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It seems one of the early themes of 2014 will be one that carries over from 2013: appropriation.

It seems everywhere you looked in 2013 white folks were participating (I use the phrase loosely) in cultural activities that originated in communities of color. The whitewashing of American culture was in full effect during 2013 and 2014 seems to be shaping up as much of the same. From the resurgence and complete bastardization of the “Harlem Shake” to Miley Cyrus going from having “never heard a Jay-Z song” to twerking her way to infamy Black peoples culture, specifically hip-hop, was a popular target of this appropriation. This all climaxed when Macklemore won Grammy’s over Kendrick Lamar. Even people who had never thought about appropriation before in their lives nor followed hip-hop knew something was up.

None of this is surprising, nor new, just ask James Brown, Muddy Waters and the rest of the true founders of rock and roll. Yet, it is the very logical result of a culture that thrives on the commodification necessary to create profit. Because capitalism is at the core of mainstream American culture everything must be sanitized and prepared for easy consumption by the purchasing public. This is all that matters, this is the lowest common denominator that mainstream American culture vibrates on.

Because of that truth Europeans are left culturally void. They gave up or were stripped of their languages, religions, traditions, rituals, music, and foods all for acceptance into American whiteness. This has left a whole in every person who identifies as white and they are desperately attempting to fill it with something meaningful, with community, with laughter, with kinship. The most obvious manifestations of the humanity whites are starving for comes from the lives of oppressed communities who had nothing more than culture to keep them alive and connected. As long as we Europeans do not triage, and ultimately heal from this cultural trauma by divesting immediately from the violence that is whiteness we will continue to function in large part as cultural leeches.

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