Native American Cultural Appropriation

1215 Words5 Pages
Chandler Howard
Smalley
English III
04/18/16
Cultural Appreciation, or Appropriation? “Cultural appropriation has nothing to do with one’s exposure to and familiarity with different cultures. Instead, cultural appropriation involves members of a dominant group exploiting the culture of less privileged groups - often with little understanding of the latter's history, experiences, or traditions.” (Nadeem Kareem Nittle). Cultural appropriation has become a pressing issue recently. People will pick and choose certain parts of a culture they deem fashionable, including hair and dress, without any regard to the people’s struggles of that culture. To them it’s just an article of clothing or a hairstyle, but to the people of that culture, it’s who
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Celebrities like the Kardashians and concert go-ers have taken a popular liking to Native American headdresses, claiming to appreciate the culture, while not knowing a single thing about Native genocide. Genocide is the deliberate killing on a large scale of a certain ethnic group. This includes their culture. Native Americans did not fight through years of cultural genocide to have white people use it and claim it as appreciation. Dancing around at music festivals half naked while wearing a headdress is not appreciation. It just plays more into the oversexualization of Native Americans. The rate of aggravated assault among Native Americans and Alaska Natives is roughly twice that of the country as a whole, and studies show that one in three Native women will be raped during their lifetime, whereas for women as a whole the risk is less than one in five. Most Native American women do not report such crimes because of the belief that nothing will be done. This is why the oversexualization of Native women is a growing problem. The Native American headdress is a sacred item, only given to important people in the tribe. Native American headdresses are not made completely in one sitting. A feather was added each time the chief, warrior, or other important tribe member committed a brave act. This is why wearing a headdress is very disrespectful and in no way cultural appreciation.…show more content…
If you want to appreciate a culture, go watch people of that culture celebrate themselves. Dressing up in Kimono, wearing a headdress, or getting your hair in cornrows may seem like appreciation, but without any knowledge of the injustices done to these cultures and their people, it is very much appropriation.
Cultural appropriation is the exploitation of a culture by a dominant group, usually where the dominant group knows nothing of the culture’s struggles. Although they may think that they’re appreciating a culture, they do not realize the impact it has on that culture’s people. Minority group cultures are left with harsh stereotypes and are then represented by a culture that has been exploited from. Native Americans, Asians, and Africans did not fight through cultural genocide just to have it deemed fashionable, edgy, or sexy by the people who previously tried to erase it.

Works Cited
Nittle, Nadra Kadeem. “What is Cultural Appropriation and Why Is It Wrong?”About.com News & Issues 22 June 2015. Web. 31 March.2016.
Feeney, Nolan. “Katy Perry’s ‘Geisha-Style’ Performances Needs to Be Called Out.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 23 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
Jabbar, Kareem Abdul. "Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Cornrows and Cultural Appropriation." Time. Time, 26 Aug. 2015. Web. 18 Apr.
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