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1 minute reading

[Columbusing] White people often claim to “discover” things something that has existed forever outside of their own paradigm

[Columbusing] White people often claim to “discover” things something that has existed forever outside of their own paradigm [Columbusing] White people often claim to “discover” things something that has existed forever outside of their own paradigm
Source: Carmen Häßner via Behance
Because Internet
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Because Internet
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In English, the association of words from African American English with coolness and their subsequent appropriation by non-African Americans is much older than the internet. Terms associated with African American music, including blues, jazz, rock and roll, and rap, have all made their way into broader Western culture, while the speakers who originated them continue to be stigmatized for the way they talk. One thing that changes with the decentralization of online media is that the original speakers can become more visible. While a white person in the sixties listening to Elvis might have had no idea that he was singing a style heavily influenced by black performers like B.B. King and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, it's easier to see that mainstream America's adoption of "on fleek" came from a post on Vine (a now defunct service for sharing short videos) by the user Peaches Monroee.

Still, it's tempting to mislabel the many words currently being appropriated into general American pop culture from African American English as "social media words" simply because they're used by young people, and young people are on social media, without giving due credit to the words' true origins. Fittingly, the internet has come up with a word for this: columbusing," or white people claiming to discover something that was already well established in another community, by analogy with how Columbus gets credit for discovering America despite the millions of people who already lived there.

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