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Diversity

Costume or Cultural Appropriation

Costume or Cultural Appropriation – By Amaris Holguin

The leaves are falling, the temperature is dropping, and Halloween is just around the corner. Many would argue that Halloween is the day of the year where you can be whoever, or whatever you want. However, it’s important to know the distinction between what is funny and what is cultural appropriation.

Cultural appropriation is defined as “the act of taking intellectual and cultural expressions from a culture that is not your own, without showing that you understand or respect the culture.” This can be as simple as wearing a Dashiki without knowledge or respect to West African culture, and as serious as wearing a fake Native American headdress without any regard of its sacredness. It generally incorporates a history of prejudice and discrimination by perpetuating long-standing stereotypes.

On the other hand, cultural appreciation, understanding the significance of a particular practice/object/tradition and not undermining or destroying its significance or value, and cultural exchange are important aspects of living in a diverse world. For instance, at an Indian wedding someone may be asked to wear a Sari, a traditional female garment. This would be considered cultural appreciation. They are asked to participate in the culture by wearing traditional attire  and showing respect for that culture.

If you are second-guessing that your costume may be cultural appropriation consider these questions:

Does my costume…

  • Represent a culture that is not my own?
  • Include the words “traditional,” “ethnic,” “cultural,” or “tribal?”
  • Perpetuate stereotypes, or historical and cultural inaccuracies?

If you said yes to any of the questions above or are still unsure, you may want to go with a different costume.

For more information on cultural appropriation, check out the following resources:

http://www.refinery29.com/2015/10/95646/halloween-cultural-appropriation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXejDhRGOuI

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While the University of St. Thomas doesn’t have an official policy about Halloween costumes, the above information is offered to help students make informed choices.  Our convictions as a University call on us to respect the dignity of all human persons and we strive to create a community that is welcoming to all.  Educating students about how their actions could be perceived by others is part of how we create that community.”

 

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Welcome Students – Orientation and Registration!

Understanding Your Story – First Year Student Presentations (Dia Yang)

Summer is coming to an end very soon, and UST is gearing up for orientations for new Tommies the next few weeks. Orientation for new students is a pivotal point in which students learn about what classes they will be taking, who their advisors are, where they will be living, and other viable student services. One of biggest questions every student explores throughout their time in college is “Who am I?” The first year becomes an exploration of trying to identify their passion, their personal identities, their purpose, and understanding the new people, information, and challenges they will encounter.

SDIS will be hosting a presentation for first year students called “Understanding Your Story”, giving students a glimpse of things they may encounter within their first year of college. This presentation will focus on the single story concept – the single story students learned in their 18 years of education, and the danger of one story. First year students will watch a snippet of Chimamanda Adichie’s TED Talk “Danger of a Single Story”, in which speaks of understanding stories by shifting your paradigm to another narrative. During the presentation students will be able to discuss single stories they know and how this can impact their perception of the world. Students will also be able to identify the complexities of their identities and understand the multiple stories that they can expect to encounter during their time here at UST.

The University of St. Thomas mission speaks of advancing the common good, and this is only possible when the individual feels they are a part of their community, interacting with – and growing within – that community. The presentation will conclude that as first year students begin to understand their stories within UST, in combination with the things they learn in college, they will grow into being who they are and embracing the diversity around them academically and socially. This transformation is a vital and continual process and cannot be feared, as this growth is needed in order to adapt to the changing world.