Wear My Hair, Live in My Skin
Cultural appropriation is a topic that never dies down. 20 years from now there will still be people dressing up as Native Americans for Halloween, using Cinco de Mayo to just get drunk, and wearing/acting just like black people.
A lot of people within the black community have mixed feelings when it comes to people outside of the race acting like us or wearing hairstyles that were created by black people. Some people want to believe "imitation is the greatest form of flattery" when it comes to this while others find it absolutely unacceptable.
There are certain hairstyles that people consider to be just a part of the black community and only something that people who identify as such should do. These hairstyles include braids, dreadlocks, and afros. Not only does the origin of all of these hairstyles make it something that is strictly for people within the black community, but the actual construction of them and the texture needed for them to work are important to.
Braiding is a practice that began in Africa more than 5000 years ago by black women. Although they are used for fashion and convenience now, when they first started circulating it was for people who were wealthy and considered to be a part of a higher class. Over the years it became something that all people of the culture and race wore regardless of race, but it was still sacred for black people alone.
White people are mainly the ones that wear braids or try to experiment with dreadlocks, but the styles either do not hold up on their hair or it takes all of their hair out. Those types of things happen because braids and dreadlocks are protective styles for black people. Other races do not have the same type of texture of hair that we have so when they try to do things that we created specifically for our hair, it goes wrong. It is not meant for them.
I currently wear my hair naturally, meaning I don't straighten it, get perms, or wear weave, but I do enjoy getting my hair braided and have done so a lot in life. Whenever I was around white people they would touch my braids and tell me they loved my hair and wanted theirs to be the same way. I didn't have that much of a problem with it because they didn't know any better, but what I needed them to understand was that the way I wore my hair was consistent with my own culture and them trying to take it from black people was offensive.
Since racism is alive and well, explaining to people why it is inappropriate to wear or do things that don't align with their own cultures is extremely difficult, but not something people should give up on. Cultural appropriation comes in many different forms and all of them are really rude and disrespectful towards the people they are "imitating". More people need to be educated on the topic and stand up to individuals who do things like this whether it concerns them or not.
It's another form of racism and it needs to stop.