Zeta Phi Beta Sorority event Thursday discusses cultural appropriation


Katja Benz, Campus Reporter

Eastern’s chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. held an event titled “Everyone Wants To Be Black Until It’s Time to be Black”: Cultural Appropriation on Feb. 3 via Zoom.

The event featured discussions about cultural appropriation as well as how cultural appropriation affects the black community.

Nia DeRamus, a junior majoring in English education and president of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., hosted the event. 

DeRamus said that the event helped black students speak out against cultural appropriation.

“Today’s event allows African Americans to speak their mind on some of the issues of Cultural Appropriation as well as how to appreciate our culture,” DeRamus said.

The presentation showed different forms of cultural appropriation towards the Black community.

“Cultural Appropriation is taking from a different culture and applying it to yourself without asking for permission,” DeRamus said. “This can often be seen in colloquiums, fashion and hair.”

Cherish Crosby, a junior mass communications major and treasurer for Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., attended the event. Crosby enjoyed seeing young people at the event.

“Today’s event was eye-opening,” Crosby said. “I got to see young women like me show passion about their culture and how the world we live in affects all of us.”

Despite the event being eye opening, DeRamus thinks that white people may not think that cultural appropriation is disrespectful.

“Often people do not think about the disrespect and offense that comes from using someone else’s culture,” DeRamus said.

Crosby also thinks that some non-African Americans may use African Americans as a form of Google. Crosby said that people should do their own research.

“People don’t consider that African Americans aren’t google for non-African American people,” Crosby said. We don’t have to answer questions that you can google on the internet or that people should have common sense about.”

DeRamus thinks there may be elements of lacking appreciation of different cultures.

“I think that it’s not the basis of incorrect perception; it’s the lack of appreciation,” DeRamus said. “Instead of having appreciation fully and honoring the culture by informing ourselves, it is often taking from the culture without remorse.”

Crosby thinks the event helped show more realistic representations.

“The topics in the presentation did not show inaccurate perceptions of Black people; they showed a misplaced perception of Black people,” Crosby said. “People who aren’t Black have an accurate perception of us, but it becomes fetishized to the point that they love our culture but don’t love us.”

Aside from attending events like this one, both DeRamus and Crosby think that it is important to attend events thrown by these groups year round.

“I think support can be simply showing up to an event and becoming aware of some of the issues that African Americans go through,” DeRamus said.

“I believe that all students should support all events that are on campus,” Crosby said. “Students shouldn’t pick and choose what events they want to go to because they might feel uncomfortable; the feeling of being uncomfortable is a gateway of understanding more about a culture that should be appreciated more.”

DeRamus hopes that people can be open-minded.

“I think togetherness starts with being open-minded to new cultures,” DeRamus said.


Katja Benz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]