Whenever black women call out these white women or any other nonblack women who purposely and willingly copy things from black women and act like it’s some new thing, someone always says, “Well, what about black women wearing weave, blue/green eye contacts, and bleaching their skin? Aren’t they cultural appropriating?”
I think this question is stupid and deflecting. Instead of acknowledging that these nonblack women are copying black women and getting put on a pedestal while black women get overlooked or dogged out, they try to flip it on black women. Black women wearing weave, bleaching their skin, or wearing blue or green eye contacts is not cultural appropriation.
I feel like a lot of black women who do those things do it to feel more beautiful in a society that puts down black hair, skin, and features. White and other nonblack women who wear black women’s hairstyles, get surgeries to get black women’s body features, etc. aren’t getting those things to feel more beautiful because their looks are already the standard in this society.
Their looks are celebrated over black women’s in the media all the time. They copy our looks to be trendy and/or replace us in media and not to be more accepted because they will get accepted with or without the surgeries and hairstyles. Black women actually HAVE TO have lighter skin, straight hair, and a certain body shape to be accepted and celebrated in both media and regular society.
At the same time, although I believe black women altering their features is not cultural appropriating, I do believe it is wrong and hypocritical of us to cry and complain about other races of women “trying to look and be like us” when we’re sitting around with a straight blonde wig on or whenever we’re taking a picture online, we have to turn the brightness up to make our skin look lighter. We have a lot of nerve crying because some white woman wore braids when we don’t have our own hair in our heads.
One thing I’ve learned about white people is that they like to use people’s words against them. They know when they are cultural appropriating, but they like acting like they don’t know what it is. So, when they’re called out on it, they like flipping the script to, “Well, what about you?”
If we want to call them out for what they’re doing, we can at least not do the same thing they’re doing. We have to get rid of weaves and hair straightening, skin bleaching/photo lightening, different color eye contacts, or anything that remotely erases our blackness. It may not stop them cultural appropriating altogether, but at least they can’t use us as an excuse to keep doing it. We can call them out and actually hold them accountable for what they’re doing.
If we’re not going to stop with the straight hair and skin bleaching, we can’t say anything about them. They have a point when they say that. And we can’t bring up, “There are black women all over the world that have naturally straight hair and natural blue/green eyes,” when that’s not you. You don’t have naturally straight hair or natural blue or green eyes. That’s why you have to go buy it, so that’s an invalid argument.
We have to start accepting all of our features 100% with no altering. Then, and only then, will we be right in calling out all these nonblack women who are cultural appropriating. Until then, we can’t say anything.