanges on a case-by-case basis. All cultures are the historical products of borrowing from and blending with other cultures to varying extents, so to declare that we have reached a stop-point in history at which cultures are fixed domains and start apply some type of Babylon "intellectual property" notions to cultural trapping goes against the nature of human interaction and natural cultural evolution. All ideas and innovations (i.e., our very ability to think and create) are gifts to us from JAH, so sharing them with one another is natural for RastafarI.

Recently I've read a history of the expansion of the Bantu speaking people throughout various parts of Africa. Needless to say, in addition to transferring language and technology, the Bantu people imparted and received cultural influences to/from the various populations with which they mixed. This type of "cross pollination", if you will, spurs creativity and innovation.

Fusions of different cultures in areas such as music and cuisine have resulted in some of the most splendid creations in those arenas (e.g, jazz). When I consider the big picture, America the Babylon has been quite successful & prolific in spreading the toxic elements of its decadent commercial "culture" to every corner of the globe. Frankly, I'd don't mind, and would rather see, people "appropriating" cultural additions/modification to their own from healthier cultural sources.

Messenger: RastaGoddess Sent: 3/21/2019 7:28:14 AM

Give thanks for sharing this sistah Empress. A well written article.

ď...or ignore systematic oppression. But you wonít be exempt from criticism for the reasons I listed above. In a society that puts emphasis on free speech, you have the freedom to wear dreadlocks, and black people have the freedom to explain to you why they find it racist or offensive. We are not entitled to all things. We cannot get away with doing everything we want at all times. Make of that what you will.


Messenger: CarterBlunt Sent: 3/22/2019 1:47:06 AM

I have dreads because it saves time, effort and resources not having to micromanage a fictitious self image. I also use them as a filter to screen superficial people out of my life. I've never been criticized directly for wearing dreads, but I probably wouldn't care. Tell any dread that others don't approve... they won't care either.

By telling anyone it's inappropriate for them to have dreadlocks, you would have to be saying that they MUST comb or cut regularly. This is confusing to me. Dreadlocks are naturally occurring. Do you really want to reinforce the mindset that nature is something to be chopped down or polluted with chemicals? Nature doesn't belong to any culture, it predates culture. Following this logic, it's impossible for dreadlocks to be cultural appropriation. When it comes to caucasian dreadlocks, there is a distinct counter-culture element, it's mostly the ones who don't fit neatly into the "Babylon" system.

I can see how a white person who has dreadlocks, AND claims to be a Rastafarian, is doing cultural appropriation. But simply following the principles of the Rasta lifestyle, which are grounded in biology and respect for the sacred, is not appropriating the cultural aspects. Nor should anyone want these principles to only be for black people.

Messenger: GARVEYS AFRICA Sent: 3/22/2019 8:33:46 AM

Black people suffer from a trans generational rape like forced cultural appropriation of whiteness.

Rastafari is the answer

Messenger: Nesta1 Sent: 3/23/2019 12:43:01 AM

CULTURAL DIFFUSION, SYNTHESIS, AND BLENDING: The huge tide of migration of Bantu-speaking people throughout Africa south of a line from the Bight of Benin to southern Somalia was one of the greatest demographic dynamics in African history because of the size of the area affected, the time span covered, and above all, because of the linguistic and cultural tradition it left.

ďThe history of inner Africa is the story of how large numbers of original civilizations grew from Late Stone Age cultures and the common inheritance of the original Bantu civilization. Further growth and development stemmed from internal developments and also from mutual borrowing; these were facilitated by the increase in trade, political growth, conquest, and the more modest practice of intermarriage between groups. These processes led to increasing cultural elaboration, both in the direction of a better adaptation to each particular environment and in the direction of an intellectually more satisfying way of life.Ē -Inner Africa

Messenger: Empress lioness 9 Sent: 3/23/2019 7:45:43 AM

Give Thankhs to every one for sharing their views on this article.
Haile Selassie I

Messenger: GARVEYS AFRICA Sent: 3/31/2019 7:11:19 AM

Cultural appropriation is the polite way of describing what InI have always referred to as wagonists, carbon copys, and lost tribes

All a part of the reasons why InI say live and trod it


Messenger: Empress lioness 9 Sent: 3/31/2019 8:18:55 AM

Haile , Bredderin Garvey. Seen.
I&I think a half the world's problems would dissipate if ones n ones trod original and let other ones do the same.
It runs deep, the idea. Babylon depends on carbon copies that target anyone different from early years. Kills imagination by killing the originality of beings and that keeps dysfunction as the norm.

Jah Bless the I

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Haile Selassie I