Fredericton — Liberal arts universities are not often known for hosting outbursts of political outrage, yet one such outburst erupted yesterday at St. Thomas University after Cultural Studies professor Dr. Jeffrey Manderson was caught wearing a jacket with a “Made in China” lining tag.
The professor was in the middle of a lecture about cultural appropriation when Student Brenda Wright noticed the jacket and began shouting the word “racist” at him for the remainder of the class.
“The second I saw the tag,” explained Wright, “I decided, to hell with cultural lessons — that man’s a racist!
“He had just got done telling us about how offensive it is to wear moccasins or get tattoos of Japanese calligraphy,” she spat, “and here he was wearing a jacket made in China! Well what about the hands that made it? For all we know, that coat could have been intended for traditional Chinese funeral ceremonies, and every time he puts it on he could be disrespecting a mourning Chinese family!”
St. Thomas has temporarily suspended Dr. Manderson, leaving many to wonder where to draw the line between cultural curiosity and cultural appropriation.
“It’s simple,” guided an all-too-eager Wright, who has written out a few tips for anyone interested:
- Before you buy anything, always check to make sure it was made no farther than 25 feet from where you’re standing;
- Never learn a second language. You wouldn’t want to misrepresent the culture that owns it;
- No foreign foods. You might be tasting them wrong;
- And remember: If they don’t look like you, you can’t learn from them or appreciate anything they do.
Dr. Manderson himself was not allowed to comment.
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