Opinion | Op-eds

Cultural sensitivity and PC-ness substitute for examining real injustice

  • KAΘ | Kappa Alpha Theta has come under fire for members' dressing up as various nationalities.

Yesterday, I read Christian Zhang’s piece (“Facebook photos show Kappa Alpha Theta members dressed like Mexicans, other nationalities,” Feb. 23) in Spectator about a group of sorority girls who dressed up as Mexicans and other nationalities for an Olympics-themed mixer.

Students who saw the article immediately pounced on the way the “Mexican team” had represented its chosen national group. Donning large sombreros and fake mustaches (with a couple of maracas), they wore the stereotypical traditional garb of Mexicans of yore.

It is a costume 100 years out of date, and one that many take offense to. The sun-yellowed straw and plain white shirt evoke the Mexican countryside as much as they evoke abject poverty. It is the garb of the Mexican peasant, the proletariat, and the unwashed, voiceless masses whose assumed backwardness and simplicity set them up for easy ridicule. The image is understood as a hindrance to many Latinos, Mexican or not, who strive to better themselves and struggle to be taken seriously.

It is also a piece of Mexican history, one that is not wholly—or for many, even partially—disowned by the Mexican populace. Vicente Fernández, nicknamed “el Rey de la Canción Ranchera,” still wears a highly decorated version of this garb to his shows: a black hat and suit with red or gold adornments. Mexico’s sole participant at the Sochi Olympics, Hubertus von Hohenlohe, wore a skiing suit that resembled a traditional mariachi outfit, too. He may have crashed out of the event, but his choice of outfit—however loud—was selected with affection, love, and pride.

This is why when I, a born and raised Mexican from Monterrey, Nuevo León, saw those sorority girls wearing sombreros and mustaches—however casually—I failed to be offended. Instead, I got angry about something else and directed my energy toward a different group.

I’m unsure what to call them as a group: the “culturally sensitive,” the American social left, or as Ryan Elivo termed them in his op-ed on Monday (“Reflexive PC-ness is problem for Theta, Chad Washington,” Feb. 24), the Political Correctness Police. Take your pick.

[Related: Is political correctness a mask for our true, offensive selves?]

Columbians are part of a generation that is thankfully not nearly as racist, essentialist, and nationalist as the ones that came before it. We tend to err on the side of what in America is understood as the leftist position on social matters. We try to make sure that we don’t tear apart the tenuous fabric of what is a diverse society. However, this sensitivity can often become a form of condescending behavior.

Consider, for a moment, what may run through my mind when I see people all up in arms about a costume that I am capable of looking at with some degree of affection. Am I meant to be embarrassed by a sombrero? From my perspective, disowning the costume is disowning my history—a form of self-hate. To have a trove of (mostly) Americans insist the costume is fundamentally offensive seems to me a hilariously ignorant intrusion.

However, I do not speak for all Mexicans. So I’ll skip through the rest of my opinions on the costume itself and get to what’s not merely bothersome but truly dangerous about Columbians’ affectations when it comes to cultural sensitivity: They often become a farce, a way to tell ourselves we’re good people when there are forms of social injustice that are far more insidious than reductive costumes that persist.

An obvious, belabored example: the Mexican drug war. Most of the people I know here have habitually smoked or tried marijuana. Sure, not all of it comes from Mexico, but I’d be particularly impressed if you knew how your bud got here in the same way you track UPS shipments. What about the coke some take during finals week or I-banking internships to stay awake? They indirectly feed a machine that makes it that much more probable that someone in my family, still living in Mexico, will be skinned alive tomorrow, cut up into itty-bitty pieces, and thrown on the side of the road. Maybe by accident. Sometimes they kidnap the wrong people who just kind of look like the person who didn’t pay up whatever he needed to pay up. It is common to the point where I am completely comfortable being crass about it.

But most Columbians are not concerned with this. Instead, our set of priorities dictate that we zero in on a small group of sorority girls. 

