While on another blog (tumblr.com) I read a post by blogger whitepeoplesaidwhat that really interested me. It reads as follows:
“My culture brings all the Whites to the yard.
And they’re like, “I’m taking what’s yours,
Damn right, it’s mine and not yours!
Want it back now? K fine but we’ll have to charge”
There are many things I like about it. I like that it is blatantly saying that White people have knowingly taken minority cultures (our essences in many ways) and are only willing to give that culture back to those people for monetary gains. Even more than that, I like the fact that with even such a heavy message it is meant to be delivered it in a way that those who know something about Black culture can understand it’s lighter side (as it is supposed to be read to the beat of Kelis’ “Milkshake” song). It seems to be one of those harsh truths wrapped up neatly that I have seen before in any different sources. It made me think of things that I know to be a part of my culture that I feel have been stolen such as things like hip hop or certain words, fashions, and the Black body in general that have been taken by force and out of context by the larger White society and then sold back to Black people and everyone else in the world for money that Black people don’t really see.
I originally thought of this selling of culture, in a sense, as cultural appropriation and, more so than anything, capitalism. I looked up the definition of racism and it is defined as having prejudice and power and being the beneficiary of that combination. And if that is the definition we are using, is this a form of racism. There is clearly a level of power, prejudice, and a beneficiary here, so is it pure racism or cultural appropriation? Or is cultural appropriation essentially another category of racism, which would broaden how real racism is and how much deeper it goes into our society and into what we listen to, say, and wear?