Cultural Appropriation

Cultural appropriation is a topic that seems to get lots of media attention at certain times and then it seems to go away until next year. Halloween is a time where the issue of cultural appropriation seems to come to light. The other time where it seems to receive attention is around festival season in the summer. It wasn’t something that I was really aware of growing up, and it was only even recently where I started to realize what the issue was and how problematic it truly is.

Music festival such as Coachella have been plagued by issues of cultural appropriation for years, The issue generally revolves around people wearing First Nations headdresses which are not appropriate under any circumstances. As we learned in the presentation, the headdress is a very powerful symbol in First nations culture and one that should only be won under very specific circumstances. Very few people have this honour and when someone wears it and she shouldn’t it is a major sign of disrespect.

Halloween is another time where the issue of cultural appropriation comes to light again. This is usually related to people wearing First Nations style costumes. This is another situation that is not appropriate under any terms. Places like Party City are regularly protested during Halloween. However, they continue to stock clothing that is not appropriate. Their response is generally something along the lines of, they are not responsible for who buys or wears their costumes.

I have also realized that I have been guilty of cultural appropriation. In high school, I regularly dressed up as a “Mexican” for Halloween. When I look back at it I am embarrassed that I thought that this was appropriate. I would wear a poncho that I had bought in Mexico and a sombrero. This was done out of laziness as I knew that I could put it together very quickly if I needed. At the time I really didn’t know that what I was doing was not appropriate. This is something that I will never do again and I hope I can help to inform others about the appropriateness of it.

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