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The woke MSM in a frenzy about Justin Bieber’s dreadlocks shows how silly the idea of cultural appropriation is

Micah Curtis
Micah Curtis

is a game and tech journalist from the US. Aside from writing for RT, he hosts the podcast Micah and The Hatman, and is an independent comic book writer. Follow Micah at @MindofMicahC

is a game and tech journalist from the US. Aside from writing for RT, he hosts the podcast Micah and The Hatman, and is an independent comic book writer. Follow Micah at @MindofMicahC

The woke MSM in a frenzy about Justin Bieber’s dreadlocks shows how silly the idea of cultural appropriation is
White pop star Justin Bieber’s decision to sport dreadlocks has seen him accused of insensitivity by those determined to stoke racial divisions – and exposed the inherent absurdity surrounding the idea of cultural appropriation.

It’s a horrifying thing to see someone’s culture appropriated. When something that is distinctly characteristic of your own people is stolen and used as a fashion item, it hurts a part of the soul. 

It feels cheap and insensitive, as if the person who is appropriating culture has zero appreciation for all your ‘lived experiences’. It just shows that people with power can do whatever they want, and ignore those who have been marginalized.

So now that Justin Bieber has decided to rock the dreadlock look again, I'm sure the Greeks are very offended.

I’m kidding, of course. Hopefully, it’s obvious that I’m taking the mickey here. I’m of the opinion that the idea of cultural appropriation is, in fact, idiotic.

So when I see Woke Twitter, along with CNN, Insider, and USA Today making a stink about Bieber’s latest hairstyle, I can't help but roll my eyes. Writer Claire Lampen of New York Magazine's The Cut was particularly scathing. Predictably, she is white.

Because whenever a racial storm of this type is being whipped up, you’ll usually find woke white women at its center. This sort of stink isn't that different from when Adele wore knots in her hair and a Jamaican flag to celebrate the Notting Hill carnival. Yes, the same carnival that is supposed to celebrate Caribbean culture. 

And the funny thing about most of the complaints I saw was that they didn’t come from Jamaicans. Even more perplexingly, no one stopped to think about why so few of the complaints were coming from Jamaican people.

The inherent silliness about all this is down to how foolish the idea of cultural appropriation is at its core. In my experience, it’s a rarity that people who are actually from certain cultures are unenthusiastic about people from other cultures joining in their experiences.

A case in point: I've been to quite a few Cinco de Mayo celebrations with friends who were born in Mexico and had a blast. I was made more than welcome. The fact is that many cultures in the world are incredibly inviting to those who are not born into it. 

That's why it’s rare to see people from the originating culture worry about such things. Were Scottish people offended when non-Scots participated in Highland Games events on the History Channel show The Strongest Man in History? Nope. 

In the specific case of dreadlocks, there are cases of several European cultures – including the Greeks – wearing them before black people did. As such, whenever people start to complain about the likes of Justin Bieber, they come across as historically ignorant. 

The idea that someone is actually hurting another culture because of a hairstyle could only be promoted by someone who doesn't understand culture in general. In this day and age, if we want to promote conversation and unity we should simply ignore claims of cultural appropriation. The fact is the world would be a better place if we all shared our culture and encouraged others to do likewise.

Claims of cultural appropriation always seem to come from miserable people wanting to spread bitterness. That’s why it is impossible to take them seriously. So let Bieber have his dreads… and the critics can wallow in their self-righteous fury and misery.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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