White female students at Pitzer College in Los Angeles have been told by women of color (African-American and Latinas) to stop wearing hoop earrings because to do so is cultural appropriation. According to a Latina group on campus, white girls wearing hoop earrings exploits black and brown cultures. Really.
When questioned about [the art work above] by one confused student, Alegria Martinez, Jacquelyn Aguilera, and Stefania Gallo-Gonzalez addressed the school in emails explaining the problem.
“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, Martinez wrote. White people have actually exploited the culture and made it into fashion,” she added.
Martinez, who is a member of Latinx Student Union, sent an email to the entire student body of Pitzer College explaining why she feels only women of color should be allowed to wear hoop earrings.
“The art (photo above) was created by myself and a few other women of color after being tired and annoyed with the reoccurring theme of white women appropriating styles...that belong to the black and brown folks who created the culture.
“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 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,” she explained.
I guess it makes sense to her.
One cannot help but wonder if Martinez and her fellow activists wear jeans to school. Perhaps that's a practice that she should cease since their creator, Jacob Davis, and his partner, Levi Strauss, were white guys. Or is cultural appropriation another of those things only white people can do?