I see people far more concerned with how they see themselves than what good or ill they inflict on the world. A lack of cultural sensitivity is understood, on the face of it, as a human problem, but in practice, it seems as though it’s internalized as merely an aesthetic asymmetry waiting to be corrected, satisfied. When I see people up in arms about costumes, I know I’m not a person to any of them.

But hey, we’re still good people. Right?

The author is a Columbia College senior majoring in mathematics and economics.

To respond to this op-ed, or to submit an op-ed, contact opinion@columbiaspectator.com.

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Anonymous posted on

As a Mexicano, THIS.

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Anonymous posted on

thank you for writing this

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Anonymous posted on

Thoroughly impressed with how eloquent this is, well done. For once a Spec op-ed about something controversial that I feel very strongly about that doesn't want me to scratch my eyes out.

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Anonymous posted on

So, how does this potentially affect plans for the huge "Cinco de Mayo" blow out this spring on College Walk?
Will the Pancho Villa look-alike contest be cancelled?

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Anonymous posted on

Problems like drug trafficking are undeniably important. However even if the theta mixer hasn't been criticized for not being PC, the issue of Mexico's drug trade wouldn't be discussed. Instead, your people would still be killed and a cultural stereotype would be advertised and normalized. Downplaying stereotypes because of larger issues doesn't actually draw attention to such problems. It just propagates ignorance.

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Rihana Diabo posted on

Excellent article Ricardo! Very well said!

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Anonymous posted on

I think you make a good point in illustrating the way rallying around spectacles like the controversy over these costumes quickly becomes a means of extracting social and cultural capital from the performance and affectation of indignation. I think it's helpful to try to distinguish 'political correctness' as a sort of vulgarized, liberalized notion of social justice in which the shedding of culpability through denouncement of things that are explicitly racist becomes more important than actively changing the material and ideological conditions which reproduce oppression-- which I believe is the object of any radical project actually concerned with social justice.

I would argue, however, that the use of characterized representations of 'Mexican-ness' are offensive not because they represent a past that we Mexicans ought to be embarrassed about, but because of the histories and meanings associated with the use of that particular set of images and representations by white America. I think these representations reinforce narratives of 'backwardness' that help-- even if it it is in a relatively minuscule way-- sustain a discourse which dehumanizes Mexican immigrants and make possible the exploitation of their labor.

As to your point about the war on drugs, I think it could use a little more nuance. I mean I think it is very apparent that any kind of ethical consumption in a capitalist society is basically impossible-- everyone is forced to occupy a position of contradiction with regard to the ways their consumption habits reinforce and reproduce violence and their own political stances. While you're right that we can probably hold college students a little bit more accountable given all the privileges they enjoy in terms of access to drugs and their increased likelyhood of getting away with their consumption, I think it's a mistake to believe that the demand for and consumption of drugs sustains the war and not the legal apparatus which makes their consumption illegal. It would seem ridiculous to accuse the average incarcerated non-violent drug offender of sustaining the violence in Mexico when they're literally surrounded by one of the many institutions that profits off of the the same set of laws and prohibitions as drug cartels in Mexico.

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Ricardo Alatorre posted on

I absolutely agree with your point about how my paragraph on the drug war could use a lot more nuance. Unfortunately, we had to cut the op-ed to 800 words or so. I talked about how Colubmians indirectly participate in the perpetuation of the Drug War through consumption not to shift guilt or blame onto my fellow students, or to condemn drug consumption itself, but to point out how we are connected to an extremely pressing, troubling matter that we rarely talk about, and how abhorrent it is, from my perspective, that we should choose to direct our energies towards condemning a costume we might find offensive instead.

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Anonymous posted on

I just don't see why we can't have discussions about both? Especially since the title implies that what happened is not a "real injustice". Just because this instance of cultural appropriation on the part of a small group of sorority girls is trivial relative to the Mexican Drug War, doesn't mean it's not a symptom of a larger problem, i.e. the enduring existence of the social system where people from a position of privilege (often white and/or upper class) benefit from the hardships of a marginalized population. That includes a bunch of rich columbia students buying cocaine, oblivious to the atrocities committed in the trafficking of the drug.

