WOODS CROSS, Utah — A Woods Cross High School student is facing online criticism and accusations of racism after wearing a traditional Chinese “cheongsam” dress to prom and posting photos on Twitter.
Keziah Daum posted an album (below) of four pictures showing her wearing the dress at the Utah State Capitol on April 22. The album has been retweeted nearly 6,000 times and liked nearly 90,000 times.
“She is wearing a traditional dress that is reserved for special occasions and by her, a non-Chinese woman, thinking she is entitled to our culture, she is profiting (does not necessarily mean $$) from it. That is cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation is racism,” wrote Twitter user @thaooocu.
In one of the pictures, Daum and several other prom attendees are seen crouching with their palms together – a gesture which many people also found offensive.
“In the photo, you’re doing the praying hands. That’s a racist gesture used to insult Asians. I know that because I’m Asian and I had to (and still have to) deal with racism towards me,” wrote Twitter user @demonangel5000.
Daum said she loves Chinese culture and she didn’t mean to disrespect it.
“To everyone causing so much negativity: I mean no disrespect to the Chinese culture. I’m simply showing my appreciation to their culture. I’m not deleting my post because I’ve done nothing but show my love for the culture. It’s a f—ing dress. And it’s beautiful,” Daum wrote.
But other Twitter users found that statement contradictory, and it furthered their criticisms of Daum.
“[I]t’s not ‘just a f—ing dress’ it has history that you have no idea about. “appreciating the culture” when you don’t even know what role this dress played in its respective culture,” wrote Twitter user @idkjasmine_.
On Sunday, said she would not be removing the photos, despite all the criticism she has received.
“Honestly, I’m sorry if you were offended. I’m not taking anything down. Thank you for everyone who has been kind to me,” she wrote.