Imagine a world without cultural appropriation… Imagine a world where frat boys never throw “ghetto”- themed parties. Imagine a world where Sofia Vergara doesn’t have to play the “spicy” Latina in every role she snags. Okay, now snap out of it because that world doesn’t exist, fam.
We’re in 2014 and dominant WASP culture still finds ways to mischaracterize, exploit, and demean people of color.. like, say Indians (and yes, I said Indians because most Native Americans have appropriated the term for themselves). We work in a fashion industry that likes to consider itself ahead of the curve, in tune with the world, all that good stuff. Fact is, whether it’s just willful ignorance or blatant disregard for the culture, design houses really don’t care – they’ll pimp out a traditional Chimayo design if the money’s right.
What else are we to expect, though? I mean, the majority of U.S. citizens don’t believe the Washington football team should change their name from “Redskins” to something a little less… disrespectful? You throw a traditional, sacred design on a rustic-looking flannel and sell it at Urban Outfitters for the pack of frat boys in khaki shorts that sit above the knees… well, you’ve got a damn good business plan.