Culture

FSU Poster: Harambe Costumes Are ‘Cultural Appropriation’

What culture?

According to a display at Florida State University, dressing up as Harambe for Halloween is an example of “cultural appropriation.”

The warning is one of many on a “My Culture Is Not a Costume” bulletin board hanging at the school’s Deviney Hall residence, a picture of which was provided to Campus Reform.

Other “examples of appropriation” on the board include “headdresses” and “Latinx alien.” Below that are suggestions for “great Halloween costumes” including “extraterrestrial alien,” “Steve Jobs” (what?), and “any animal,” despite the fact that Harambe is previously listed as an unacceptable option.

I think it is important to note that the students on these campuses are adults. Is any one of these adults actually going to go insane because one of his or her classmates is dressed up like a deceased gorilla? If so, I think it would be more than fair to say that the student freaking out would be the one with the problem.

After all, exactly what kind of culture would dressing up like Harambe be appropriating? Gorilla culture? No, that can’t be it, because “any animal” is on the “great Halloween costumes” list — meaning that gorillas by other names would be okay. African culture? No, that can’t be it, because even though gorillas are  African animals and the name “Harambe” is a Swahili name, no other African animals (or animals of any other African names) are advised against.

#related#So what culture, exactly, would dressing up like Harambe be appropriating? None. After all, beloved or not, Harambe was never a “cultural icon,” he was a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo. Perhaps the school had some other stupid concerns about students making this particular costume choice, but to call it an example of “cultural appropriation” is factually inaccurate — and believe it or not, facts are things that I still consider to be at least kind of important.

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