Teen Dresses As Thief For "Culture Day" Because White People Keep Stealing Other Cultures
You can expect to see a variety of garments at a high school “Culture Day,” from saris to lederhosen, but a black beanie and sweats might have you scratching your head. That’s what 17-year-old Josh Welch recently wore as his costume; the teen dressed as a thief for Culture Day because, he says, “white people steal everyone else’s culture.” Ha. Unsurprisingly, the 17-year-old’s costume is causing quite the stir on the interwebs, with some people taking offense, and others praising it as a hilarious critique on cultural appropriation. However you feel about it, you can’t argue that Welch’s costume isn’t an attention grabber; his tweet about the outfit has been retweeted almost 30,000 times since Tuesday.
Welch told BuzzFeed that he first got the idea of dressing up as a thief while “trying to find an aspect of white culture to poke fun at for culture day.” He added, “The idea just happened to dawn on me, and I knew I had to do it.” Welch said that he had to explain the joke to most people at school, but that when they finally “got” it, “everyone freaked out.” “Some people laughed their asses off and others were shocked,” he said.
Those opposing reactions reflect the responses that Welch has gotten on Twitter, as well. Some people cannot get enough of his thief costume…
And others are angry, often pointing out that the cultures from which many white people descend have their own traditional modes of dress. (They’re not wrong, but I think we can simultaneously appreciate the various cultural origins of white people, and also acknowledge that cultural appropriation is a thing that occurs and is harmful.)
For his part, Welch seems unruffled by the criticism. “I consider myself a huge advocate for social justice, and I wanted to make a bold statement about ‘white culture,’” he told The Huffington Post. “So I decided to use humor to get my point across, but I never imagined it could be this ubiquitous.” He continued, “I have received some really negative feedback, but it has been overshadowed by the positive comments.”