You can respect a culture without necessarily having to partake in it. I understand if you’re invited in to a celebration, e.g. white British male to a Nigerian wedding and are asked to wear traditional wear, then it makes sense. Otherwise, if you ‘truly’ appreciated something you could understand the context of why it has value to the people of that culture and how you wearing it too (in the same society that demonize a person of colour for the same thing) may be problematic. I’m not completely clued up on what type of celebration the Afropunk event is, but again, I think it ultimately comes down to respect. The actions of the white females (from the context I received from someone who witnessed this particular event shows that respect wasn’t something that they were willing to give).
Ideas around cultural appropriation might be helped if more people realized we don’t wear things in a vacuum; there are many social and historical implications to treating cultures that are marginalized like costumes. As free as people should be able to wear whatever they want, using someone else’s cultural symbols to satisfy a personal need for self-expression is an exercise in privilege. If someone is so moved to call you out cause they think that’s what you’re doing then as an ally you are called to listen to them and engage in dialogue. White shouldn’t ‘have’ to do this, just like poc who face discrimination based on their culture shouldn’t ‘have to’ go through it but for as long as poc continue to face discrimination, confrontations like these will keep arising.
If some people are not even willing have that discussion, they shouldn’t be surprised when they’re called out for it. #AllyshipNotGoodIntentions2k16
Feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comment section below 🙂