Cultural appropriation is this quirky rule of racism that says white people aren’t allowed to do or wear anything that minorities consider exclusively belonging to their “culture.” Generally it’s invoked when a white person sings, dances, or dresses in a way that is “black.” Recently, a woman who may be Latina assaulted some women who were possibly white over cultural appropriation. As is the norm, when whites are the victims of a hate crime, the news tends to downplay the racial aspects of the story, so we have to guess.
Carmen Figueroa is a student at Hampshire College, a small private school in Massachusetts. She may be on the women’s basketball team, but the school won’t confirm it. In any case, Figueroa was arrested recently after this happened according to The Daily Hampshire Gazette:
The charges stem from a Jan. 27 incident at Hampshire College’s Robert Crown Center. According to court documents, Figueroa approached members the Central Maine Community College women’s basketball team and ordered them to remove braids from their hair citing “cultural appropriation.”
When the players did not comply and began to leave the building, Figueroa allegedly initiated a fight towards one of the players. At the same time, another unknown Hampshire College student pulled the hair of a visiting women’s basketball player causing her to fall to the ground, according to court documents.
While the player was on the ground, police allege that Figueroa kicked and stepped on the player causing injury.
Another Maine player attempted to protect her fallen teammate but Figueroa “grabbed her by the head and threw her to the ground,” according to court documents.
The second player suffered scratches and other marks.
But wait, it gets worse:
As coaches broke up the fight, Figueroa attempted to punch at the Maine students and “was screaming swears and racial slurs,” according to court documents.
Nowhere does the news mention the actual races of anyone involved so I did a little digging. According to pictures on the Central Maine Community College website the women’s basketball team is all white except for one black player. As for Figueroa, her name indicates that she is Latina, but she could also be Afro-Latina, meaning she is black and Hispanic. Either way, what happened was a non-white person attacked white people for racial reasons while shouting racial slurs.
In case you have this fool notion that a hate crime occurred, Figueroa was charged with disorderly conduct, assault and battery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, but no hate crime enhancement. The charges were considered so minor that Figueroa was released on her own recognizance.
It’s not an exaggeration to say if a white woman had attacked several minority women while shouting racial slurs that it would be treated as a serious felony hate crime and that the media would freak out blaming Trump’s America for the racism. Also, in this fictitious scenario, the media would at least report the races of those involved.