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Whoopi Goldberg: Blonde Hair Weaves Are Cultural Appropriation

Whoopi Goldberg (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Whoopi Goldberg said on the view that black women wearing blond hair weaves amounts to “cultural appropriation.” 

“I think there’s a lot of appropriation going back and forth, the weave . . . the weave doesn’t look like this,” Goldberg said, grabbing her own hair, and then adding “the weave kind of looks like this,” while pointing to the hair of her blonde co host. 

“If you are going to talk about appropriating and what’s cool and what’s not, then we are all in deep doo-doo because we are doing it to each other constantly. Everybody is appropriating. Japanese are appropriating. Black folks are appropriating. Spanish people appropriate. We are appropriating each other. It’s not just a black thing.”

In an article for Jet Magazine, Zainib Karim stated that although “to the naked eye, Goldberg’s words might hold some truth,” “what she is speaking of is not cultural appropriation; it’s assimilation.” 

“Assimilation is the sister-wife that sprung from white supremacist standards of beauty, living, and social practices,” he writes. 

Appropriation is, as another View co host, Sunny Hostin, put it: When “a dominant group in society exploits the culture of a less privileged group without understanding that group’s experience.”

Basically, Goldberg didn’t understand that just because someone uses something from another culture, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that person is engaging in “cultural appropriation.” 

#related#But is this misunderstanding really that surprising? 

After all, it does seem that, particularly in social justice circles and on college campuses, any use of something from another culture  – regardless of the circumstances or intent — is fair game for being called out as “cultural appropriation.” Everything from yoga to toe rings to sumo-wrestling fat suits have earned this label, and perhaps it’s time that more people take a look at actual impacts and definitions before knee-jerk shaming others. 

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