In another episode of White Women co-opting Black culture, we have yet another White woman in the long line of White Women dressing up as Black Women. Every day that I look up, there is yet another White woman treating Black women like costumes they can toss on. It is easy for a White woman to put box braids, faux locs, dawn a fake afro, etc. in their hair and think nothing of it. Black culture for them is just cos-play. Black women are a costume they can paint on with a spray tan, poorly braided synthetic hair, plastic surgery for fuller hips, implants, and injections for a rounder backside and larger lips.
Meanwhile, Black women are fighting to wear the hair that grows out their heads. States are establishing laws in 2019 and beyond so that people with traditionally Black hairstyles will not face discrimination at work. In my state of Kentucky, Representative Attica Scott has pre-filed a bill to address hair discrimination. Black women are continually criticized and marginalized for how we wear our hair. Think about that. In 2019 almost 2020, laws have to be put on the books to allow Black women to wear their natural hair, braids, or locs. White Women like Julz, the Culture Vulture Kardashian Klan, and others never think about this when they adorn box braids, “boxer braids,” or Bantu knots. They don’t have to think about it. They don’t care anything about it because they know the stigma that Black women face; they will never have to face. They can “dress up” as Black women because they know after the photoshoots and the social media likes they can take the costume off. After they get the attention they are craving, they can go back to being White women. They can pull a Miley Cyrus, do away with the Black culture and accouterments until it is time to pull them out again for profit.
However, Black women cannot take off their skin. We wake up Black, and we go to bed Black. We fight just to be able to wear our hair. We are called ghetto for wearing certain hairstyles while White women are called “edgy” for the very same styles. We shop for items where Black hair products are regulated to a small section in a store and locked behind glass. We are judged for wearing an afro. We are discriminated in the workplace for wearing our natural hair. We fight to be seen and heard. Just to exist is a daily struggle, and no one REALLY wants that smoke.
Everybody wants to be Black until it’s time to be Black. Everybody loves the rhythm, but no one wants to deal with the blues. Everyone wants to Milly Rock in the rain, but no one wants to get wet. A Black costume is enough. The reality is, being a Black woman is something no White woman really wants to deal with.
White women can dress up and play Black until it’s time to get a mortgage.White women can dress up and adopt a blackcent until it’s time to interview for a job.White women can dress up and play Black until the police pull you over.White women can dress up and play Black until the police have a Glock to your head.White women can dress up and play Black because that is all it is for them. A game. A costume. Something to do to look trendy.
White women want all the attributes of Black women without ever caring about Black women, understanding the weight that Black women must carry or using their privilege to advocate for Black women. Black culture is just another thing for them to possess and attempt to claim as their own.
And for Black people, I hold many of us at fault. Many of you are Black Culture Judas’. You are quick to sell Black Culture for 30 pieces of silver. Many of you see nothing wrong with what women like Kim and Julz are doing, and in fact, you support it blind to the fact that daily you are being stripped of who you are. It’s as if you do not recognize what you have. Black culture moves everything. Don’t be so quick to give Black culture away because a White person can clap on beat and take a glamorous photo. Not everyone is SUPPOSED to be at the cookout. Some White people will dance to your rhythm one day and call you a n*gger the next day. Some White people will call everything about Black culture ugly, repackage it and sell it right back to you. Some White officers will do a viral dance in police uniforms and shoot a Black man dead the very same day. Some White people will do a shoulder shimmy one day and then take your place writing for a Black publication tomorrow. Some White women will criticize everything you say online and then use your very talking points for their own diversity and equity panel discussion. Because White people understand the value of Black people and Black culture and have throughout history. They have used Black culture to sell everything from makeup to cars to food to soda. White people understand how critical Black people and culture are across the world, so their goal is to always take from it for their gain. Here is a thought, instead of supporting someone that doesn’t value anything about your culture except what they can extract from, try supporting Black women that help build the culture.
While many of these women think this trend to be Black is cute, Black women are not costumes. And try as you might, Kim, Julz, and others, on your best day, you will never be a Black woman and lack the fortitude even to handle what being Black entails. I suggest you stop playing dress up and give up your weak, lackluster, filtered imitations of Black women. Even though Oscar Wilde said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness,” we are not flattered. You may have fooled everyone else, but Black women are rarely fooled. We see through your poorly packaged mediocrity, and Black women are unimpressed.