I don’t say that, of course, but the urge is there. Petty? Probably. But all I can remember is that I struggled (perversely at times) to keep some dignity and my name when I was constantly told that if I just let people call me by some diminutive, my life would be easier.
It would also be easier if I pretended not to be so smart, learned to not be a fashion disaster and learned how to tell people apart (I’ve got faceblindness and a slew of other neuro-atypicalities).
So, this is my teeny, tiny experience with cultural appropriation. It is certainly not on the same level as what others experience. But it is the experience I draw upon when I’m trying to explain why cultural appropriation is wrong.
My daughter brought it up yesterday when we were having dinner. We were talking about the politics of hair. Her position is that white people shouldn’t do locked hair because A) unless you have the right hair, they look terrible and B) it is serious cultural appropriation.
The person she was talking to (an older, wealthy white woman) had the position that one should be able to do whatever one wants with one’s hair.
We talked about Celtic hair and how there is such a thing as Celtic locks, but they are different from African locks.
I love the look of locked hair. If I could get mine to do teeny tiny ones, I would love that. However, I can also imagine the African American woman looking at me and thinking, “I am s
ubject to unfair treatment in all points of my life get beaten up on the playground for that. You can’t have them.”