Utah girl's choice of prom dress sparks cultural firestorm on Twitter. Photo Credit: ABC News
A teenaged girl in Utah has caused a Twitter-verse uproar over her selection of a dress she thought was simply beautiful to wear to her prom. No punch line here; just a pretty sad commentary on what has happened to our nation when we get all fired up about a dress.
The problem arose when Keziah Daum posted pictures of herself wearing the dress, which looked like a traditional Chinese dress, God forbid. Almost immediately, Twitter responded with criticism, with comments similar to my culture is not your prom dress, paraphrased from a tweet reportedly by a Chinese American student who took offense.
I’m not sure which I would describe as the bigger idiot, the original poster or the some 41,000 who re-tweeted the insane post. Come on, is this really where we want to fight a culture appropriation battle? A prom dress that looks like a traditional Chinese dress?
In the first place, how did the 41,000 re-tweeters and even the original poster know that Keziah did not have any Chinese heritage herself? Did it even matter? Just because she was white, everyone assumed the taint of racism and never bothered to try to understand her reasoning or logic behind the choosing of the dress. Sound familiar to anyone?
Today, we seek out new and different ways to pretend to be offended, with apologies for those who truly are offended by some thought, word, or deed. I’m quite sure I just offended someone with that last statement.
The attack on White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders by a relatively unknown comedienne this past week actually offended a good many people. Even some Democrats appeared to be offended afterwards, even though they probably laughed at the jokes during the performance. Wouldn’t want to offend other Democrats by appearing to sympathize with the opposition, would we.
Look how many were offended by rap musician Kanye, who simply stated he admired someone else for thinking for themselves. But Kanye was black, and if he didn’t act and talk in the standard black narrative, he must be eviscerated for marching out of step. Wouldn’t want a movement of free-thinkers getting a foothold in America.
Funny thing about the dress. According to an ABC News report, “One online Chinese newspaper, The South China Morning Post, quoted people in Mainland China who seemed supportive, with some even calling it “cultural appreciation” instead of appropriation.” This suggest at least some actual Chinese saw the wearing of the traditional Chinese dress as a form of flattery, which most anyone with a tidbit of common sense should have realized.
And I just couldn’t help but wonder how much of the American culture the young Chinese American student may have “misappropriated” while living in the USA. I wonder if he listens to rap music (appropriated from blacks), eats tacos (appropriated from Mexicans), or drinks beer (from German heritage)?
Keziah responded to the firestorm by saying she never intended to cause any misunderstanding. She simply saw the dress in a vintage store and immediately knew that was the dress she wanted to wear to the prom.
But, bless her heart, she says she does not regret making the choice of wearing the dress, in fact, she said she would wear it again. She added that maybe the misunderstanding about cultural appropriation was an “important discussion we need to have.”
That’s the kind of youthful reasoning to which we should all be listening.