What Do Phrases Like ‘Cultural Appropriation’ and ‘Virtue Signaling’ Mean? | Savoir Flair
Op-Ed
What Do Phrases Like ‘Cultural Appropriation’ and ‘Virtue Signaling’ Mean?
article COTTONBRO STUDIO
by Grace Gordon 6-minute read June 14, 2020

A rundown of all the terms you need to know to help you better understand the movement and its terminology, so that you can be a more informed participant in the conversation.

article COTTONBRO STUDIO

Close your eyes, and imagine that you are Black, that your parents are Black, that you grew up in a Black household in a Black neighborhood, and attended a Black school. Would you have the same room? The same home? The same clothes? Would you have the same reading list, watch the same shows, listen to the same songs, eat the same food? Would you have the same friends, the same job, the same hopes and dreams? The answer to most of those questions would most likely be “no”. But, the thought experiment does provide a jumping off point for introspection, especially if you’re beginning the uncomfortable journey of taking a look at your own inherent biases.


Decades ago, educator and anti-racism activist Jane Elliott said to a room full of college students, “I want every white person in this room who would be happy to be treated the way this society in general treats our Black citizens, to please stand.” The room goes silent. Not a single person stands. 


You cannot dispute the fact that being Black in America, in Europe, or in the Middle East, carries with it inherent disadvantages – brought about racism. In light of the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests, conversations about race and racism are at an all-time high. For many of us, it can be the first time hearing terminology like “allyship” and “virtue signaling”, and it may also be the first time you are really considering the underlying systemic racism that is built into the infrastructure of societies, governments, and industries around the world.


To help you better understand the movement and its terminology, Savoir Flair has compiled a list of helpful definitions so that you can be a more informed participant in the conversation.

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