2016 Hampton Heritage Symposium: How To Avoid Causing Harm Through Racial Appropriation

When the organizers of the 2016 Hampton Heritage Symposium sent us an invitation to participate in this event, we thought that it was the perfect opportunity to learn about different cultures. Despite many countries like the United States being known as a melting pot for people from various origins, after all, there are still a lot more folks who remain unaware of the challenges that immigrants experience. Some even end up committing racial appropriation while trying hard to “honor” other cultures.

In case you are afraid of making the same mistake, you need to learn how to avoid causing this problem.

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Source: unsplash.com

1. Stop Calling People Exotic

The first thing you need to do is stop using the word “exotic” to describe a person of color. In your head, it may sound like a positive compliment for how unique that individual looks in comparison with the rest of you. However, you are also singling him or her out effectively instead of allowing the man or woman to feel as if he or she belongs to the group.

2. Steer Clear Of Labeling Folks Based On Their Race

When you look at how non-White people get introduced in mainstream media, you tend to hear things like “She is the first Asian girl to host a morning show” or “He is the first Black person to get a nomination for this category.” Although many are proud of these achievements in a White-dominated realm, you are also unconsciously giving labels, which are highly unnecessary when you hold the same citizenship. It is best to steer clear of doing so if you wish to be fair to everyone.

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Source: commons.wikimedia.org

3. Avoid Taking Part In Social Experiments

Have you seen some YouTube personalities and celebrities get involved in social experimentations wherein a non-Muslim woman wear hijab, or a White individual darkens his or her complexion for a day? Their followers may say, “Aw, my idol wants to increase awareness about what I feel.” The problem with it, however, is that you can never understand what someone goes through by being in his or her shoes for 24 hours. It can honestly seem disrespectful to the rest of the people in that community; that’s why you should avoid taking part in such experiments.

 

Let’s all help end racial appropriation today to give kids a better future.