Gonzaga students hold Halloween cultural appropriation forum

Several student groups at Gonzaga University recently held a pre-Halloween event on cultural appropriation titled “Courageous Conversations: My Culture is Not a Costume.”

The event, which took place on October 26 in a lounge on the private university campus in Spokane, Washington, was hosted by the Gonzaga Asian American Student Union, Black Student Union, and La Raza Latina.

During the event, the speakers gave a presentation about what they considered to be cultural appropriation, giving examples such as Beyoncé wearing a doulì; Taylor Swift’s recent “Look What You Made Me Do” music video, which allegedly appropriated Beyoncé‘s Superbowl halftime show performance; and Washington Redskins fans dressing up as Native Americans.

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Following the presentation, attendees split into various groups and had to declare whether they considered several given scenarios to be examples of cultural appropriation, including a non-African person buying a dashiki, an Asian man wearing dreadlocks, and non-Mexicans dressing up in a sombrero and other Mexican attire for Cinco De Mayo.

Daniel Rosales, the president of La Raza Latina, told Campus Reform that he believes cultural appropriation occurs “when a dominant group takes something from a minority group...and just does not give the credit or recognition to the group they’re taking it from.”

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“We wanted people to learn about cultural appropriation and just talk about it with one another in all of its complex forms, and for people to kind of come to their own agreement in terms of what is cultural appropriation,” Trang Tan, the president of the Asian American Student Union, told Campus Reform.

“Since Halloween is coming up...and people may be well-intentioned...but we just want people to know that this is something that does happen, and we want people to be informed and talk about it,” she added.

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