At the University of Kansas this past October, a panel was held on campus to review what costumes students could wear for Halloween without running the risk of “cultural appropriation.”
If anyone wonders why the cost of higher ed keeps increasing, he or she need only consider the parties involved in sponsoring this event. They included the Indigenous Studies program, the Office of the Provost, Diversity and Equity; the Hall Center for the Humanities; the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and the departments of American Studies, English, History, Humanities, Religious Studies and Visual Art.
For those may not know what cultural appropriation is or why it demands such attention, UMKC’s Alexis Dupree provided a useful definition in her hard-hitting editorial, “Don’t Steal My Culture, Please.” Dupree described the phenomenon as “the intentional usage of cultural aspects such as hair, clothing, or other cultural identifiers, to basically get cool points, downplay its origin, and seem innovative, without thoroughly taking the time to understand the roots.”
This past weekend, in parades and other celebrations throughout the bi-state area, thoughtless party animals crudely mimicked the cultural icons of the Irish with scarcely a thought about the religious roots of the day or the suffering of those Irish immigrants who struggled to bring their culture to America. For the sensitive Mick, the day was one long microagression.
Parents struggled to explain to their lads and lassies how individuals could stroll the streets in commercially produced “Pub Crawl Leprechaun Costumes” or in revealing “Lucky Charm’s Women’s Leprechaun Costumes,” let alone in T-Shirts that read “Ginger Lives Matter” or “Official Irish Drinking Team.” Even the University of Kansas was selling disrespectful KU-specific Irish-themed t-shirts. Do they not know how uncomfortable such marginalizing kitsch makes Irish-Americans feel?
Not at all reluctant to stereotype the Irish as drunks, KCPD set up a sobriety checkpoint on St. Patrick’s day just north of Westport and arrested sixty-six people. Yet for all this conspicuous cultural appropriation, micro aggression, McPhobia, and ethnic profiling leading to multiple arrests, there was nary a peep out of the local media.
Curse of the seven snotty orphans on them!