What White People Should Culturally Appropriate
“Everybody wanna be a n****, but don’t nobody really wanna be a n****.”
The phrase has never rang more true when it comes to cultural appropriation. In fact, according to Nielsen, 73% of Whites and 67% of Hispanics believe that African Americans influence mainstream culture. I mean I get it. Black culture and entertainment is fun, cool, fresh, stylish, has a beat, and is original. It even makes for a great Instagram selfie. Black issues? Not so much. However, oddly enough Black issues have been trending among the Black community long before anyone could put a hashtag on it. And that’s one of the problems with culture appropriation – the cafeteria-style tactic some White people take to Blackness.
It’s all blonde cornrow selfies and Kylie Jenner lip challenges until a Black person gets shot during a “routine” traffic stop. Then it’s crickets. Where are those same people who take such pride in Black culture and even tweet about how dope the new Kendrick Lamar CD is during the recent onslaught of deaths that included: Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, the Emanuel Nine, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Aiyana Jones, Rekia Boyd, Tamir Rice, and sadly others? I’m guessing they were at Whole Foods posting their kale salad lunches to Instagram. I understand that life goes on even in the light of tragedy, but usually when someone loses their life, condolences are in order. It’s open season, and I’ve only been seeing one type of prey.
A major problem with cultural appropriation is that it doesn’t provide appropriators with a full spectrum of experiences in relation to the culture that they are borrowing from. Appropriators are doing themselves a great disservice if they think the Black experience is just limited to hairstyles and hip-hop. In response to such madness, I decided to put together a list things White people really should be appropriating, so they can truly have a holistic, intimate grasp on Blackness. Now, I’m not suggesting that any of the below should happen to anyone. Marginalized or not, everyone deserves to have their basic human rights respected. However, if there was an alternate universe where White people could experience any of the below on a macro level, then I’m confident there’d be a lot more awareness and empathy to go around – which is extremely rare in this day and age. So, in no particular order, here are 31 things White people should be culturally appropriating. You’re welcome and appropriate away!
2.) Police brutality
3.) Guilty until proven innocent
4.) Low socioeconomic status
5.) Being villainized
6.) Relentless racial awareness
9.) Inability to easily/properly track family roots and ancestors
10.) Over-representation in the prison system
11.) Under-representation in mainstream media
12.) Having your hair texture be referred to as “nappy”
13.) Food deserts
14.) Being publicly stoic in racially-charged times
15.) Have your culture appropriated and masked as inspiration or cultural exchange by other races
16.) The burden of having to represent your entire race
17.) 43 Black presidents and one White president
18.) Low property value
19.) All the f***ery that happens on dating apps
20.) High-poverty schools
21.) Doubt of any mental illnesses
22.) Historically, not having the right to vote
23.) Being used for your votes
24.) Disparities in wage trajectory
26.) Self-hatred based on race
27.) Being told you’re cute for a White guy or girl
28.) Random racist internet trolls
29.) Teaching kids in your family under seven about race relations, and where they fit in those relations
30.) Being ignored, overlooked, and/or talked over in work meetings
31.) Being told you’re being sensitive about all of the above
Terrence Chappell surfaced on Chicago’s media scene as UR Chicago Magazine Online’s fashion editor. Since then, he has worked and contributed to various media outlets such as Michigan Ave. Magazine, CS Magazine, and The Men’s Book. Currently, Terrence serves as the editor-at-large for ChicagoPride.com, the city’s largest LGBT entertainment and news website where he writes “Chappell Confidential,” a nightlife and society column. Terrence also heads “Chappell on Community,” the site’s newest editorial monthly series that profiles the LGBT community’s most innovative leaders.