If you've been paying attention to social media over the last year, you may have seen the word "Columbusing" being thrown around. If you were anything like me, you may have been like "What in the world does that mean?" So of course, I looked it up on the web only to find the definition in one of the most reputable sources out there: The Urban Dictionary. *insert sarcasm here* The Urban Dictionary defines Columbusing as: "When white people claim they have invented/discovered something that has been around for years, decades and even centuries."
I'm all about humor and really trying not to make everything a black or white thing so naturally I tried to see what recently has been "Columbused." So here's a few examples.
Miley Cyrus and the "Twerk"
Apparently after Miley went Twerk crazy all over the universe, gyrating from one stage to the next...folks attempted to credit her with the newest dance craze--only to realize that black people have been doing the "twerk" or some similar version to this dance for years! I'm not sure if this is something to necessarily brag about or get a trophy for, but I can even remember "doing the butt" as a kid and yeah, pretty sure Miley wasn't around during that point in time. The Twerk = COLUMBUS'ED!
Bo Derek, The Kardashians and Cornrows
Fast forward to current times and all of the Kardashians from Khloe to Kim to Kendall have all rocked the hairstyle. It wasn't until Khloe rocked cornrows earlier this year and her younger sister, Kendall followed suit--that sources like Marie Claire coined Kendall with "taking bold braids to an epic new level" or when Hollywood Life referred to Khloe's cornrows as a "dramatic new look." Again...COLUMBUS'ED! African-American women and women of African descent have been rocking this "epic hairstyle" for years...heck decades! There's nothing new or "bold" about this hairstyle and they were popular well before Bo Derek--it's just that she was "bold" enough during that time to wear them as a Caucasian woman.
The Art of "Co-Washing"
So after all of my valuable research on Columbus'ing over the past year, I regretfully ended up putting it to use. I was browsing my Instagram feed the other day when I came across a post by a very well known celebrity esthetician (who shall remain nameless). She was going on and on and on about how she started co-washing her hair. PAUSE. For those of you unfamiliar with co-washing, it's a term that simply means that instead of washing your hair with shampoo and then conditioner, you only use conditioner to wash your hair. You eliminate the shampoo part completely. Hence, 'co' (conditioner) washing. African-American women especially have to do this, as the chemicals and soaps in shampoos strips our hair of its natural oils. The effects of using shampoo are much harsher to African-American hair which is why co-washing has been used amongst African-American women or women of African descent well before the beginning of time.
Anywho--so I read on to see her thoughts and I was really amused as she went on to make it like "co-washing" was just invented. That it was the BEST thing ever and here's the kicker...she gives props to Lisa Rinna and Chaz Dean of Wen Haircare products for putting her on to this "new" phenomenon.
So I took a deep breath, and replied politely that African-American women with natural hair have been doing this since the beginning of time and that companies such as Cantu Beauty, Carol's Daughter, etc. already have a wealth of products dedicated to "Co-Washing". Pretty much just politely informing her that this is not new, and Lisa Rinna and Chaz are not the ones who should receive the credit. Co-Washing = COLUMBUS'ED!
After I posted, she replied back that she was aware of that, which I beg to differ, because if you were aware, you would have properly given credit. She also proceeded to tag one of her African-American friends who appeared to have a haircare line to see if she had a co-wash product in her line.
Let's face it. It could have been an honest mistake, but I just had to let her know that this was not a new phenomenon and please give credit where credit is due. At first I thought the whole Columbus'ing craze was funny, but yesterday was one of the first times where it really made me scratch my head and think. I guess I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for more "new discoveries" that aren't properly credited.
Have you noticed something that was Columbus'ed? Please share in the discussion!