Whoopi Goldberg needs to have several seats.
On last Thursday’s episode of “The View”, Whoopi Goldberg shared her view that cultural appropriation can also include “wearing White lady hair” and insists that if we are going to have a conversation on cultural appropriation, then we (Black women) should wear our natural hair. First of all, in the words of my favorite Kid Fury, Ms. Goldberg is LOUD and WRONG. It is not considered to be cultural appropriation to wear your hair straight or to put a weave in it. In fact, straight hair is not race specific as I have White girlfriends who have hair that is curly, some are wavy, some kinky and some straight. Also, many Black women who do choose to wear weave are not buying White girl hair, but are purchasing Peruvian, Malaysian and Brazilian everything- I have yet for a woman to come into the salon that I work at and state that she has bought some White Girl hair bundles. Nah Bruh- miss me with that. Taking it a step further, the use of weaves, hair clips and hair pieces are actually used to provide protection from heat damage to your natural hair or to add length and fullness to your hair for better styling options and choices. That isn’t a race thing- that’s a Woman thing. But I digress. What is both annoying and extremely disappointing is the fact that the counter argument to cultural appropriation always falls back to Black women wearing hair weave, but the issue is so much deeper than that.
The definition of cultural appropriation is as follows:
Cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of the elements of one culture by members of another culture. … This view distinguishes outright theft of cultural artifacts or exotic stereotyping from more benign borrowing or appreciation.
Or, in other words, you’re jocking Jay Z. There is a taste of mockery that comes with cultural appropriation, like you’re enjoying my culture and spitting in my face at the same damn time. Like my cultural expressions are good enough for you to enjoy, but not good enough for you to acknowledge their realness and origin. Take the Kardashians, for instance. Their name is often brought up in conversations of cultural appropriation because they are the prototype for sleeping with Black men, getting surgeries to make their figures and features look more full and supple like that of women of color, and will turn around and be quiet on Black issues. A true love of culture and of a people would result in the participation in both the good parts of that group’s culture, but also the bad. You cannot wear the look of a group of people, but refuse to wear their issues as well.
I see what Whoopi was trying to do, but I am not here for it. All that we Black women are saying is this: admire the Magic, respect the Magic, and don’t come for the Magic if you can’t handle the Magic. Or at least that is what I am saying. I’m not against interracial dating, I’m not against White women and men wanting to wear Timbs or listening to rap music or basking in anything that is Black culture, hip hop culture or whatever. But while you’re enjoying that aspect of our culture, also be aware that we are REAL PEOPLE with REAL ISSUES going on within our communities- stand with us in our struggles while you stand beside us enjoying our Gold.