Dreadswhite Or Dreadsright?

by Alexia24 on September 8, 2015 - 11:12pm

The article entitled “Miley Cyrus Accuse of Cultural Appropriation for Wearing Dreadlocks At The 2015 MTV VMAs”, (Huffington Post Canada, August 31st 2015), Madelyn Chung explains the danger of cultural appropriation. The specific event the author refers to is the fact that Miley Cyrus had a dreadlocked hairstyle at the MTV VMAs. The young 22 year old artist also had made an inappropriate comment to the famous female rapper Nicky Minaj. She said “If you want to make it about race, there’s a way you could do that. But don’t make it just about yourself.” That comment was as inappropriate as calling Snoop Dog “mammy” knowing that thus word as a very negative connotation. Also, as the author states, it is not the first time that the young signer associates herself with Black Culture by the way she acts and by twerking and having Black girls in her videos. The contrast between the wearing of dreadlocks by a Black girl and a White girl is very different. The author explains that for example, Zendaya, main character of the family TV show “Shake It Up”, was described as smelling like weed and “Patchouli Oil” ( which is associated with a smell of forest and pot) wearing dreadlocks, where as Miley’s hair was described as “edgy” and “amazing”. These two very different opinions about the same hairstyle worn by two different “racial categories” lets the author show how it can be easily offending to take part in cultural appropriation.

In my view, this article is partially strong because it brings questioning to the reader about the main problem addressed by the author but the authors’ claim saying that cultural appropriation is wrong is not concretely proven to be wrong. It only implies personal opinions about the topic. For my personal opinion, I do agree that cultural appropriation is bad. As the article from Curnoe says it, “The reality is that most races were identified on cultural or linguistic grounds, or simply on account of educated intuition, not biology.” Behaviours and physical traits are influenced by many things in which one of them is the environment you live in. Not if it looks good or not. In some African groups, having a significant hair due was a way to identify in which tribe you belonged to. The way people do their hair is not just for fashion. And related to the “educational intuition” part of the quote, I also feel that in the article from Madelyn Chung, the fact that Miley a “White” female that is categorized as being in the Dominant group, projects an image of looking better with the traits of other cultural groups, than the culture itself associated to it. Why white peoples’ hair qualified as “edgy” and “amazing” where in the other hand, black people with the same hair due will have their hair qualified negatively like smelling like “patchouli oil” or even being associated with a lack of hair hygiene? I think it is not fair and it makes the oppressed group or “race” more and more oppressed. No matter what they do, the dominant “race” will do it better.

Curnoe, Darren Ausrtalasian Science; Oct 2014; 35, 8; Proquest Research Library, pg,36


This topic intrigues me because it is an example of how culture is associated to race. Personally, I find my self on both sides of the spectrum when it comes to this topic. I would like to point out that I agree very strongly with Alexia24 when saying that it is not fair how caucasian's are treated with more respect when it comes to cultural appropriation. One person can not be praised for the same thing that another is insulted about, it does not make sense. Society should be proud to see culturally diverse fashion statements because it represents unity amongst the different people. I disagree, with respect to the writers opinion, that cultural appropriation is bad because I think that culture is a beautiful aspect of life that if respected should be allowed to be shared amongst others. If in this situation both Miley Cyrus and Zendaya were praised for their dreadlocks, it would be an ideal way to show how culture is appreciated. In the beginning, individuals were classified by their language and culture but today there is a blurred line amongst them because so many families are mixed. Is it not time that culture should become more of a focal point in society where it can be appreciated, respectively, by everyone?

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