What, Exactly, Is Cultural Appropriation (And How Is It Harmful)?

Despite the fact that people of color (POC) are being imprisoned, deported, evicted, and murdered at atrocious rates, contemporary media often tries to imply that the US is post-racial and politically just.

In reality, capitalism has turned Indigenous and POC cultural items and customs — which are usually born of precolonial legacy and historical trauma, resilience, and survival — into an economic currency that in no way benefits the groups from which they were stolen.

This exploits and ignores the very real violence that interferes with the well-being of POC and Indigenous Folk around the globe.

This is the sort of racism that people, on an individual basis, can recognize and interrupt. Please watch this video from Marina Watanabe to learn how you might be perpetuating cultural appropriation – and not even known it – and why you should stop.

Please read the following Everyday Feminism articles to learn more about cultural appropriation:

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Marina Watanabe is a vlogger, blogger, overenthusiastic tweeter, college student, and creator of embarrassing literary tees. Her passions include putting off responsibilities and being sarcastic on all social media platforms. She is majoring in Women’s Studies with a minor in Communications at Sacramento State and hopes to continue using social media as a tool to discuss and raise awareness for feminist and social justice issues. She also runs a Tumblr called Everyday Harassment that serves as a safe space for women to share their stories and educate others on the nature and frequency of sexual harassment. Check out her Tumblr, or follow her on Twitter @marinashutup!