I was very heartened to see people stand up for the 17-year old high school girl who was attacked by a Twitter mob for wearing a traditional Chinese qipao or cheongsam to a dance. Keziah Daum from Utah had posted pictures of herself with her friends posing in the dress on the night of her prom. A Twitter user by the name of Jeremy Lam accused her of cultural appropriation in a tweet that was shared 179k times: Read More…
I believe that much of the moral posturing and recreational offence-taking that we see over things such as “cultural appropriation”, “privilege”, etc. is really just about giving bullies something seemingly “virtuous” to hide behind.
In the video, a shrill, humourless woman recorded herself berating a Lyft driver – she had only just met – for a Hula bobble doll he had on the dashboard of his car. She accused him of “appropriating” Hawaiian culture and of being “an ignorant, privileged male”. Acting like a Soviet-era commissar she antagonised him up until the point of becoming very aggressive and agitated, calling him a “fucking selfish dumbass idiot”, at which point he summarily ejected her from his car.
Like a true cry-bully she acted as if she was the victim, rather than the aggressor. This is not serious political criticism. It is the juvenile politics of the playground.