Whether you are white, black, brown, a person of color, mixed race, or any other classification of race, you’ve most likely experienced the exoticism of a culture. The thing is, you most likely took it in as a compliment. The truth to the matter is, when one is “exotifying” a culture, they are actually placing a barrier against two races. Living in 21st century America, this is something that should not be accepted, and as time goes on, we are visibly experiencing the riots caused by such actions.
For example, I recently read on another blog of how a woman was called “exotic” because of her skin tone and hair. After she was asked where she was from, the “compliment” was taken a step further; calling “her people” exotic and mystifying as well.
This type of misconception, exoticism, and racism can be accounted for in today’s media as well. For example, last year, when Selena Gomez’s Come & Get It music video came out, a lot of controversy was sparked. Although it was not her intent, she sexualized an important concept of Indian culture; the third eye. For Hindu’s this is an extremely religious concept, leading back to Lord Shiva and his “power”.
^That’s a modern kimono styled cardigan.
Another example of this is the up and coming fashion of Kimonos. Although now H&M, Forever 21 and almost any major department store carries a wide variety of them, it is belittling to the Japanese culture and the ceremonies and events they are made for. A black kimono (mofuku), was once known to be for funerals as a sign of respect towards the diseased. Now, you see people wearing the “stylish” versions of them as everyday wear.
^That’s an actual kimono.
Whilst it is not anyone’s “fault” that along with the assimilation of cultures come a mixing (sometimes an offensive type) of two cultures, it is important to keep in mind the background behind the clothing we wear, the music we listen to, and the words we speak.