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Anonymous posted on

Just to add a bit more to it re: drug war, you're right that it is the legal apparatus and capitalist structures that uphold the drug war in Mexico. Large enterprises in the US make money off of the guns and arms that are sold, CCA and GEO group (private prison industries) make money off of criminalizing migrants and people of color, who include people who have left Mexico coming undocumented because they can't get political asylum and then are undocumented, and countless other people and groups I'm sure make money off of the violence in Mexico, including the elites and Mexican government themselves. They sustain the drug war and continue to fight against drug legalization. HOWEVER, as drugs are still illegal and as Columbia students we have access to resources that let us know of the violence in Mexico, I do hold people accountable for knowing or stubbornly remaining ignorant and still smoking, when they are funding what occurs there. My family lives in Ciudad Juarez and I grew up in El Paso, and saw a lot of what Ricardo mentioned, and what he mentioned only touches the surface of the level of violence. Until capitalist enterprises don't make money from the drug war, we need to think of what we consume. Many Columbians are vegetarian/vegan, or think of ethical consumption a lot--why not extend this to drugs?

Of course, this is a separate conversation and I do think that microaggressions and cultural appropriation need to be addressed, but I am thankful for Ricardo's article and hope at least some people think about their drug consumption at some point.

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alum posted on

Excellent!

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Anonymous posted on

For me, the issue isn't that the costumes play on stereotypes or that disowning the stereotypes are disowning a history. I think the issue here is about cultural appropriation. No matter how normal or representative a dress is of a culture, my problem is that as a minority, if I were to wear my national garb and walk down the streets of New York, people would judge me, look at me strangely, assume a set of prejudices. The moment a privileged group wears those same clothes, they are at once turning what is for me a sense of identity into a caricature or joke. When they walk down the street, they aren't judged according to a stereotype; they're clearly understood to be in costume, (or with certain cultures, understood to be trendy/ethnic/etc).

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Anonymous posted on

"privileged"???
What? All these women in the picture are debutantes and F500 heiresses?
I think you are a victim of your own prejudices. The primary difference between you and them is they are in a particular sorority. But you are all in Columbia, which is the biggest differentiator of all. How do you know, how can you even think there is privilege at play here. All you can truly say is that they decided to join a club.
There is far more space between you and your "minority" counterparts than between you and Theta.

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Anonymous posted on

"privileged"???
What? All these women in the picture are debutantes and F500 heiresses?
I think you are a victim of your own prejudices. The primary difference between you and them is they are in a particular sorority. But you are all in Columbia, which is the biggest differentiator of all. How do you know, how can you even think there is privilege at play here. All you can truly say is that they decided to join a club.
There is far more space between you and your "minority" counterparts than between you and Theta.

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Alex posted on

Hell yeah Ricardo!

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Alum posted on

Great essay. I was having trouble understanding why I was so disturbed by Chris Zhang's piece and why I am disgusted by the comments by the students and the Dean who came down so hard on the sorority girls. This was a terrible display of unnecessary cruelty directed at these girls. The cruelty was being displayed by people who think they are so much better, so much more "culturally sensitive" than these girls. Shame on these students and Dean.

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Anonymous posted on

People keep saying this, but where is the cruelty towards these girls? Where are they named (besides the chapter president, who was a totally relevant name to mention)? Where is anyone using derogatory language towards them? I actually think the discussion has been mercifully free of 'rich white slutty dumb sorority girl' comments, which COULD have been the case. Labeling every individual the opposite camp the 'PCP', however, making assumptions about their lifestyles and telling them they're a bunch of immature hypocrites, however, is actually 'coming down hard' and I might even say cruel.

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Anonymous posted on

I agree, in the online discussions there has been more criticism towards the people who find these girls' actions inappropriate.

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Anonymous posted on

Nailed it.

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Interesting... posted on

I appreciate this, and thank you for calling Columbia's attention to many of the problematic activities that don't come under fire as often. Still, should this exonerate what the girls of Theta did? To me it still seems there's a wink and a nod about their behavior that isn't overtly racist, but finds humor in this attire for the wrong reasons. No, they definitely did not put on the outfits thinking, "How am I going to subjugate a minority today?" but there is still something self-serving and inconsiderate about this.

