What is Cultural Appropriation?

Submitted by Joan Plumley

Cinco de Mayo was celebrated on May 5. Did you see fake sombreros and mustaches, or hear made-up Spanish words? Many of these customs don’t truly honor the culture and historical significance of the day which is the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the French in 1862.

Cultural appropriation is when cultural elements are used—including symbols, art, language, customs, etc.—for one’s own use, commodification, or profit, often without understanding, acknowledgement, or respect for its value in the original culture. When you participate in a celebration of a culture not your own, do you know what you are really celebrating?
Sources:Colours of Resistance Archive, “Cultural Appropriation” (accessed June 2013).
Anti-Racism Daily, Unpack the Commercialism of Cinco de Mayo. May 5, 2023.