Brazilian Teenage Cancer Victim Wears Turban – Accused of Cultural Appropriation

By Faye Higbee

According to a Facebook post, some black folks accosted a Brazilian teenager on the street and accused her of “cultural appropriation” because she was wearing a turban. But she didn’t just take it, she fired back. She has been in the midst of drama ever since.

Thauane Cordeiro is just 19 years old, and is battling cancer, so she is bald. She wears turbans when she leaves the house to mask the effects of chemotherapy.

“I’ll explain what happened yesterday so you know why I’m so angry with this whole cultural appropriation thing. I was at the station with this pretty turban, feeling like a diva. And I started to notice that there were a lot of black women around, beautiful by the way, who were looking at me funny, like ‘look over there the little white girl appropriating our culture.’

Anyways, one of them came over to tell me I shouldn’t use a turban because I’m white.

I took off the turban and said ‘are you seeing this bald head, this is called cancer, so I use what I want! Bye.’ I grabbed my turban and walked off leaving her in shock #EverybodyWearsTurbans” Thauane Cordeiro

In a later post she expressed,

“…All the negative comments from my post, I tried to comment it as coherently as possible, without offending anyone or certain thing. But it turned out to be a war between militants out of control. I honestly was upset about certain things I read, not because it was something related to me, but rather the way that the human being comes to face things, the way it was commented, words, hate, prejudice distilled there. I know there are many wonderful people in the world, but just as there are dumb people. Everything that is extreme, everything that is too much, is bad, even water if I take too much is bad! We must learn to love ourselves more, we must learn to feel the pain of others! To empathize with people. Because if the world goes on like this, honestly, I do not know where we’re going to stop!”

We wonder the same thing, Thauane.

“Cultural Appropriation”

Cultural appropriation it simply normal and has been for centuries. With the mixing of people and cultures, it’s just the way things are. Oh, and p.s. turbans aren’t exclusively “black culture” anyway and never have been.

A similar incident happened last year when a black person accosted a young white person at a college campus because he was wearing dreadlocks. You can read that story here:

Dreadlocks Battle at SFSU- Black Employee Tells White Student He Can’t Wear Them