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amen brotha posted on

snaps all around

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Brenda Salinas posted on

This article is fantastic, and I agree with everything Ricardo Alatorre said, especially his very astute points about the drug war.

But the reason that I am offended by sorority girls playing "Mexican" for a night is that it is just a sign that these students do not see the Latino students around them as real people, in fact, they probably don't see them at all.

They might make exceptions for lighter-skinned, upper-middle class Mexicans like me, but they don't talk to the brown kids in their core classes, and they don't listen to them when they talk in class. If they did, they wouldn't think it was okay to pretend to be a Mexican for a night. They would know better.

This divide was evident to me in my seminar classes. This divide was evident to me every time I had to respond to "Wow you don't LOOK Mexican!" (aka "You are challenging the stereotypes that I have about Latinos and that is uncomfortable for me,") It was evident the many times when I overheard students say someone was only at CU because of affirmative action or because of fincial aid.

There are lots of students at Columbia who fail to recognize their white, American, rich privilege, and this is just a tangible example of it. I am so blessed to have met amazing Latinos at CU like Yo Soy Carlos Lluvia Alcázar and Rocio Lopez taught me that even if I am not personally offended, every time that a CU student fails to recognize the humanity in the students around them, that is reason for outrage. It's a flaw in how we are being educated. So let's talk about it.

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Anonymous posted on

Your point makes no sense, as I am sure that at least a couple of girls in Theta are Mexican.

AND even worse, when you say "it is just a sign that these students do not see the Latino students around them as real people, in fact, they probably don't see them at all.", you generalise the "white, American, rich privilege" population and reduce it to a group of racist and snobbish wasps. This is reverse racism and you should be ashamed of yourself.

By the way, I don't really believe this is reverse racism, nor that you should be ashamed, nor that anyone should give a flying duck about stereotypes as long as they are not offensive. I think that stereotypes reinforce national unity, and in the case of the mustache and sombrero, nothing is offensive. It's not like they dressed in cartel attire and had bags of coke instead of earrings. The point of my first paragraph was just to point out the absurdity and nonsense of your claim.

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Anonymous posted on

pointing out racism is not racist.

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check your privacy settings posted on

I just looked up your profile on Facebook. You'll be glad to know you look extremely Mexican. Good day to you.

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Brenda Salinas posted on

This article is fantastic, and I agree with everything Ricardo Alatorre said, especially his very astute points about the drug war.

But the reason that I am offended by sorority girls playing "Mexican" for a night is that it is just a sign that these students do not see the Latino students around them as real people, in fact, they probably don't see them at all.

They might make exceptions for lighter-skinned, upper-middle class Mexicans like me, but they don't talk to the brown kids in their core classes, and they don't listen to them when they talk in class. If they did, they wouldn't think it was okay to pretend to be a Mexican for a night. They would know better.

This divide was evident to me in my seminar classes. This divide was evident to me every time I had to respond to "Wow you don't LOOK Mexican!" (aka "You are challenging the stereotypes that I have about Latinos and that is uncomfortable for me,") It was evident the many times when I overheard students say someone was only at CU because of affirmative action or because of fincial aid.

There are lots of students at Columbia who fail to recognize their white, American, rich privilege, and this is just a tangible example of it. I am so blessed to have met amazing Latinos at CU like Yo Soy Carlos Lluvia Alcázar and Rocio Lopez taught me that even if I am not personally offended, every time that a CU student fails to recognize the humanity in the students around them, that is reason for outrage. It's a flaw in how we are being educated. So let's talk about it.

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Hello! posted on

I agree with you that this community needs some open dialogue, but I'm not sure the barrier is coming from the Greek community. When you group us all together into one big "They" you are in fact othering us as you say we are doing to the multicultural community. I challenge you to attempt to actually *see* us, as you say we fail to see you. *See* the fact that many many MANY of our members are part of both the multicultural community, and the greek community. Many members (including myself) come from disadvantaged backgrounds and are on heavy financial aid. Quite a few receive support for their dues from their respective organizations. Greek life gives members a safe space to not only talk about issues of race and identity (*gasp* we actually have meaningful conversations about things other than booze and sex) but also allows members to decide for themselves what it is about their identity that they want to focus on. When you fail to see our individual humanity, you do the entire community a disservice.

