Today I came across a video on Facebook of a woman getting her hair braided in box braids to be specific but there were far more negative comments than positive ones all because the woman was white. Some of these comments were down right hateful and gut wrenching; so as a mother of girls, two of which are biracial here is my own unsolicited opinion on the subject.
I personally believe cultural appropriation is not a bad thing. How could it be negative for a person to want to embrace, respect, and integrate elements of another’s culture into their lives to enhance their own human experience? After all that’s the beautiful thing about diversity right? Appreciating and appropriating cultures other than our own…now I acknowledge that there is a major difference between cultural appropriation and cultural misappropriation and any instance that an element of culture or a culture as a whole is mocked, disrespected, or otherwise dismissed as being inferior is completely wrong and against my personal values.
I believe I can celebrate and express myself in a various of styles and experiences without assuming the identity of another person. As for my children, I want to encourage them to explore multiple cultures as their identities are not singular or binary but are a combination of a multitude of cultures, creeds, and backgrounds that I want them to embrace and be proud of. I want them to be comfortable to share their cultures with each other and I won’t restrict any one of them from appropriating elements of each other’s cultures, styles, or learning about each other’s heritage.
I share and model these important fibers of the tapestry that are their identities; they will grow up knowing that they are beautiful, strong, and important regardless of what their hair looks like, the color of their skin, the clothes they wear, and who they identify themselves as is exactly who I will accept them for.
My girls and I all can all rock box braids or dhukus or moccasins or whatever it may be. There are not limitations on defining and exploring ones identity through cultures, creeds, religious beliefs as long it comes from a place of respect and love.