“Cultural appropriation” is a tricky concept to understand. When does appreciating another culture’s traditions cross over into usurping and/or disrespecting them?
Amandla Stenberg, the young actress who got her start as Rue in The Hunger Games, does a brilliant job of explaining the complex concept in this video.
She created the clip for a history class project, and after posting it to her Tumblr a few months ago it’s recently gained traction.
She explains, “The line between cultural appropriation and cultural exchange is always going to be blurred. But here’s the thing: Appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes where it originated, but is deemed as high fashion, cool, or funny when the privileged take it for themselves. Appropriation occurs when the appropriator is not aware of the deep significance of the culture that they are partaking in.”
She also talks about the recent “Black Lives Matter” movement and criticizes the way in which many of the white celebrities who pull from black culture aesthetically refused to speak out against the racism that accompanies black identity.
She ends her video with a simple question: “What would America be like if we loved black people as much as we loved black culture?”
[h/t Entertainment Weekly]