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david abud sturbaum posted on

wait actually you didn't just nail this.

first: writing off an entire set of actually very well-articulated and thought-out arguments as the 'PC' police makes you a hell of a lot more ignorant than any of the people making those arguments. you need to look at what these people are saying, and stop being offended by the fact that they disrupt our comfortable columbia narrative. look beyond the 'PC'ness to what their arguments really are. this dismissiveness is not just ignorant--it's uninteresting.

second: dismissing this kind of behavior as irrelevant ignores the fact that this kind of behavior is symptomatic of a much larger problem of systematized racism in america. when we overlook these small things, the fact that white women choose to caricature the mexican experience, we also overlook the really powerful violence that white women have done upon brown and black women; the fact that black women have been used as sites of experiments so that white men could better understand the way that women function (gynecology); the fact that puerto rican women's bodies were used as experiments for untested birth control so that white women could benefit; the fact that white women's fear of black and brown men causes black and brown populations to be incarcerated at much, much higher rates than any other population. dismissing this argument ignores the fact that the caricature of brown and black people allows for white women and white people in general to look at brown and black women as non-human, as disposable, as a caricature or as a product of consumption.

i'm honestly not surprised that something like this happened on columbia's campus, because like hello we live in a very racist society.

also, ricardo, i'm glad that you say that you are not speaking for all mexicans, but, having lived in mexico does not entitle you to dismiss the fact that black and brown women face really awful, difficult, and violent challenges in the united states because of these kind of caricatures. and although this incident seems small, it is part of a pattern of a much larger system that justifies the violence upon the bodies of black and brown women.

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Anonymous posted on

By linking this issue to "systematized racism in America" and claiming that it in any way touches upon white men or women performing experiments upon, or abusing women of color in any way, this is making a gigantic leap. Can we then link these issues to any sort of travesties happening in the world? Portrayal of culture in a derisive way can be hurtful, shameful and embarrassing, but what is worse is the caricaturization of oneself by making such broad and sweeping remarks and bringing these large scale issues down to the level of something so petty.

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Anonymous posted on

This is extremely racist, and just bashing white people. Not everything is about race. And my mother is a "brown women" as you say and has never experienced any of these "disposable qualities." Stop making sweeping generalizations about race, no one thinks black women are non-human or disposable. Stop it.

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I sincerely hope posted on

...That the above comment is just a troll.

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Ricardo Alatorre posted on

Hi David,

Indeed, I included the phrase 'I do not speak for all Mexicans' because I understand that despite my own opinions on the costumes and the girls wearing them, others would continue, for their own valid reasons, to find such a casual, carefree wearing of traditional Mexican attire to be something that trivializes Mexican culture, whether or not the historical connotations of that attire are something to be embraced or be embarrassed about.

The idea behind my article is not to 'dismiss' or ridicule those who found the sorority's use of fake mustaches and sombreros to be offensive, feeding into a larger narrative of oppression, cultural appropriation, and abuse of Latin Americans in North American society, but rather to point out that that "PCP" lens - one which, yes, can be very foreign to someone who isn't from the States - is often abused on this campus to the point of dishonesty, as a way to avoid more meaningful engagement with social ills. The way in which the actions and intentions of privileged white people are second-guessed to no end is on occasion justified. However, just as often, it becomes as a way to gain some kind social leverage over people whose main crime is to have grown up sheltered - a goal far removed from the social and material betterment of Latin Americans and American society in general. To assert that these pictures are a quintessential, coalesced expression of every single injustice Latin Americans have had to face in the States, and that they should be met with that corresponding measure of scorn, fury, and censure, to me seems like an overreaction, one that will only serve to discredit and trivialize the claims the 'PC crowd' argues for eloquently.

