I suppose the only truly shocking thing about this story is that it didn’t take place in Berkeley. At the University of New Hampshire a student activist group has identified what’s really wrong with this country and is making plans to set things to rights. In case you hadn’t already guessed, the poison seeping into the public bloodstream this time is white people wearing ponchos or sombreros, particularly during Cinco de Mayo. Campus Reform has the shocking details.
As Campus Reform initially reported, one University of New Hampshire student was publicly berated and harassed by a classmate for wearing a serape on his way to celebrate the holiday, with the student who recorded the encounter, Danique Montique, proudly boasting about the exchange on her Facebook.
“Cultural appropriation at UNH continues the normalization of racist behavior that is already an issue.”
“[I] was utterly disgusted with students who chose to demean and appropriate Mexican culture,” she wrote on her Facebook, posting a video of herself lecturing a peer on how he was “perpetuating the stereotype” and telling him that “It’s about you as a man—a white man, who has the most privilege in this whole f***ing country—knowing what’s happening in this country right now.”
Having identified the problem, the solution was blindingly obvious. The group – known as “All Eyes on UNH” – has issued a set of demands. (Isn’t that something kidnappers do?) They want both the university administration and the local town government to convince retailers to “stop carrying items like ponchos and sombreros for May 5 celebrations” going forward. What’s unclear is if they are demanding the stores stop selling them entirely or just during the period leading up to May 5th. And what if someone who actually is Mexican (or from any other country where such gear is typically found) wants to buy one? Do they need to travel to another town, or perhaps all the way to Mexico? The students don’t say.
What do they plan to do on St. Patrick’s Day when people who are definitely not Irish pin shamrocks on their shirts? Oh, wait… that’s right. Irish people are white so they can’t be “culturally appropriated” I guess. How about dreadlocks on white people? I’m not a fan of government bans in general, but I might actually get behind you on that one. But then you’d have to after Lady Gaga as well as the people at the Huffington Post who thought it was simply delightful.
Enough with the “cultural appropriation” outrage, please. You seem to be forgetting that America is a melting pot, and the people complaining the loudest are typically the ones who are most vocally celebrating the country’s diversity. We’ve been appropriating other cultures for hundreds of years and adapting them to suit our own style. If you don’t have a particular item of clothing trademarked you have no standing to tell others they can’t sell it or wear it.
But if that’s what you want to spend all of your college time on, be my guest I suppose. And for you parents sending your special snowflakes off to the University of New Hampshire, here’s a gentle reminder. The total cost of attendance there is $32,200 per year for state residents and out-of-state students pay $46,000. I sure hope you’re getting your money’s worth.