Over the past week, Social Justice Twitter has been ablaze over a US teen’s choice to wear a traditional Chinese ‘cheongsam’ to her senior prom. A reply by an Asian man that “My culture is NOT your goddamn prom dress” quickly sparked up a race relations debate that went viral, with some calling her a “closet racist”.
— Keziah (@daumkeziah) April 22, 2018
My culture is NOT your goddamn prom dress. https://t.co/vhkNOPevKD
— Jeremy Lam (@jere_bare) April 27, 2018
Some leftists tend to argue that the use of traditional cultural totems by white people is tantamount to a “colonial ideology”, referred to as the offence of “cultural appropriation”. The net of cultural appropriation is generally cast so wide as to include selling or even eating ethnically diverse foods if you are a white person. Like ordering take-out from Mr Wong’s after work on a friday? This could be racism, according to the left. In Canada, this opinion is pushed by the most widely circulated newspaper.
I'm proud of my culture, including the extreme barriers marginalized people within that culture have had to overcome those obstacles. For it to simply be subject to American consumerism and cater to a white audience, is parallel to colonial ideology.
— Jeremy Lam (@jere_bare) April 28, 2018
The hilarious irony is that in China, the girl and her dress are being praised for celebrating Chinese culture in their media and social media alike. The story has made it big on Weibo, a Twitter-like social media platform that is huge in China. One user wrote; “Culture has no border. There is no problem, as long as there is no malice or deliberate maligning. Chinese cultural treasures are worth spreading all over the world.”
The high schooler, whose name is Keziah Daum, appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss the outrage her dress inspired and respond to critics. Daum said she only meant to celebrate Chinese culture by wearing the dress, not mock it.
To everyone causing so much negativity: I mean no disrespect to the Chinese culture. I’m simply showing my appreciation to their culture. I’m not deleting my post because I’ve done nothing but show my love for the culture. It’s a fucking dress. And it’s beautiful.
— Keziah (@daumkeziah) April 28, 2018
I'm Chinese and I love that you appreciate the beauty of our culture to want to wear it. Please find Jeremy Lam a girlfriend.
— Chris Tan (@eeisoktan) May 2, 2018
‘Cultural appropriation’ has been a weapon of the Postmodernist arsenal for some time. US Journalist and author Lionel Shriver took aim at its absurdity at the Brisbane Writer’s Festival in 2016 through the example of campus controversy over a mexican-themed tequila party where students wore sombreros. The US College’s administration threatened an investigation into the “act of ethnic stereotyping”. The party’s hosts were ejected from their dorm, later impeached from their roles in student government, and subject to scathing attacks by the college’s student newspapers.
“The felony of cultural sticky fingers even extends to exercise”, Shriver said. “At the University of Ottawa in Canada, a yoga teacher was shamed into suspending her class, ‘because yoga originally comes from India’”. As Shriver correctly points out, art and therefore culture itself can’t exist without appropriation of culture. “The ultimate endpoint of keeping our mitts off experience that doesn’t belong to us is that there is no fiction.”
Australian political and media commentator Yassmin Abdel-Magied, like the avatar of political correctness she is, became extremely triggered by this. She attended the speech as a guest, and was so offended she wrote a whole opinion column in The Guardian about how she walked out during the speech and tried to get as much attention as possible to express she “cannot legitimise this”. Yassmin characterised Shriver’s keynote address as a “poisoned package”, “wrapped up in arrogance delivered with condescension”. She characterised Shriver’s criticism of obtuse political correctness as “vitriol”, and wished the festival could have “been graced” by a writer who would “challenge us to be more. To be uncomfortable.” I guess she doesn’t see the irony.
As usual, the cult of political correctness creates an intensely stupid disconnect between its champagne socialist proponents and the less privileged classes they pretend to be fighting for. This is because it is a top-down authoritarian ideology. Cultural Marxism is no conspiracy theory; you can see it on full display more and more in public life.
Pop and Locke is a libertarian-conservative popular culture and politics blog bringing you news and opinions that cut through the mainstream mould. It was inspired by an appreciation for enlightenment philosophy and a passion for our increasingly wacky popular culture.