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CULTURAL APPROPRIATION: The Latest Fashion Whites Shouldn’t Wear

Whites should not wear hoop earrings, according to a Tuesday-published column at VICE.

Ruby Pivet, the column’s author, describes whites wearing hoop earrings as engaging in “cultural appropriation,” framing the fashion accessories as somehow belonging to “minorities.”

“Hoops are worn by minorities as symbols of resistance, and strength,” writes Pivet, lamenting “white consumption” of “latinx” culture.

“I was young when I learned just how comfortable white people are taking from other cultures,” writes Pivet, sharing an anecdote she claims happened to her in childhood involving a little white girl; she further frames the anecdote as illustrative of a broader pathology among whites:

Back in primary school, my family went on holidays to the Grampians. An outgoing child, I made friends with another girl my age. like me, she was named after a gemstone. Unlike me, she was skinny with pale white skin. The day her family was set to leave, we played in the pool all afternoon. The earrings given to me by my grandmother were wrapped up securely in my towel. When I got out of the water my friend was gone, and so were the earrings.

In my mind’s eye, I picture her clutching them with little care for the significance they held for me. Those earrings were a symbol of my place in the world as a Latinx-Australian, something I still struggle with understanding and navigating. She saw them as something shiny she liked and could simply take.

Describing herself as a “person of color,” Pivet writes emotionally about hoop earrings:

Having lost my language, the way I dress and accessorize is a way for me to connect with that mixed heritage identity. As for many women of color before me, hoops play a large role in my self preservation and expression.

Pivet casts non-whites as broadly disadvantaged by widespread racial prejudices directed toward them:

White girls did not start the “trend” of over-sized hoop earrings and yet they’re the ones being praised for donning the “edgy” style. Meanwhile, women of color who wear them face racial stereotypes or the assumption that they’re participating in a disposable trend.

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.

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