Christopher Columbus Syndrome

Christopher Columbus was credited for discovering America

For the record if you did not know, he didn’t discover anything, he happened upon land that the Native Americans inhabited and the genius thought it was India so he wrongfully called the Natives “Indians.” Celebrating Columbus Day might as well be "Go into Other People's Houses, Kick Them Out and Call It Yours Day" because that's what happened.

Recently in fashion and pop culture a lot of ideas that have black origins are being presented as "new discoveries" by a lot of white style icons and white owned businesses. Duplication and appropriation of black culture seems to be a trend, and just like Columbus these "swagger jackers" are misusing the term admiration and instead are appropriating.

Admiration and appreciation for a culture is showing respect and understanding the quality and importance of it. Appropriation is the act of taking or using something, without authority or rights and using it in a way that is unfair, illegal or ultimately disrespectful.

There have been a couple of instances of Christopher Columbus Syndrome recently that are blatantly disrespectful (and some even laughable) to Blacks and Black culture that need to be addressed.

Christopher Columbus Syndrome is the act of pretending to others and often convincing one’s self that a person|place|thing or idea that one happens upon becomes their discovery after wrongfully naming and REpresenting the person|place|thing|idea to the masses. This syndrome includes trying to rebrand or simplify and gentrify the complexities of cultures that isn't theirs and in the end misrepresenting the beauty of the person|place|thing|idea.

“Mini Buns”

Actually called BANTU KNOTS


"Boxer Braids"

Actually called CORNROWS

Because I surely remember my mom doing my hair like this and she didn't call it "boxer braids"

Columbused by: The Kardashians Origins: Cornrows, braids, are a traditional African style of hair grooming where the hair is braided very close to the scalp, using an underhand, upward motion to produce a continuous, raised row. Cornrows are often formed in simple, straight lines, as the name implies, but they can also be formed in complicated designs.  Depictions of women with cornrows have been found in Stone Age paintings in the Tassili Plateau of the Sahara, and have been dated as far back as 3000 B.C.[2] This tradition of female styling in cornrows has remained popular throughout Africa, particularly in the Horn of Africa and West Africa. Historically, male styling with cornrows can be traced as far back as the early nineteenth century to Ethiopia, where warriors and kings such as Tewodros II and Yohannes IV were depicted wearing cornrows.

“Hot Combs”

Columbused by: Urban Outfitters

Origin: Every Black mother’s stove top, an article from Black Girl Long Hair stated,

Just for clarification a hot comb is a metal comb that is used to straighten moderate or kinky hair and create a smoother hair texture, there is definitely no use for it from people with fine hair.

"In all actuality, the tool was used by French women in 1845 who were trying to replicate the styles worn by the ancient Egyptians (hmmm how ironic). The comb was actually sold in Sears and Bloomingdales to the American public in the 1800s. However when Madam C.J. Walker received a patent for the hot comb, she redesigned it giving it wide spaced teeth so that it could better accommodate thicker hair of various textures."

Hot combs were a significant improvement from the older methods used by African- Americans during slavery to straighten hair. Back then they used to use axle grease, heated butter knives and homemade lye. That’s how it came to be in the black community. The actual inventor of the hot comb is still unknown.

“Michelle Obama’s speech”

The way Michelle Obama's speech was copied was so sad it was actually laughable.

Origin: Michelle Obama's team

Columbused by: Melania Trump

“A Tan”

Actually called Melanin

Origin: Production|Function:

A little science lesson: Skin complexion is a characteristic that is affected by many factors. Various genes, nutrition, and environmental factors can play a role in the color of skin. One of the most notable components of skin that contributes to complexion is a pigment known as melanin. The first humans are thought to have originated in Africa, where those who had developed darker skin demonstrated a better chance of survival, as the excessive amounts of melanin prevented folate from being destroyed in the blood. As man began to migrate north, to less sun drenched areas, the dark tone of the skin became an undesirable trait, as with the lack of intense radiation came a deficiency in vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient where the synthesis is initiated in the skin and whose production is stimulated by UV radiation

  • Exposure to UV radiation: Melanin is produced as a response to UV radiation in order to prevent damage to the DNA in the integument. Individuals, who are exposed to UV light, such as the sun, will produce more melanin for protection.
  • Genetic makeup: Different ethnicities and cultures are genetically pre-disposed to producing particular shades and amounts of melanin due to inheritance. This is, essentially, one of the primary indicators used in determining race in the human population. It is important to note that this is, and has historically been, a controversial form of human identification.
  • Size of melanocytes: Melanocyte size varies in different individuals and may lead to a difference in the amount of melanin produced per cell.
  • Disease conditions: Several diseases may affect melanin production, including albinism, a genetic inability to produce melanin, and vitiligo, a progressive loss of melanocytes.


Kinky hair is also a defensive mechanism against the sun.

Columbused by: Melanin-less people every where

From a Teen Vogue article

"Just like plump lips and big butts are now en vogue because of the popularity of the Kardashians, and folks are perfectly happy buying dark brown skin from a bottle"


 Shared by -  Leila of BlackGirlLongHair:

The Stockholm-based Emmaatan salon, run by Emma Patissier Alm, specializes in spray tanning. But while tanning salons are often associated with being ‘bronzed’ (or, in a worst case scenario, ‘orange’), Emmaatan delves into deep brown colors with spray tan solutions like “Violet Onyx“, “Dark Ash Onyx“, “Caramel” and “Dark Chocolate.”

Dark skin seems to be a trend that everyone is trying to achieve. When genetically impossible people without melanin resort to man made products to duplicate what comes naturally and as a defense mechanism to black people. (And what's worse is our black men praising the appropriation of our features, but that's another topic for another time)

There is a fine line between admiration | appreciation | and appropriation and Teen Vogue captured the very essence of what is upsetting about white people making black culture a trend,

"Our hair can still keep us out of jobs, our names can limit our opportunities, and our skin color makes us vulnerable to profiling. One reason we continue to face such obstacles is because the mainstream media never actuallysees us. Sure, our celebrities set trends that become popular once other people do it, but the glut of black female Youtubers who’ve been giving braiding tutorials — for years — is pretty much invisible to those who think “boxer braids” are new, or “KKW Signature braids” are actually a thing." 

but yet white people take on these attributes of our culture for fun, steal it not understanding the history or importance, destroy and make it look bad and then toss it. They don't understand that  fashion trends fade and come back, however a person’s lifestyle or phenotype is not a trend.  Often it is how we unfortunately are categorized by others, and they don't comprehend that being black is an experience that people who aren't black don't want to be a part of when the aesthetics of it isn't involved.