Twitter User Who Cried Cultural Appropriation on ‘Qipao Girl’ Exposed for Racist Past
By Editorial Staff
May 3, 2018
Twitter has been on fire this week over the
Twitter user Jeremy Lam is credited with being the first to call out the woman, Keziah Daum, for her pictures on Twitter, tweeting “My culture is NOT your goddamn prom dress.”
Lam’s tweet sparked a massive cultural appropriation debate on Twitter, with many arguing that Daum is exploiting the qipao in a disrespectful manner to take advantage of the “exotic” look. Many, however, sided with Daum, arguing that her choice of dress was made in a respectful manner and that culture should be shared and appreciated this way.
Many in China also supported the woman’s dress for representing the beauty of Chinese culture. Some Asian Americans, in response, argued that Chinese people in Asia can’t accurately speak on the struggles that Asians in America must face.
But while most were praising Lam for outing a potential “cultural appropriator,” others took a closer look at Lam’s past tweets, finding several instances of racism that immediately destroyed all credit he may have had.
While Lam was quick to delete the past tweets he was being called out for, some also took advantage of the opportunity to create at least one fake tweet that he addressed directly.
As for the real racist tweets he deleted, Lam offered an apology, saying he used to be “ignorant” in his “problematic youth” and that his past does not define him.
Still, for someone who assumed a position on top of a cultural awareness high horse, the internet decided to rip every ironic instance that Lam may have been “guilty” of cultural appropriation himself.
Amid the argument was Lam’s defense that the qipao was entirely Chinese to begin with.
Some twitter users begged to differ:
The origin of the qipao is hotly debated, going back as far as 200 A.D. or the Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1912), but according to “An Analysis of the Origin of Qipao” (2003) written by Bian Xiangyang, the qipao, or cheongsam, is an adaptation of a Western-style dress during the Republic of China era (1912-1949) when colonization was responsible for the integration of Western culture. According to Bian, the qipao is a hybrid of a traditional Chinese dress and a Western dress, making the cultural appropriation argument, at least academically, invalid.
As for Daum, she’s not apologizing to anyone who may have been offended by her admiration of the qipao and thanks all those who supported her appreciation of the dress.
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