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How to Appreciate, Not Appropriate, Black Culture

How to Appreciate, Not Appropriate, Black Culture

During each black history month, it’s vital to keep an open mind. Maintaining a receptive awareness of the melting pot that is our world will only have you appreciating the traditions and wonders surrounding black culture. It can be easy to fall into the trap of utilizing practices inappropriately that were brought about by black ancestors for their offspring and lineage to continue in their modern-day. There is a difference between appreciating another culture and appropriating their culture, and today you will learn about both.

By definition, appreciating a culture for its traditions and certain practices involves the desire to simply learn about the culture in order to expand your mind and make an effort cross-culturally. This is about connecting the dots within the history of the culture and creating an association with customs and values outside your own that will help develop a connection with people of that fostering.

When someone appropriates a culture, they are taking a specific characteristic or formality of it and using it to their advantage or for their own interest. An example of cultural appropriation would be someone from a dominant culture “adopting” a look such as face makeup or certain ritualistic attire as a costume on Halloween. These customs are not for others to take and use to show off as nothing but a costume or joke. It devalues the root from which the custom comes from, whether that be from an African, European, or American Indian dynasty. Appropriating a minority culture outside your own reduces the significance of that culture and its practices. If you think you’ve done this in past instances, make sure to do better. With the world evolving exponentially, it’s possible you have, even by accident, but at this point, there is no excuse for you to take the activity of yoga, for another example, curtail it to a fashionable exercise routine and slap a prayer on the end of it. It originates from ancient India and is a discipline for those who wish to find and deepen their spirituality. Think before you accidentally transgress the true merit of another culture’s conventions.

Some people may find this inconvenient – to be more careful of what you’re saying or how you’re acting that when including another culture’s narrative. But it’s really simple. We all come from different backgrounds, and those backgrounds contain different traditions, beliefs, and ways. As a global community, we should be proud to learn more about the legacy of dissimilar civilizations. The world wouldn’t be interesting if every way we turned, there were people who appeared and lived the same way as us. Not only do we have the privilege to amplify our knowledge of other peoples’ lifestyles, but we can also do our part to ensure they’re valued and comprehended in the correct way.

This is not to mean we blacklist those subcultures that are identical or mark one as superior to the other. This conversation casts the importance of bearing in mind the shadow a lot of cultures are buried in because their hairstyles, attire, or even, home decors are being perpetually stereotyped by individuals outside the culture. To show your appreciation, it’s suggested to purchase items that are made directly from the people in the culture; support their local small business!

Instead of making imitation items derived from nondominant cultural ideas and beliefs, such as Indian accessories, buy them from an original business. It directly helps the local community fiscally and you’re truly appreciating the art of a different culture. It may seem you are appreciating by making your own and showcasing it to the world, but that’s really only taking away from those who initially created the fashioning.

Mistakes happen, but it’s best to educate yourself and go from there. There are extensive resources, from digital to hardcover, that can aid us in historical accounts and help us create a greater, more impartial societal future. Appreciate all that is around you and utilize it for the better.

Article was written by Rebekah Mamola

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