Pitzer College RA tells white people not to wear hoop earrings

Elliot Dordick
The Claremont Independent

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  • A wall dedicated to free speech at Pitzer College was recently painted by a group of Latino students with the message, "White Girl, take off your [hoop earrings]!"
  • After a white student expressed confusion, a resident assistant who is active with the "Latinx Student Union" sent out a campus-wide email explaining that white women wearing hooped earrings is cultural appropriation.
  • A wall on the side of a Pitzer College dormitory devoted to unmoderated free speech through art (colloquially named “the free wall”), was recently painted by a group of Latino students with the message, “White Girl, take off your [hoop earrings]!!!”

    When one white student expressed confusion about the message, Alegria Martinez, a Pitzer College Resident Assistant (RA) and active member of the “Latinx Student Union,” responded in an email thread sent to the entire student body:

    “The black and brown bodies who typically wear hooped earrings...are not taken seriously by others.”   

    “The art was created by myself and a few other WOC [women of color] after being tired and annoyed with the reoccuring [sic] theme of white women appropriating styles … that belong to the black and brown folks who created the culture,” she wrote. “The culture actually comes from a historical background of oppression and exclusion.”

    [RELATED: White SF State students assaults white peer because he has dreadlocks]

    “The black and brown bodies who typically wear hooped earrings, (and other accessories like winged eyeliner, gold name plate necklaces, etc) are typically viewed as ghetto, and are not taken seriously by others in their daily lives. Because of this, I see our winged eyeliner, lined lips, and big hoop earrings serving as symbols [and] as an everyday act of resistance, especially here at the Claremont Colleges,” Martinez continued. “Meanwhile we wonder, why should white girls be able to take part in this culture (wearing hoop earrings just being one case of it) and be seen as cute/aesthetic/ethnic. White people have actually exploited the culture and made it into fashion.”

    Jacquelyn Aguilera (PZ ’19), another student claiming credit for the spray-painted message, responded to the school-wide email thread.

    “If you didn’t create the culture as a coping mechanism for marginalization, take off those hoops[;] if your feminism isn’t intersectional, take off those hoops[;] if you try to wear mi cultura when the creators can no longer afford it, take off those hoops[;] if you are incapable of using a search engine and expect other people to educate you, take off those hoops[;] if you can’t pronounce my name or spell it … take off those hoops,” Aguilera said, clarifying that “I use ‘those’ instead of ‘your’ because hoops were never ‘yours’ to begin with.”

    [RELATED: St. Patrick’s Day deemed ‘cultural appropriation’]

    Aguilera attached an image of herself and the others who spray-painted the wall exposing their own hoop earrings.

    Pitzer’s website states that on the free wall “you’ll find artistic representation of local and global issues that usually spark educational discussion across campus!”

    Martinez and Aguilera declined the Independent‘s requests to elaborate on their comments.

    This article was originally published in The Claremont Independent, a conservative student newspaper affiliated with the Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program. Its articles are republished here with permission.

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    Elliot Dordick

    The Claremont Independent

    The Claremont Independent

    The Claremont Independent is an independent journal of campus affairs and political thought serving the colleges of the Claremont Consortium. The magazine receives no funding from any of the colleges and is distributed free of charge on campus. All costs of production are covered by the generous support of private foundations and individuals. The Claremont Independent is dedicated to using journalism and reasoned discourse to advance its ongoing mission of Upholding Truth and Excellence at the Claremont Colleges.

    The Claremont Independent is affiliated with Campus Reform through the Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program. Its articles are republished on Campus Reform with permission from the paper. 

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