Students demand stores stop selling ‘ponchos and sombreros’

Students at the University of New Hampshire are calling on local stores to stop selling “items like ponchos and sombreros” to prevent cultural appropriation at Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

As Campus Reform initially reported, one University of New Hampshire student was publicly berated and harassed by a classmate for wearing a serape on his way to celebrate the holiday, with the student who recorded the encounter, Danique Montique, proudly boasting about the exchange on her Facebook.

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“[I] was utterly disgusted with students who chose to demean and appropriate Mexican culture,” she wrote on her Facebook, posting a video of herself lecturing a peer on how he was “perpetuating the stereotype” and telling him that “It’s about you as a man—a white man, who has the most privilege in this whole fucking country—knowing what’s happening in this country right now.”

Now, Campus Reform has learned that a student group known as “All Eyes on UNH” has released a set of demands, which includes calls for the “administration and town elected officials” to urge “local stores in Durham to stop carrying items like ponchos and sombreros for May 5 celebrations, and instead seek out alternative sources of revenue.”

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“Cultural appropriation at UNH continues the normalization of racist behavior that is already an issue on campus,” a press release accompanying the demands states. “As a majority-white campus, the Cinco controversy has shown that most students at UNH do not understand the importance of cultural literacy and how cultural appropriation contributes to the growing acceptance of racism and xenophobia.”

Meanwhile, the list of demands also calls for the “creation of a campus-wide committee to prevent similar offenses in future years,” with another demand asking Greek-life leaders to “find other ways to celebrate the end of the academic year.”

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“Many people on campus were uncomfortable and infuriated by the behaviors of those [who] decided to appropriate Mexican culture, which has cause a campus-wide conversation about the effects of appropriation and racism,” the press release adds. “It is possible to change the drinking culture at UNH, but it takes confrontation, actions and hard conversation to do so.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski