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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Internet, Dreadlocked SF State Student Respond to Viral "Cultural Appropriation" Confrontation

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2016 at 1:39 PM


The San Francisco State University student who was aggressively confronted — and most certainly physically touched — by a fellow student over his choice of hairstyle on Monday in a video that has since gone viral has responded to the incident in a video posted to YouTube by the school’s newspaper, Golden Gate Xpress.

Meanwhile, the university is investigating the heated exchange between the white male student and black female student — while the Internet has reacted in a predictably and regrettably kneejerk fashion. (Yes: apparently wearing belts and speaking English are "cultural appropriation.")

In the new video, 22-year-old environmental science major Cory Goldstein discusses the exchange with a student identified as SFSU photography major Bonita Tindle and defends his dreadlocks as merely a hairstyle choice and not cultural appropriation.

“I didn’t want to talk or discuss the situation with her at all. I felt that I didn’t need to explain myself — my hair, my rules, my body,” Goldstein says.

He says dreadlocks are not solely a part of African-American culture, saying accusations of such appropriation are better directed at people who wear American Indian headdresses.

“The fact that I have locks does not mean that I’m trying to appropriate anyone’s culture,” Goldstein says. “It means that I love and respect their culture, and it’s something that I hold true to myself. I feel like these differences are not something that separate us but are something that should bring us closer together.”

He insists that hair naturally tangles, or “dreads,” before someone off-camera asks if that happened to his hair. His response is no, but that he wanted the hairstyle.

The person off-camera then says to Goldstein that he’s taking something from someone’s culture that symbolizes something for them, but Goldstein interrupts to say dreadlocks don’t mean anything to Tindle, although he cannot come up with much of an answer when pressed to explain.

“Because it’s something that a lot of people don’t know,” including many African-Americans, Goldstein claims.

Near the end of the video, Goldstein contradicts himself by saying he can see how the hairstyle would have cultural impact for some people but also that’s it’s simply a fashion choice for others.

SFSU released a statement Tuesday addressing the incident, correcting earlier reports that Tindle was also an employee of the university and pledging to conduct an investigation:

“We are aware of the video made of an incident which occurred on campus yesterday afternoon. University police were called to the scene of the incident when it occurred. The two individuals involved in the incident are not San Francisco State University employees. Further, no criminal charges have been pressed at this time to the University’s knowledge.

San Francisco State University promotes the rights of the campus community to engage in free speech, but does not condone behavior that impedes the safety or well-being of others. We are taking the matter seriously and will promptly and thoroughly investigate this incident through applicable University channels, including our campus student conduct procedures.”
Meanwhile — as the original video passes 1.5 million views, and media outlets all over the world jump on the story — the Internet has taken upon itself to inject reason more inanity into the debate, insisting Tindle's use of such commonplace items as belts, the English language, and other trappings of modern life are also "cultural appropriation."
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