What is cultural appropriation you may ask?
Culture appropriation in a sense is the idea of a dominant culture "borrowing" a cultural aspect from a minority. Blacks, Asians, Mexicans, Native Americans and indigenous peoples are generally perceived as the target for culture appropriation. One may think, well, it's just borrowing right? It's just wearing an "Indian" headdress as a Halloween costume. It's just for fun. The point is, it isn't just for fun. Although you may not intend to cause harm, you must be aware of what's being portrayed here. While a person is wearing a certain costume for one night, a person is actually out there living it, each and every day; something they can't just remove after one night. It is their life. People's identities and cultures are more than just a costume.
Cultural appropriation isn't just a thing of the present. The concept of "blackface" was well perpetrated in the 19th century. Every immigrant group was stereotyped in the realm of entertainment during this century, but the blatant history of prejudice and ignorance towards black people has been longed provoked. At the time, White America's conceptions of Black entertainers were shaped by mocking caricatures along with mocking black features, and with the act of painting one's face black with either a layer of burnt cork on a layer of coca butter or black grease.
Wearing a harmless costume may not denote the same racial intent as blackface, but it is still wrong. It is exploitative because it robs minority groups of the credit they deserve. According to EverydayFeminism.org, "A harsh majority of humorous or erotic costumes are of marginalized and oppressed groups of people." Someone's "sexy geisha" may be worn simply because of it's appeal, but is ultimately offensive to those who abide by such look everyday of their life.
Appreciate culture. Don’t appropriate it.
-- Lupita Villareal