Pitzer College RA tells white people not to wear hoop earrings
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.”
“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.”
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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