Tag Archives: cultural appropriation

Powerful ‘Super Bowl” ad from the National Congress of American Indians

This ad produced by the NCAI is a powerful reminder of the complexity, history and pride present in a culture. It is a must watch for everyone, especially those that see no problem with cultural appropriation and racism by Dan Snider and the Washington football team.


Campaign: We’re a culture, not a costume

man holding offensive photo of halloween costume

In the U.S., Halloween has become the national holiday for cultural appropriation. In 2011, Ohio University started a poster campaign to urge students and others to avoid racist, stereotyping, and culturally appropriated Halloween costumes.

This has been one of the most effective campaigns we have seen addressing the issue of cultural appropriation.

Ohio U: Poster Campaign
USA Today: We’re a culture, not a costume catches on

Is it appropriation when white women belly dance?

An article on Slate by Palestinian-American novelist Randa Jarrar titled, Why I can’t stand white belly dancers: Whether they know it or not, white women who practice belly dance are engaging in appropriationhas stirred reactions from many different perspectives:

Colorlines: ICYMI: Belly Dancing When You’re a White Woman

Decolonizing Belly Dance: Community, Anger, Decolonization and THAT Article

How I Met Your Mother Goes Full Yellowface

Still image from HIMYM

The popular CBS sitcom How I Met your Mother aired an episode in mid-January that showed its white cast members as crude stereotyped Asian characters. The backlash was swift. Here is a sampling of the responses:

Time Magazine: Dear, ‘How I Met Your Mother’: “Asian is not a Costume

BuzzFeed: 32 Powerful Tweets that Takedown Yellowface on HIMYM

Angry Asian Man: What’s up With the Yellowface on How I Met Your Mother

Daily Mail(UK): HIMYM Creators Apologize for Using ‘Yellowface’

On Making Fun of White People Who Love Chai Tea Lattes

Fantastic personal reflection regarding the appropriation of their culture and where the real problems lie.
She begins laying out the problem:

 When a white girl puts on a bindi, a part of me dies. I remember being 6 years old, being MORTIFIED as a little white girl laughed at the dot on my head. It took me 15 years to wear another bindi proudly.

But offers a different approach than just confrontation:

You’re targeting the wrong person. The girl in SF who lives on 30K per year and shops at Forever 21 because she enjoys looking great on a cheap budget is not a stupid girl. She is not a mean girl. (Well, she might be. But she probably isn’t). She is not responsible for creating the broken system. She is not responsible for the vast misinformation, the propaganda that allows her to make these choices without feeling morally reprehensible.

You can read the rest of this illuminating piece here.