I don't consider cultural appropriation or cultural insensitivity 'irrelevant,' but I do, given my background (Monterrey remains a very dangerous place), give precedence to material ills, and, given the choice [one where political capital and energy are limited resources], I would rather have people focus on issues like poverty, the Mexican Drug War, among others, as opposed to the casual, though potentially disrespectful, meanderings of sorority girls.

It goes without saying that you are free to disagree with me.

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Anonymous posted on

I agree with what you're saying about addressing real social ills; however, I also think that "costumes" like this reduce Mexico from a real place with real social ills (social ills American citizens actively or implicitly endorse/perpetuate/create/abuse) to cheap stereotypes of partying and wearing sombreros. I think that as long as we are okay with allowing people to wear these kinds of costumes, we will never challenge our image of Mexico and Mexicans as two-dimensional and undeserving of our care and attention. Thank you for opening this discussion to things that matter.

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oberlin posted on

Also, I think in the buzzfeed/upworthy age, we often see very small, specific infractions like these getting sent to the stratosphere in terms of public attention while people remain numb to the steady stream of news about bloody drug wars and gang violence. There are certainly people amongst the many protesters who, consciously or otherwise, are using this event to satisfy a quota of social engagement.

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Emily posted on

One thing that you should consider here is that you characterized all of the women in the Theta picture as white when you said, "the fact that white women choose to caricature the mexican experience." You have inherently contradicted yourself by assigning races to the women. I challenge you to look beyond the binary of white/black or white/other and consider the ways in which race, gender, sexuality, etc. all impact each other.

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especially considering posted on

that the host of the mexican party who is pictured in the photo above is in fact mexican herself

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Anonymous posted on

THANK YOU for writing this.

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Anonymous posted on

Well written and well thought out: this is a fantastic article!

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Anonymous posted on

Fantastic article, was waiting for someone to raise these points.

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Anonymous posted on

The issue with Sorority girls wearing traditional Mexican garb isn't that the outfits are inherently offensive, but that the girls are making a costume out of traditional clothing. It's a lot like dressing as a Native American chief on halloween; it's rude simply because the outfit of a chief is not a costume, but an aspect of culture that shouldn't be appropriated for comedic effect. As a Mexican, you shouldn't feel any need to be embarrassed by sombreros, but you should be offended at the stereotyping, appropriating, and reduction of a culture to a single costume by groups like the sorority girls pictured.

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Anonymous posted on

I think they key difference between the appropriation of Native American headdresses or other traditional Native American clothing reserved for chiefs and the use of sombreros or ponchos etc is that the Native American clothing is often times attatched to a spiritual or religious aspect much like a rosary or the like. Whereas a sombrero or poncho is still a cultural clothing item, it is just a common event of the traditional wardrobe. Something that many people wear/wore the way that maybe "all" Texans wear cowboy boots and hats. There are different kinds of clothing for different countries or cultures around the world that are just common or popular while not having the kind of symbolism behind them that would make their appropriation offensive.

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Anonymous posted on

As a Mexican i also completely agree. My town is wrought with violence drug violence and everyone cares about some sorority girls just going out and drinking? If I would of been in theta, I wouldn't of thought anything of it.

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Anonymous posted on

This discussion on political correctness and stereotypes is great and all, and I think its wonderful to have an open dialogue about these topics, but I'm going to be honest. The girl on the far left is very attractive, even with mustache.

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Anu posted on

I take your point, and until very recently I would have agreed with you wholeheartedly.

I think most people don't understand about why these sorts of acts are and should be considered offensive. The reasoning lies in pretty complicated theories of orientalism and post-colonialism, the concept of other-ing and exoticism, and historical power structures that persist today whether we like it or not. The fact that your nationality/ethnicity/religion/identity is being co-opted by someone else and worn as a costume comparable to how people might dress up mythological creatures or cartoon characters. It is precisely your point that this attire is worn by Mexicans as a form of "affection, love, and pride" that makes a person wearing this same attire as a form of costume problematic.

