Kirkwood High School student newspaper

Celia Bergman

Think cultural appropriation in St. Louis doesn’t exist? Think again.

Show me

Missouri: The Show-Me State. One of these days it’s bound to start living up to its nickname, right?

All I want is for someone to show me. Show me that we’re done taking what’s not ours from minorities. Show me that we’re not robbing marginalized cultures of their customs and practices, rarely acknowledging any historical context or the years and years of oppression they endured. Show me that good ole suburban St. Louis can rise above such blunt injustice.  

Go on, I’m waiting.

Show me that I can go to LouFest without seeing white girls roaming around with sleeves of henna tattoos — a tradition meant for Muslim or Hindu women on special occasions — because I’m sorry, but Forest Park doesn’t quite make the cut. Or without looking at the bedazzled foreheads of my peers because a bindi is nothing more than a little bling, right? Religious emblem or trendy gem, you see the problem with Caucasians using them. And of course, I have to ask, is there a reason cornrows have made a comeback? Oh white girl, I’d love to hear about your Gen-Z troubles, but I just don’t know if they’d compare to North African struggles.

And is there a way I can celebrate Super Bowl LIV without dehumanizing Native Americans for the Kansas City Chiefs? Go ahead, Coach Reid. Bang your pre-game ritual drum, commence the tomahawk chops and pull a name out of a hat for that lucky cheerleader who gets to ride your pinto horse mascot, Warpaint, onto the field of Arrowhead Stadium. You say these customs are done to honor Native Americans, but would the NCAI agree?

Does the exploitation and destruction of African-American homes on the northside of St. Louis from the Pruitt-Igoe project count as showing me when it put thousands out of their homes? Really, I want to know. I want to know if, Minoru Yamasaki, “award-winning” architect, honestly believed his buildings wouldn’t become more than a ramshackle warehouse soley inhabited by impoverished, black citizens despite his lack of concern for their well-being and dream for finally achieving safer living conditions; forced to brave an even greater fail of the development than before in the ‘50’s.

What about 2012? You remember, the year supermodel, Karlie Kloss, took the Victoria’s Secret runway by storm. If you’re unfamiliar, this may ring a bell: feathered headdress, turquoise jewelry and fringed suede lingerie. You heard it here folks, St. Louis’ finest. Was she really sorry for appropriating an entire culture of Native Americans, or was she just ashamed for getting called out? Who knows, but at least we can ponder, as her sincere, heartfelt apology tweet will assist our thinking. Alas, this wasn’t the last time Victoria Secret poked fun at a group of individuals.

Missouri, it’s time to show me that we know how to be politically correct.

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