Should You Be Wearing That Keffiyeh?

August 19, 2013 | Marina Galperina

Here are some photographs of people wearing keffiyehs, crosses, turbans and bindis, with quotes explaining their importance to their direct cultural affiliations. Here are also some photos of people wearing scarfs, pendants, headdresses and face jewelry that happen to look like keffiyehs, crosses, turbans and bindis, with quotes defending their fashion choices.

U.K. photographer and Pakistani immigrant Sanaa Hamid’s Cultural Appropriation: A Conversation is a bit confrontational. While she says she maintains a neutral attitude during the interviews…

I give the appropriator and the appropriated the opportunity to defend themselves and create a dialogue between them, while maintaining a neutral stance myself.

She’s told the NY Daily News that overall, she finds this appropriation — as well as that of “dreadlocks, traditional African prints, images of Hindu gods, Native American accessories, henna, Arabic scripture, tikka headpieces” — offensive. For example, the bindi represents a third eye for emanating spiritual vision. Girl, you got no spiritual vision. It’s very sparkly though.

Hamid welcomes participants. Please someone who isn’t all just “It’s just a scarf! Pfft tee hee!” participate. So far, the reply of the appropriators are dismissive and makes one (ok, makes me) dislike them on a personal level and I can’t properly assert ‘n’ verbalize my position. At least one person who does this as an outsider in solidarity, and not for fashion’s sake?