To start I am grateful to anyone who is paying attention to my work.
First I would like to say, if you can enlighten me to the specific offense in using the garment the subjects of my photo are wearing and any cultural associations, spiritual, sacred or otherwise that I may not be aware of, then I will be the first to apologize to you for my lack of understanding of that cultural tradition. My community includes both friends and family that are of Mexican ethnicity and ancestry, and to my knowledge simply adorning ones self with a poncho is not grounds for appropriation, but I will concede if given thorough explanation to the contrary.
Second, I am an African American (BLACK) male born and raised in North America in Oakland, CA.
On the topic of appropriation, I am 100% certain that among our young generation and for some time now, the common, language and aesthetic and personal choices in fashion, styling’s and even attitudinal expression have been lifted from my culture many times with out any reference to the Black culture that originated it. This issue is so prolific and wide spread that to exert time and energy to this would in fact require me to only devote time to doing only that. Perhaps you would agree that this is the best use of my time, calling out every non-black person who uses the word “nigga” like HERE or complaining every time I see a black person depicted in a way that could possibly seem to others unfavorable like HERE (but I personally wouldn’t react to those examples)… Or I can perhaps myself see it as a part of what has become an incredibly complex, and I will admit, sometimes confusing pluralistic culture of expression that online social media as a platform has created, that sometimes does need more context. However most time no real harm is intended or actually being done. But I hope you would be as quick to call out appropriation on my behalf as I would for you. Appropriation most certainly exists, but it is my belief, in this case, that appropriation is not simply seeing someone who does not phenotypically look like you doing or wearing things you would culturally.
Which brings me to my third and final point.
I am an Artist.
Part of what I do is to create something that will elicit a response. And it seems for good or bad that in this case I have done my job.