Hampshire College Student Accused of Assaulting Basketball Player for Wearing Hair Braids, Claims ‘Cultural Appropriation’

The Central Maine Community College women's basketball team
Central Maine Community College

A Hampshire College student allegedly assaulted a member of the Central Maine Community College girl’s basketball team over concerns that one of their players had “culturally appropriated” a hairstyle.

Hampshire College student Carmen Figueroa ordered members of the Central Maine Community College girls basketball team to remove braids from their hair, claiming that their use of the hairstyle is “cultural appropriation.”

According to The Daily Hampshire Gazette, Figueroa allegedly assaulted the girls after they refused to comply with her demand that they remove their braids:

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.

Figueroa was charged with disorderly conduct, assault and battery, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon after an altercation that erupted over her concerns about the hairstyle sported by some members of the basketball team. Figueroa denies all charges.

Oxford Reference defines cultural appropriation as the “taking over of creative or artistic forms, themes, or practices by one cultural group from another. It is in general used to describe Western appropriations of non‐Western or non‐white forms, and carries connotations of exploitation and dominance.”

“Overall, the topic of dispute on whether or not a white woman can wear braids is a very tricky blurred line – since cultural appropriation (CA) changes as our cultures blend and mesh it’s difficult to make a contention on whether or not braids are CA,” Madison Campbell, the Young Americans for Liberty President at Hampshire College, told the online campus watchdog site Campus Reform. “However, regardless of whether or not the hairstyle worn by the plaintiff is CA, it is completely wrong to victimize and brutally attack another individual for their hair.”

“I do not condone the violence brought on from this Hampshire student, and believe if the defendant had problems with the hairstyle that they should have expressed their opinion verbally rather than abusively,” Campbell added.

This incident is similar an incident caught on video at San Francisco State University in which a white student with dreadlocks was confronted by a black student in March last year.

Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about education and social justice for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at tciccotta@breitbart.com


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