How to be white without offending anyone?

Question by willow: How to be white without offending anyone?
Okay, lately I’ve noticed an influx of what looks to be native american tribal patterns in fashion. A majority of the kids at my local high school like to adorn themselves with tribal patterned pencil skirts, jackets, t-shirts, etc. I’ve also noticed that dread locks are becoming increasingly popular, and a friend of mine, a Caucasian friend, posted a photograph of himself wearing a dashiki. There are countless more instances where caucasian people I know blindly “steal” from another culture, in other words are taking part in cultural appropriation.

What I want to know is, how can you be white without offending anyone today in America? So many of the ways people express themselves now have become a part of typical American culture and take part in some form of cultural appropriation. And what are more examples of cultural appropriation that I may be ignorant of? Wearing tribal patterns, headresses, dreadlocks and cornrows, wearing dashikis, Ohm symbols, etc. are all things that I’ve picked up on, but at what extent does this go to? I don’t want to offend anyone, but I don’t know how to in today’s society. What are your personal views on white people getting dread locks, wearing dashikis and wearing tribal print, etc?
@Mista Soulo, yeah I mean I do agree. The reason I’m asking these questions in the first place tho is because I really wanted to get dreadlocks, I think they’re really pretty, but I started to dig into it a little more and do my own research and it seems that a lot of africans/african americans get really offended by them on people who aren’t of their culture. And if that’s the case, I don’t want to get them ya know. I’m asian and white so I understand if getting them isn’t my business.
But that also got me to thinking of all the other ways white people appropriate others cultures hence tribal patterns, dashikis, and what not. I don’t want to take anything from anyone that isn’t for me to take and I don’t want to be disrespectful

Best answer:

Answer by Mista Soulo, cigar shaped space ship
Okay, dreadlocks are a hairstyle. Saying it’s wrong for Whites to get dreads ALSO means it’s wrong for MOST African cultures to get dreads as well. Because not even CLOSE to all African cultures are even CLOSE to the same.

I don’t care if someone wears tribal print either… alright, the gist of things is, it’s called a multicultural society, so if others cannot adapt to other cultures… then that doesn’t equate.

I believe people can live how they want, you know? As long as they (you know a kid with dreads who might be “white”) don’t go around saying, “ayo I invented dreads, quit copying me”… then that is PURE ignorance.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “How to be white without offending anyone?”

  1. Wear what you want to wear you may start a trend. Trust me dashikis and cornrows aren’t the first thing white people have stolen from a culture and probably wont be the last

  2. I can’t presume to speak about the other cultural items…..but regarding native American styles?

    Ok….wearing native inspired clothing, Minnetonka moccasins, jewelry and so on, is fine, so long as you aren’t trying to put together an “indian costume” out of it.

    Wearing feathered headdress to concerts and such is VERY offensive, because that is a sacred item, and must be earned, and it is NEVER worn by women. Please read this:
    http://nativeappropriations.com/2010/04/but-why-cant-i-wear-a-hipster-headdress.html

    So, just avoid the feathers and sacred items, and you’re fine. (dreamcatchers aren’t sacred, go ahead and use them if you want, they are just cradle decorations, nothing else. Nothing spiritual about them.)

    btw….Thank you for having the maturity and respect to ask this question. That this issue even occurred to you tells me a lot about your character, and it is a wonderful attitude to have. Thank you. This respect for our cultures is rare, and very much appreciated.

    oh, and dreadlocks were worn by primitive celtic tribes, (who were white people in Ireland and England and France) so it isn’t just a “black” thing. Just throwing that out there.

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