YOU, white person, may have completely educated yourself wholly and thoroughly about some aspect of PoC culture. Say, for example, the bindi, since that’s the topic of conversation on this blog right now. Maybe you, just like the Indians who wear it, wholly appreciate its historical, cultural and religious significance to the max. You still cannot wear it. Do you know why?
Because unless you go around explaining to each and every person, and I mean EVERY person who sees you the significance of what you’re wearing, you are simply letting yourself into cultural appropriation. Perhaps that is not your intent. You do, after all, know the significance of it. But the way it is set up right now, your whiteness will automatically dilute the significance of what you’re wearing, because OTHER people will look at you and not think of it’s significance, they will think it a pretty fashion statement. And right there, you have played into the hands of racism and cultural appropriation. And a bindi is religious at first glance, yes, but that is where your lack of historical knowledge is showing, because historically it also has a HUGE cultural significance. And while a person can become Hindu, they CANNOT *become* Indian. If a white person tries, or calls themselves Indian, you’re undermining the oppression an Indian has undergone at the hands of white people, and still are because this is NOT a post-racism world, and by doing so you have shown that you do not care about the plight of brown people and their oppression at the hands of white people throughout history and today. Your white privilege will ensure you never have to endure that hardship, and will only get the added benefit of being thought “fashionable”. That is racist.
And if you truly want to appreciate something, them leave it alone. Humans have this thing where they want to posses everything. I’m sorry (not really though, no) but you cannot have everything. If you truly want to honour it, do not dilute its significance.