Appreciation or Appropriation?

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So, this might be a sensitive subject and I genuinely come to the table from a place of complete love. I’m also rather ignorant about the subject and I guess one could blame that on white privilege. However, in no way, shape, or form is this meant to insult ANYONE. And because I don’t like to offend people like that, I tend avoid certain things. However, I’ve noticed that Asian culture seems to be fair game. Oddly enough, its not one that I’ve been especially drawn to…except for the food. Cuz, let’s be fair, most Asian cuisine is pretty damn delicious and yes, I would honestly try some of the “weird” stuff they serve in the street food vendors I’ve seen on TV.
I guess my question is…when does it go from appreciation to appropriation? And when did this become a thing? For instance, growing up I always wondered how sports teams got away with using some of the names they used, because even as a child, I felt it was rather racist. My parents had no good answer about that teams and always said that one day they would change. They were right and as far as I know, most of them have changed. (I don’t follow sports, so some may not have changed yet.) Also, as a child, my favorite costume for Halloween was being a “gypsy,” but recently I discovered that even that term is considered racist now. I had no idea. I just loved all the jewelry and the flowing skirts. I liked it a whole lot more than being a princess! Also, as a kid…cowboys and Indians was a normal thing to play as a kid. We didn’t see them as good guys and bad guys, we just saw cowboy hats & guns or feathers & arrows. I always wanted to an Indian, because I thought they were cooler. I never could get into Westerns or cowboys.
So, if we look back on my childhood, without knowing my heart and reasons….was I racist? Was I appropriating someone’s culture? Well, I know my heart has never been racist. I know my parents weren’t racist. My family actually did have friends of other races and yes, they did come to our house (before you ask). With that said, my father was in the U.S. Army, so I was exposed to different races and cultures from a very early age.
To me, skin color is the same as hair color…the darker your natural pigment, the harder it is to change it.
Feel free to comment anyway you like, but know this…ANY clear-cut racist or hateful remarks will be deleted. This is not about hate or racism, this is about me trying to better understand the world I live in.

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