Is it okay for white women to wear cornrows? I did them myself and mean no disrespect as an activist for equality, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, or religion. I have heard it is a fashion statement to wear my hair like this, is it true?

Thank you for your question! All individuals have the right to wear their hair any way they wish; however, it’s good to know about some of the controversy that is currently surrounding this trend. Some people argue that cornrows are not just a hairstyle, rather they represent a lot of cultural history (cornrows have been an exclusive black hairstyle that originated somewhere around 3000 BC). Other individuals might go as far as to say that wearing cornrows (if you are white) is considered cultural appropriation or “an act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture.” Most people, however, feel that cornrows are simply a cool fashion statement. You seem very clear that the reason you are wearing cornrows is not based on disrespect for a certain group of people. It might be a good idea to learn more about the history of cornrows and practice a response just in case anyone remarks about your hairstyle.