It’s a hard thing to keep up to date in these days where political correctness reigns supreme. After all, one never can tell when one might be guilty of a microaggression or a cultural appropriation.

Such was the case recently at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. As the Claremont Independent reports, white female students were recently made aware of another cultural appropriation they were guilty of, namely, wearing hoop earrings:

“A wall on the side of a dormitory at Pitzer College devoted to unmoderated free speech through art (colloquially named ‘the free wall’), was recently painted by a group of Latino students who wrote the message, ‘White Girl, take off your [hoop earrings]!!!’”

The Claremont Independent goes on to report that responsibility for the message was claimed by Junior Alegria Martinez, who explained:

“‘[T]he art was created by myself and a few other WOC [women of color] after being tired and annoyed with the reoccuring [sic] theme of white women appropriating styles … that belong to the black and brown folks who created the culture. The culture actually comes from a historical background of oppression and exclusion. The black and brown bodies who typically wear hooped earrings, (and other accessories like winged eyeliner, gold name plate necklaces, etc) are typically viewed as ghetto, and are not taken seriously by others in their daily lives. Because of this, I see our winged eyeliner, lined lips, and big hoop earrings serving as symbols [and] as an everyday act of resistance, especially here at the Claremont Colleges. Meanwhile we wonder, why should white girls be able to take part in this culture (wearing hoop earrings just being one case of it) and be seen as cute/aesthetic/ethnic. White people have actually exploited the culture and made it into fashion.’”

Martinez’s response brings up an interesting dilemma in the popular quest for diversity. On the one hand, Americans of all ages are taught to embrace cultures of all types and varieties under the guise of multiculturalism. Yet, when Americans do embrace the “melting pot” culture, they are simultaneously warned not to beg, borrow, or steal any of the ideas, fashions, or trends ostensibly originating from a culture other than their own.

It was once thought that imitation was the sweetest form of flattery. Now, however, it seems to be considered a form of theft or abuse.

Have we arrived at this point simply because we now see victimhood as a virtue, and take every opportunity to assert our claim to it?  

Image Credit: Maegan Tintari