Your Roots Are Showing

I just saw a post about why a white person having a mohawk is offensive to First Nations. One of the reasons was that appropriating a traditional Iroquois haircut is another form of theft committed by white nations and can be considered racist. I think that’s a pretty reasonable argument.

But then I thought about white people sporting dreadlocks which is a traditional Rastafarian hairdo. Is that also a form of culture theft or racism? And what about white people sporting Afros, originally an African do? Some Jews have them too. We call them Jewfros. Are we racist? And what about white people braiding their hair in all the funky ways that African-Americans do? Is that also culture theft? And what about white people who clean shave their heads? Are they guilty of stealing the traditional Tibetan monk haircut? And what if one day, wearing sidelocks became the next haircut fad? Should I feel offended that white people have appropriated the haircut of my fellow religious Jewish people? Should I accuse them all of antisemitism?

What if the situation was reversed? What about African women who get a perm? Can they be blamed for stealing the traditional do of white people, straight hair?

And what about clothes? Can white people be guilty of culture theft if they wear a poncho? Or a kaftan? Or a kimono? Also, what about food? Are all my friends really anti-Japan because they all happen to love Sushi?

What about other cultural stuff? Musical styles, musical instruments, languages and dialects, body art and body modifications? Am I racist because I have tattoos, which originated among African tribes? Really?

Where do we draw the line for culture theft? Where do we draw the line for racism?

Peace, love and roots are made to be broken

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