My Culture is Not for Sale !

So, this week I have decided to blog about my opinion on the idea/theme/social construct or whatever you would like to phrase it as – Cultural Appropriation. The whole scepticism around the concept, and how it has affected me directly or exactly how it has affected girls my age or around my ethnicity.

But first, let’s define the term as: “the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society”

In simpler terms, it’s the process of taking another group’s culture, or traditions or lifestyle and adopting it as your own, and therefore making it accepted in your culture, rather than theirs, hopefully that makes sense?

The term arose around 2016/2017 and it came to it’s prominence due to its association with celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber all facing criticism over it. Even celebrities we recognise today such as 6ix9ine who regularly use the derogatory word “n*gga” in his lyrics is facing high criticism from let’s say the “black culture” after using the term quite frequently

So why would anyone be offended over this idea? Let’s look at it in depth. The whole process of it is when you are taking a person’s culture (mainly of a lesser dominant race) and using it as your own. An example of this could be when Kim Kardashian wore braids and posted it on her Instagram account. On the outside, there is nothing wrong with it, after all she is just wearing a hairstyle, isn’t she? However, the problem starts when she referred to the braids as “Bo Derek” braids after the famous actress who wore the hairstyle in a movie. Many black women were highly offended by this act, stating that she completely disregarded the history of braids and cornrows, as it can be traced back to relating to slavery, as those were the styles that women wore before they boarded slave ships and had their hair removed, it was apart of their culture and customs, and unfortunately it was stripped away by the slave owners, due to their wanting of them to assimilate to western types of hair which is mainly straightened.

Other instances include singers such as Katy Perry being criticised for wearing Geisha which is the tradition of Japanese culture which includes wearing pale white make-up and elaborate hairstyles. This stemmed from her American Music Awards performance in 2013. Many people again were hurt and offended by the act, which she later apologised for. Now there is not anything wrong with wearing other people’s cultural attire or materials, it can simply mean you show appreciation for their culture and are interested in it. However, when it is culturally accepted by a person of a dominant race, whilst the weaker race is criticised for it, it becomes a problem and many people who view it happening on social media become very offended by it.

So, what is my opinion then? I completely understand the hatred and the annoyance coming from the receiving end of cultural appropriation. After all, imagine wearing something you find attractive, but when a person of a higher status or wealth wears it they are praised and adored for it whilst you are ridiculed for it. However, I believe we have to look at it from both sides. Taking the example of black cultural appropriation, with hairstyles and facial features such as lip shapes, aren’t we doing the same by doing processes such as contouring noses and wearing weaves and wigs? There is the argument of it being protective styling and beautiful, however we happen to take the culture of Europeans or Caucasians by wearing straight wigs, even with the emergence of frontals to make it look extremely realistic (as you can see I am digressing into hair talk)

But the point is, in realistic terms, we take things from people’s cultures all the time, sometimes without realising that we are doing so. This is not necessarily wrong, as it can be considered as a way of appreciating the beauty in one’s culture, I think where the problem lies is when the persons culture is not being accepted for its originality and praised when someone of a different culture takes it into the public light. Whether culture appropriation would ever be solved is the question, as time goes by, people’s cultures are being shared and intertwined with others rapidly. So, should we start to accept that this is occurring, or should we put an end to appropriation due to the harm that it causes to the lesser dominant race ?

Thanks for reading !

Noughts and Crosses – Book Review

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As my summer holidays approached this year, I decided to make it a must to start reading again. As I clearly had all the time in the world now away from school and other commitments, I wanted to stray away from social media and delve into what I enjoyed most which was reading!

Before I got engaged with social media, reading used to be my favourite thing to do. I especially loved studying books where we could learn about characters, themes and hidden messages. So I decided to read more this year and accomplish all the books off of my reading list. One of them being, to read Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses.

Before I picked up on this book, I had heard of her but I had not read any of her books before, so I was excited to see what she had to offer ( I love reading books from new authors). A friend had recommended the book to me and after reading a bit about it I decided why not give it a go. What drew me towards this book was the whole plot of it. Without reading too much into it, I found it really fascinating of how Blackman came up with this story book based on society’s role reversal between black and white people.

Quick Synopsis: The book is based on two people, Callum who is white and is labelled as a nought. Him and his family are lower-class, struggling to survive and have little money. Callum is friends with Sephy who is labelled as a Cross. Her family is black and are very wealthy, in fact all crosses are very wealthy in their town. They are friends, to everyone’s disliking, but endure on a powerful love journey together as Callum gets enrolled at Sephy’s prestigious school.

