The Oxford University Press describes cultural appropriation as “A term used to describe the taking over of creative or artistic forms, themes, or practices by one cultural group from another.
It is in general used to describe Western appropriations of non‐Western or non‐white forms, and carries connotations of exploitation and dominance.” The academic reference goes on to point out that this term also described as, “cultural colonialism” has really gained momentum in the last 20 years, specifically as a “post‐colonial critique of Western expansionism.” Nonetheless, there is a fine line between cultural appropriation and cultures simply merging or adopting from each other.It demanded “White Girl, Take OFF your Hoops!!!”.
Alegria Martinez, Jacquelyn Aguilera, and Estefania Gallo-Gonzalez, were the three students who wrote this on the private college where tuition, room and board is a mere $66,192 a year.
“The mural, a free speech piece of art, was not about banning white people from wearing hoop earrings but rather highlighting how women of color feel about cultural appropriation and the invisibility of institutional issues they face,” they explained.
“The mural was not meant to police white women but serve as a form of education,” Martinez, Aguilera, and Gallo-Gonzalez argued.
“(T)he art was created by myself and a few other WOC [women of color] after being tired and annoyed with the reoccuring [sic] theme of white women appropriating styles,” she wrote prior to the piece in Latino Rebel was published.
“The culture actually comes from a historical background of oppression and exclusion,” she claimed.
“The black and brown bodies who typically wear hooped earrings (and other accessories like winged eyeliner, gold name plate necklaces, etc.) are typically viewed as ghetto, and are not taken seriously by others in their daily lives. Because of this, I see our winged eyeliner, lined lips, and big hoop earrings serving as symbols [and] as an everyday act of resistance, especially here at the Claremont Colleges.”.
“White people have actually exploited the culture and made it into fashion,” she accused.
“We are women of color from Los Angeles, Long Beach, and San Bernadino and that is where this cultural style comes from,” she said.
Martinez and her friends are not alone in this cultural appropriation movement.
Take henna painting on the hand or arms or bindi dots for fashion, has many people from these cultural backgrounds feeling like their traditional clothing and accessories are nothing more than props.
This to appear tough, streetwise, and perpetuating stereotypes.
Geisha, Mexicans, and black face costumes are seen more as a joke than an insult and disrespect to the people belonging to these races.
It comes down to the respect and acknowledgement of that person’s cultural and race.
There is a difference between wearing a sari to an Indian wedding as respect to the culture VS.
wearing it as a Halloween costume.
If they had visited their library in college under ancient history, they would have learned the ancient Greeks were wearing these gold earrings.
This dates back to 1650 to 1625 BC.
This woman is neither Latina nor black.
Ashurnasirpal II, King of Assyria, modern days Iraq, donned this piece of jewelry in 884-859 BCE.
This one included red stones and a thicker band.
And who can forget pirates.
They wore hoop earrings as they felt they contained healing powers. Others had more than one piercing in their ears to mark each voyage.
This fashion classic was brought over by the Spanish to Latin America and beyond.
Cholas is a slang time often referred to Mexican American women with indigenous roots.
It is also recognized as the stereotypical fashion of baggy jeans, braids, dark lipstick, plaid or flannel shirt, and of course hoop earrings.
“The chola aesthetic is the result of impoverished women making a lot out of the little things their families could afford,” Barbara Calderón-Douglass wrote in her piece, “The Folk Feminist Struggle Behind the Chola Fashion Trend.”
Nonetheless, hoop earrings go too far back in history to be claimed by one or two cultures only.
Nonetheless, it cannot be based solely on the history of one culture over another.
What they failed to see is that when white women wear it for fashion, that in itself is a form of artistic expression.
If it was worn to look like a chola for Halloween, then the anger is warranted.