We all remember Rachel Dolezal right? If not, let me refresh your memory. Rachel Dolezal is the white woman that posed as a black woman working as the President of the NAACP Spokane, Washington Chapter. Rachel did not apply for this position as a white woman performing some sort of "experiment" or investigation, she actually got the job under the assumption that she was black. I mean look at the picture above, she could easily pass for Raven Simon's mother and no one would think twice about it. I have to give it to her, she nailed it...but did she really?
There are a lot of people walking around with a "black state of mind" these days. Listening to hip-hop and using slang terms are a few examples that constitutes what is considered to be a "black thing." What once was presumed to be meant for us is now celebrated across multiple ethnicities. Don't get me wrong, us black folks have enough swag to make anyone want to emulate; eyebrows on fleek, poopin' curls, killer weaves, dope shoes, fly gear, and let's not forget how we get down on the dance floor. Like seriously, what's not to enjoy about our culture? And I can't blame them for feeling this way, but when does this form of flattery cross the line?
Let's start with Hannah Montana, a.k.a. Miley Cyrus. She's a smoker, she's a twerker, she dates rappers, and she wears her hair in braids and dreads. She's everything that black people were once told they shouldn't be. But somewhere along the way, I missed the message. Growing up, I was told that braids and dreads were job interview killers. Teachers said "no one will hire you with your hair all twisted up like that." My parents told me that girls that "danced like that" (twerking) were hoes, women that date rappers have low-self esteem because the men won't respect you, and smoking weed will kill your brain cells. Almost 25-years-later, I started to question what I was told as a child. I noticed these things years ago, but as an adult struggling to find my place in society, I also realized that what I'm seeing and hearing isn't fair. I've been wearing braids for as long as I had enough hair on my head to braid. White people never embraced this look, they just looked.
Fast forward to the new millennium, and you can find pictures of women like Miley, Rachel, and the Kardashians with their hair braided. They even come with YouTube tutorials telling subscribers "how to get the Kardashian braid," as if the entire braid trend was their idea. I know some of you reading this are saying "it's just hair...they can wear their hair how they want." While this is true, the issue is not so much the hairstyle, but more so about who these types of hairstyles are acceptable on, and how the media praises this look [on them]. Truth be told, more people are starting to embrace this style, but it's not because of us, it's because it has been emulated by someone other than us which makes it okay; and that's just not okay. I cannot help but wonder why this keeps happening. Why is it that anyone other than black people can rock black culture and it somehow becomes "cool?" Who makes the rules on what is acceptable and unacceptable in society, and who it's acceptable for?
In case the hair issue isn't enough for you then maybe we can bring up the next theft of black culture...the body!! Black women have had "body for days" since God created us. Black women are born with the deep back arch and high butts that so many women of other cultural ethnicities pay a lot of money for. Judging from the two pictures above, Saartjie Baartman and Khloe Kardashian have similar frames right? Big butt, deep back arch, fit legs; Khloe along with her sisters are living the "black" dream. Reason being, they have not been subject to name calling and being placed on display for the sexual benefit and amusement of Europeans the way that Saartjie has. For starter's, the Kardashians weren't born this way, they simply chose this image; however, they have been accepted by society, Europeans especially, for surgically enhancing their appearance in order to have "the black effect" while we struggle to be accepted for the way we are naturally. Big butts have never been a "thing" until the Kardashians and other women came on the scene with poppin' behinds and blossoming bosoms. I have even had white women tell me that they have "junk in the trunk" or a "big ba-donk-a-donk," and even have the nerve to grab their ass fat to prove it. Seriously??!!?! Is that what we're doing now? Get this, white women actually feel comfortable telling black women about how big their butts are after we have struggled with acceptance of this asset all of our lives. I wish they were kidding, but if you could see their faces when they brag on their butts, you'd probably just stare at them like a deer in headlights because that's what I do. No comment!
Gold-teeth and "grillz" is another fad that white people have decided to give a try. Back in the 90s when I was growing up, if you had gold-teeth and chains, you were either a rapper or drug dealer, or both. Where I'm from people with their teeth any color other than white were labeled as useless, uneducated, and unemployed. Now thanks to our European friends, gold-teeth are just a part of fashion. It shows....well I'm not sure what it shows for them, but for us it symbolizes that hustler lifestyle, a lifestyle they know nothing about. Which goes to show that our culture to them is just a trend, but for us it has meaning, and it's something that we can't just get rid of as soon as something different comes along. But let's be honest, black people are the trendsetters when it comes to music, fashion, and even popular slang terms and phrases. We do everything with style, even standing at the bus stop looks cool. But these are things that come naturally for us.
So the next time you decide to dye your dreads jade, or color your weave lavender, just know that you will get stares, probably, from white people. You'll risk the possibility of being labeled as "ghetto." If you wear dazzy dukes or tight fitting bodycon dresses, you might be considered a THOT or ratchet. Keep in mind that women of other ethnicities are free to wear their hair in whatever color they chose, and their shorts can be passed off as panties and no one will think twice about it. This just shows how far black women have come and how far we have to go. There is no such thing as equality when black people are up to bat. I have heard black men say that black women do not have it as hard as them; however, we are all in this together. In 2017, we are still looked down on.
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