So the first thing that really shocked me (besides the role reversal of their lifestyle) was the names they were labelled with. I thought it was very smart that they weren’t labelled as just black and white as we are today. But the name nought had a very deeper meaning. It symbolised their position in the story – as nothing. Frequently, they were referred to as ‘blankers’ meaning they were nothing, they had no value, they were just blank. Even in the visual way, a nought is simply a zero which connoted their position in society- simply stating that they had none. Whereas Sephy who was labelled as a cross creates an obvious opposite way of living. They are seen to be more stronger and more powerful in their way of life. Especially when you study the family of Sephy and realise the amount of power they obtain. They were mentioned as black and white in their individual family conversations, but the societal term of ‘Noughts’ and ‘Crosses’ were used by people in the book

The second thing that really struck me was the symbolism and the similarities that the Noughts had to go through, which are totally relatable to the black struggle previously in countries like America. Early on in the book, Callum is smart, which means he passes the test to go to one of the most prestigious schools in their town, which is mainly known for accepting black people only. The book captured his first day, alongside 6-7 other teens who passed the test to be allowed into the school. As they approached the gates, they were heckled by Crosses shouting “blankers, blankers!” and of course they were denied access on the first day. Reading this moment, immediately shot up memories that I had learned in school of the Little Rock Nine students who were denied access to school in Arkansas, due to whites refusing to integrate. I don’t know if Blackman intentionally did this, to catch people’s eye out or if it was done to make people realise that this is similar to everyday life now, but that moment really stood out for me.

Overall, I must say I am very impressed with the book. At times, it did drag on to the exciting parts, especially at the start which made it hard to continue reading on. That’s what is hard for me really, if the first few chapters of a book do not seriously excite me then it is very hard for me to read on until the end. Nevertheless, I continued and I’m glad that I did. The story had a powerful ending to it, and without revealing to much, it allows you to realise the balance of powers between black and white people in terms of the government, those in authority and those who have major control, do we use our privileges against people who don’t have the same  privileges as us? or have we become so used to the fact that we will never be equal to each other in terms of our social status, especially with all the events happening around the world of police brutality to one particular race.

I would give this book 4/5 stars. It hasn’t been better than previous books I’ve read which have left me so amazed that I had to read it again and again, but this book did come with a lot of messages, lessons and good cliff-hangers, so I would definitely encourage anyone to get this book and read it.

I am due to read 1984 or The handmaids tale next so if anyone has read these books, then do let me know how it is!

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

The Get to Know Me Tag

Hey !!

So I was just recently pondering over all the blog posts that I have done and I thought to myself I haven’t really given much of myself out there enough except from my first post which was just an introduction- even that was just a short paragraph explaining the blog and not much of an insight into who I really am as a person

So I thought to myself, as a blogger my audience should know a bit more about my life, my interests in general and past experiences well before I even go onto to talk about my opinions on certain topics, so I decided since I’m too lazy to write a whole bio about myself why not make it more creative and do a tag. So here I am to do the Get To Know Me Tag, this tag is mostly associated with youtubers however I thought it would be a great thing to do and look at !

1. Are you named after anyone?
I am not directly named after anyone however my middles name which is Sarpong, is from my Grandmother’s name so I guess I am named after her

2. When was the last time you cried?
On Saturday which is two days ago

3. Do you have any kids?
No

4. If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?
Yes, however in certain situations maybe not lool

5. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
Not a lot, but I love using sarcasm

6. What’s the first thing you notice about people?
Their personality, I could tell a lot about a person based on the way they speak or act

7. Scary movie or Happy Endings?
Generally, go for happy endings, but I love me a scary movie

8. What is your eye colour?
Dark Brown

9. Favourite Smells?
Anything that smells sweet, however I love the smell of petrol and fresh leather
(weird, I know right?)

10. What’s the furthest you have ever been from home?
Furthest is Canada, miles and miles away

11. Do you have any special talents?
Hmmm, not that I’m aware of

12. Where were you born?
In the UK

13. What are your hobbies?
Reading, Blogging, watching YouTube videos, Museums, going to the cinema, doing make-up

14. Do you have any pets?
I have three pet fishes

15. Do you have any siblings?
I have 3 older brothers, so yes, I am the only girl

16. Who was your first best friend?
Probably my friend called Michelle, who I am still friends with today

17. How tall are you?
5’3

18. Funniest moment throughout school?
Literally just laughing at things until it hurts and you burst into tears.

19. How many countries have you visited?
5

20. What was your favourite subject in school
History

21. What is your favourite drink?
Cherry Coke – literally my love

22. What sports do you play?
Don’t play sports now but I absolutely love playing Volleyball, Handball, Rounder’s and Badminton (girly sports I guess)

23. Favourite memory from childhood?
Coming home from school, grabbing a pack of Cheese and Onion Crisps and watching Horrid Henry after school every day at 4:00

24. What phone do you have?
I have an iPhone

25. Tell us one of your bad habits?
Apart from the occasional laziness, I have developed a habit of biting my nails which I really need to stop

So here you have it, a bit of crazy info about me , I will probably do another tag later on so you can learn more about the girl behind the screen !