Coachella: A Cultural Appropriation Festival

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Coachella: A Cultural Appropriation Festival

Nabeelah Tran, Writer

Coachella, an event that started on April 10 for its first week has made it the number one most trended topic on Twitter and Tumblr, but a plethora of the post about Coachella are not acknowledging the music but the cultural appropriation that occurs a lot every year.

“I feel that if you cannot respect a whole religion, you should not be wearing the religious articles…They should not be wearing it just to look ‘cool’ and they should respect the articles. Hinduism, like other religions, respect their own religious values which others should recognize,” said Kaajal Becha, a junior.

Coachella is an annual music festival held in the Colorado Desert in Indio, California. Coachella is known for their vast appearance of celebrities performing and attending, and also for many people dressing up and mocking many cultures.

“I think that it’s sh*t because other girls can wear whatever they want and when we wear it we get bullsh*t for it a lot, it’s kind of dumb and I think they shouldn’t wear it because it’s a disgrace to my culture,” said freshman Simran Kumar.

Cultural Appropriation is the act of using another culture as a costume, such as wearing any religious articles as accessories when someone is not a follower of that religion. It is a form of racism.

“I feel that people who criticize our culture and then wear it as an accessories are hypocrites,” said senior Priashna Priya

It all started on Tumblr when Hindu girls were sick and tired of seeing the many Coachella goers wear a bindi on their forehead as an accessory, they started a trend #ReclaimTheBindi

“All these thing that the people wear to Coachella are a part of a scared culture not some fashion trend,” said Jessica Gill a freshman.

Many socially aware Twitter users are taking a stand and trending the hashtags #ReclaimTheBindi with photos of many people who belong to the Hindu culture, wearing a bindi, reclaiming it back from the people who are stealing it. #CoachellaShutDown has also trended as a way to avert people from going to Coachella because of cultural appropriation.

“If it’s a religious item, people should understand that it’s sacred for us and also that karma is going to get them back,” said Priya.

The bindi is worn by Hindu men and women, for women the bindi signifies that they are married and men wear it as a Tilak during ceremonies in India. The bindi has different colors that are worn for different occasions and stages in life, not for people to wear at a music festival while getting high on various drugs.

Twitter user @mmyah_ tweeted a photo of herself with her bindi captioning it as, “#reclaimthebindi because the religious background of the bindi has been reduced to a hipster trend.”

Coachella goers from famous to not, still do not know that wearing something from different cultural groups is a form of racism, or cultural stereotyping.

Not only is the bindi being appropriated but there is also henna being appropriated which originated in Pakistan, India, Africa, and the Middle East, so are the Native American headdresses or war bonnet, and the oversexualization of the Japanese kimono. The list goes on, for the people who have no story but can only result to stealing the cultures of others.

“How are you going to insult a culture one day and then sexualize and exploit it the next for your own benefit?” said junior Pretti Gill.

Whether it be a fringed purse, feathers on your head, a ‘simple’ jewel on the forehead, it is not appreciating a culture, it is stripping the meaning, appropriating it as something hipster or for a trend.

“Appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalization but is deemed cool or funny when the privileged take it for themselves. It occurs when the appropriator is not aware of the deep significance of the culture they are partaking in,” said Amanda Stenberg, the Hunger Games actress.

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