S2 Episode 11: Cultural Appropriation/ Assimilation/ Appreciation

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

On this episode of The Black New York, we kick off week two of Black History Month with a conversation around culture and the ways one can appropriate, assimilate, and appreciate it. Turn your headphones up to our thoughts about assimilation within the black community, because you know code-switching always seems to make us more "marketable," whatever that even means.

Before we start off with the recap for this week's episode, why don't we get into some definitions? Let's get into the one word, we all know best, APPROPRIATION. Appropriation is better known as the adoption of elements of one's culture by members of another culture. These elements are mostly used outside of their original cultural context and against the wishes of the representatives of the originating culture. Also known as that time when big hoop earrings and long acrylic nails held a negative connotation for black and brown women, but is now seen as the latest fashion trend, so you know, it's cool.

The next word on our list is ASSIMILATION, which is the process whereby a minority group gradually adopts the customs and attitudes of the prevailing culture. Black and brown people all over the world have walked hand in hand with assimilation. Carrying it around like dead weight to get that new job promotion or make chart sales in efforts to be more palatable. If you ask us, we think the rest of the world forced fed us their bullshit because they realized we have A1 quality taste.

That brings us to APPRECIATION, which didn't get defined on this week's episode, but is the recognition and acknowledgment of the good qualities of someone or something. Recognition is like praise, or a reward almost. Rewards make us feel good, it makes us feel of value and most importantly, it makes us feel credited. So the next time you think about appropriating or the next time you see appropriation, make sure you love our culture ten times harder because we are IT. PERIOD.

Before we get into this week's self-work, we have to give a quick shout out to ACCULTURATION. This occurs when the minority culture changes and is still able to retain a unique cultural marker of language, food, and customs. As New Yorkers, a melting pot of cultures, and children of migrants, acculturation is apart of our story also and deserves, some deep looking into it.

Thanks for tuning in with us and don't forget to check in with this week's self-work below.

This weeks self-work (homework):

Analyze your personal experiences and think deeply about how cultural appropriation, assimilation, appreciation, and acculturation has shown up for you in this lifetime. Really sit with yourself and think of times you've had to assimilate and think about the feelings surrounding it. If you're a descendant of migrants or a migrant yourself, think about your experience acclimating to American culture. Does it does

Also, Black Americans are sure to big up yourself because you're apart of something beautiful. Non-Black Americans are sure to give thanks to Black Americans and our culture because it's blessed us all throughout the lifetimes!

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