Campus-Wide E-mail Tells White Girls to Stop Wearing Hoop Earrings Because It’s Cultural Appropriation

Katherine Timpf | National Review --

A resident assistant at Pitzer College sent out an e-mail to the entire school about how upset she was to see white girls wearing hoop earrings because it’s culturally offensive to “the black and brown bodies who typically wear hooped earrings.”

According to an article in the Claremont Independent, the whole thing started when a group of Latino students spray painted “White Girl, take off your hoops!” on a dormitory wall that’s devoted to free speech. Then, after one white girl said she was confused by the message, one of the spray-painters– a resident assistant named Alegria Martinez — felt the need to fire off a school-wide email expressing her disgust.

“The 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,” Martinez wrote.

Martinez explained that “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,” and that she sees “winged eyeliner, lined lips, and big hoop earrings . . . as symbols [and] as an everyday act of resistance, especially here at the Claremont Colleges.”

(Yep — “winged eyeliner” and “lined lips” are apparently forbidden for white girls, too; I guess I’d better run to the bathroom and wash off my culturally appropriative face!)

“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,” Martinez continued. “White people have actually exploited the culture and made it into fashion.”

Then, because just one of these e-mails was apparently not enough, another student replied to the thread with an e-mail demanding that all white girls remove their hoops immediately: