The Cultural Appropriation in The America

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838 words

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According to Oxford dictionaries, cultural appropriation is, the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, or ideas, of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society. Cultural appropriation has been a huge, controversial topic especially in reason times which has prompt individuals such as Amandla Stenberg to speak out it by saying, “When you appropriate black features and culture but fail to use your position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards your wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdoitbetter.” in regards to a Kylie Jenner post a few months back. In today's society, we have witnessed aspects of the black culture being used and abused without giving credit to the cultural in which it came in order to benefit white people.

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Cultural appropriation isn’t something that has just started. It was been around for many years and it all started with jealousy. In the early 1700’s white women would often wear what was called a bustle in order to accentuate their figures because of the simple fact that the full figured bottom half was always an attractive figure on a woman; that is except when it came to black women. At this time, black women with “abnormally” large buttocks such as Sarah Baartman were seen as freaks of nature and were put on display for the amusement of white people. White women were jealous of the naturally curvaceousfigure Baartman had and for that she was ridiculed and speculated. As this jealousy manifested white women began to embrace the big butt look. In recent times they have opt to surgery to get that nice, round shape when it comes to their butts.

Cultural appropriation can be seen in all types of media outlets with magazines and Instagram being the most common. Months ago on Instagram Kylie Jenner posted a pictures of herself with a new hairstyle; this picture eventually blew up with the name of the hairstyle she wore being Boxer braids. As an African-American woman I understand that this types of hairstyle has been around for many years and is not anything new. These “Boxer braids” actually date back to Ancient Africa and are called cornrows or simply, braids. Now even though Kylie may have not stated that these braids were her own creation, she did not give credit to the African culture in which the “boxer braids” originated from. Of course, we all know she did not create this hairstyle, but as I’ve mentioned before this hairstyles is something that has been around for many of years and received no such praise as it did before Kylie jenner decided to wear these so-called, “boxer braised”.

Country music idol, Taylor Swift even plays into the idea of cultural appropriation. In her video for her song Wildest Dreams she tries to portray African life and culture through the use of an all-white cast to do so. This undermined the lives of black men and women who are the majority in Africa. This all-white cast romanticized colonialism in an African country, which means they tried to convey colonialism as some great thing despite the true meaning of it.The bottom line is, she presented “African” culture in the way that took away the heart and soul of Africa in order to benefit herself although she knew little about the culture itself.

The Kardashians are known to adopt elements of other cultures, more specifically the black culture, into their own works and have taken credit for such things that blacks have done or known for years. For example, Kim Kardashian has been known for her unnaturally obtained voluptuous buttocks and curves and has “created” the big butt trend. However, many black women have already had the same curves as Kim, naturally and aren’t making money off of it. Kylie Jenner, the youngest of the Kardashian kids has gave rise to the big lip trend which again, black women and men have already had for years but no one seems to care. Both features on a black women that these two women have been known for are things that blacks have been tormented for in previous years. And this is a big reason why cultural appropriation is a problem. The beautiful features on a black women are not fully appreciated until white celebrities make it “known” and profit from it.

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Time after time, the black culture has been taken, altered and used in advantage to financially benefit white people as seen done a lot by the Kardashians. From the way we wear our hair, to how we dress and dance we have seen our culture being appropriated by these people. Characteristics of our culture that has once been classified as “unkempt” or “unattractive” is now that “new” trend but it’s not because of our doing. It is because of the “creations” off whites that our culture is being celebrated and praised. So that goes to show you that aspects of black culture are only appreciated it if whites can use it and benefit from it.

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Dr. Oliver Johnson

Cite this Essay

The Cultural Appropriation in the America. (2018, October 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 1, 2023, from
“The Cultural Appropriation in the America.” GradesFixer, 26 Oct. 2018,
The Cultural Appropriation in the America. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 1 Oct. 2023].
The Cultural Appropriation in the America [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Oct 26 [cited 2023 Oct 1]. Available from:
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