If you think, for instance, of a white girl wearing a 'bhindi' on their forehead as a fashion statement. Society sees this as exotic, interesting, trendy, hipster and so forth. If a little Indian girl goes to school with a 'bhindi', though, she is seen as weird, unassimilated, foreign, and might even fall prey to insensitive racial insults. That's why people get upset about these things. Because they cannot wear their own national dress for fear of being seen as foreigners and being insulted, but other people can co-opt that same dress as costume.

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anon posted on

i understand your point and would agree if it weren't for the fact that the host of theta's mexican party and one of the girls in the above photo is in fact mexican, not to mention the numerous other equally diverse girls in the sorority

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to follow up on my comment above posted on

you are in fact racially stereotyping these girls as "non-mexican"

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which posted on

is false

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Anonymous posted on

this article is literally "why are we concerned about this real issue when there is are other issues to be concerned about"

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Anonymous posted on

literally hit the books and learn what literally means. that will make me like literally jump for joy.

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Anonymous posted on

i enjoyed this a lot, very well written. lately it seems that in order not to be labelled racist, sexist, ageist, etc. we have to walk on eggshells to avoid possibly offending someone, and in my mind the fact that we'd have to treat these matters with such extreme delicacy borders on offensive. erring on either side - social prejudice towards a minority or overt caution and sensitivity - is equally wrong, and it would be a lot more embracive of diversity to simply accept that there are differences between cultures and celebrate them openly and unabashedly.

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Anonymous posted on

This is a great article. Maybe a different photo can be used though for future op-eds so that these girls' faces can stop being dragged through the mud.

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Anonymous posted on

Thank you for writing this: finally something sensible has been said about this farce of a controversy and the excessive and absurd political correctness of the Columbia community that is simply displaced.

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Anonymous posted on

This exact same thing happened at the University of Texas last year with the Zeta Tau Alpha and Tri-Delta sororities. Neither of the sororities were reprimanded.

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Anonymous posted on

well said, but no matter what, let's not forget the fact that sororities are still stupid.

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Taylor Thompson posted on

Win.

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Anonymous posted on

As an international student (from India) studying at UC Berkeley, I wish more people on the left had your kind of perspective.

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Anonymous posted on

Holy moly this is one of the best pieces I've read in the Spec Opinion section in a long time. In the past, I've been practically shouted out of a conversation when I proposed that maybe a certain amount of playfulness + curiosity is an innocent and even potentially healing feature of a multicultural society (with a lot of limitations and caveats, admittedly). Definitely have some mixed feelings of this one.

I differ, however, in that I think the blame for the calamitous effects of the War on Drugs lies squarely at the feet of our national government. I'm with Prof Hart on that one.

Kudos on the chutzpah it took to submit this piece on this campus.

I wonder: were there other nationalities represented at this "Olympics themed" mixer?

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Anonymous posted on

Yup... including America, Japan, Netherlands, France, and the Jamaican bobsled team

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Anonymous posted on

dear spec
plz eliminate all other op-ed writers and just have Ricardo from now on.

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feed(me)back posted on

dear spec
plz eliminate all other op-ed writers and just have Ricardo from now on.

also keep Paulina

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Sachem '92 posted on

Man, you really nailed it. The white elites see you and all minorities as people they should feel sorry for, not really a fellow student, colleague, etc. Politicians see you as a pathetic class that will vote for them in return for the smallest crumbs. Affirmative Action is not meant to help minorities as much as it is meant to make white people feel good about their supposed altruism while still feeling superior to you academically.

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Agreed that he nailed it, but you didn't posted on

because that is not what Affirmative Action is for. At all.

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Alum posted on

Absolutely brilliant. This needed to be said and you said it tremendously.

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Suggestion posted on

Concerning the drugs issue, and why drug consumption in America affects Mexico and other countries, you might like to have an interview with Prof. Edgardo Buscaglia from the Faculty of Law: ebusca@law.columbia.edu . You may find it interesting to have the opinion of an expert on this subject.

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Anonymous posted on

You explained my exact sentiments and more. You should write more.

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Anonymous posted on

Congratulations on writing one of the best articles I have seen on Spec

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