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If You 'Don't See Color,' You Are Racist

Cultural Appropriation in Our Lives That We Must Stop

Yes, I said it. Refusing to acknowledge the cultural differences and uniqueness of another ethnicity, background and history is disrespectful to them and their culture. The sentiment is often heard in retaliation to sensitive discussions regarding race, and is seen by non-marginalised folk as a way out of difficult conversations. An excuse for their inadvertent racist comments. "I have a black friend, so it’s okay." Is it really? Do you think your singular black friend approves of your disrespect to their identity?

Racism does not have to be a national Klan any more. Blatant racism is frowned upon by society, but the systems that are put in place deny minorities the opportunity to beat the socially accepted institutes of racism. An example of this is the celebration of “racial equality” in the aftermath of the American civil war. Yet, as of 2018, there were only three African-American CEOs listed in the Fortune 500 (A list that recognises the companies in America that make up two-thirds of the county’s GDP). In total, there have only ever been 16.

Malnocites, the chemical produced by melanin as the body’s protective response to sun exposure. It is what gives us our unique hair, eyes and skin colour. People who have been exposed to sun will have increased melanin secretion; therefore, a darker skin pigment. The concept of racism was created by people who were threatened by the chemical reaction in another’s body because of the difference in climate. In Australia, there are harsh racial stereotypes of indigenous communities, which also started with the distinguishing of the skin colour. Yet, ever since Coco Chanel came off a cruise boat with a “sun kissed glow” about her, did the fashion of “tanning” become a popular, often cancerous, practice. This seems like the highest insult to people who do not have to artificially bronze their skin, but have been marginalised because of it. White people tanning has become such a marketed social norm. It seems as if the message was that it is that it is okay to look like another race, as long as it’s to a certain extent ... As long as there is always a European overtone about you.

This seems like a fetishistic way to pay homage to something that was once reason for murder to people of colour. Now it is acceptable for companies to sell dark coloured self-tanning. This seems a most offensive form of cultural appropriation. Even if you use fake tan with a cute, fruity name like “coconut,” it is still racist.

Cultural appropriation and racism can be seen everywhere from the runways (i.e: Dior 2018 Cruise Collection featuring native American cave art and an exuberant price tag, but did not include any recognition of the inspiration or diversity in their models), to our advertising (Kendall Jenner apparently “solving” America’s race issue with Pepsi). Some forms of racism are so engrained into our society and our way of thinking, that even people who count themselves as “allies” can practice them.

Dior Cruise Collection 2018

On multiple occasions at my high school, there were cases of subtle racism. People used the “black-face” as a dress up costume at sporting events, wearing sombreros or taco for a “Mexican costume,” native American headdresses ... Costumes were based on stereotyping specific cultures with no regard to the disrespect they may be causing. Dressing up for Halloween as a specific race subtly implies that minorities are something to be feared; A token for those in a more privileged culture to use for entertainment.

Coming from a privileged background, I recognise that using a platform to discuss issues that I do not experience is not being a good ally and I should give up this space to someone that has more right to talk about their experience with the oppressive. I urge people to support black activists such as @sassylatte (Instagram and Patreon), support black owned businesses, and to also be critical of the way you adopt other's culture into your lives. No matter your intention, it could be disrespectful. So just stop.


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If You 'Don't See Color,' You Are Racist
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