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Dreadlocks cultural appropriation row intensifies as students provide more context

White student 'potentially verbally assaulted' black student before camera started to record, says one claim

Aftab Ali
Student Editor
Friday 01 April 2016 11:45 BST
Goldstein, pictured left, is prevented from walking away from the row in the video
Goldstein, pictured left, is prevented from walking away from the row in the video (Nicholas Silvera/YouTube)

Students have taken to social media to highlight the events which led up to the San Francisco State University (SFSU) ‘cultural appropriation’ row video which has gathered more than three million hits in just three days.

Environmental science student, Cory Goldstein, 22, who is white, was seen in the 47-second clip, which surfaced on Tuesday, being harassed and assaulted by a black female student over the fact that he has dreadlocks.

The female student can be heard threatening to cut Mr Goldstein’s hair with scissors “because it’s my culture.” When he tries to justify that dreadlocks have been a part of other cultures, the female student prevents Mr Goldstein from walking away, grabs his arm, and pushes him back while she continues to argue.

Now, however, according to the local ABC news site, comments have been made on Facebook with users claiming the incident occurred when Mr Goldstein allegedly called the student a “b***h” when she tried to hand him a flyer. Mr Goldstein has strongly denied this.

Campus employee tells white student you cannot wear dreads

A cinematography student at the university claimed his classmate said Mr Goldstein “potentially verbally assaulted” the female student before the camera started recording.

SFSU news site, the Golden Gate Xpress, has also quoted student Maddy Grey as having said: “He called her a ‘b***h after she tried to give him a flyer so she went to talk to him about his dreads and not to call her a ‘b***h’ (naturally).”

Another sought to clarify “some of the disturbing comments and claims” surrounding what happened, and wrote on Facebook: “The first moment of violence was when the white man in question called a black woman a ‘b***h’ when she was trying to flyer. Things escalated from there. This is not in the video, and the fact that everyone quickly sided with the white man shows that we are so quick to jump on the side of privilege.

“Doesn’t this resonate with all people of colour, especially black folx [sic]? So quick to believe the white perspective, always skeptical of black voices.”

An online petition which is calling for the black student in question to be expelled from SFSU has gathered almost 500 signatures after being launched on Thursday.

Cory Goldstein comments on viral video

Mr Goldstein spoke with the Xpress post-incident and claimed to have looked at the female student who allegedly said: “Sorry, but we dont want people with your hair here,” something he said he found “really rude.”

He continued: “She kept grabbing me, pushing me back, trying to make her point or something. I didn’t want to talk or discuss this situation with her at all. I felt that I didn’t need to explain myself: my hair, my rules, my body. ”

SFSU is still standing by the statement it released shortly after the incident began to gather attention online, saying the institution was aware of the video made on campus, adding: “University police were called to the scene of the incident when it occurred.

“The two individuals involved in the incident are not San Francisco State University employees. Further, no criminal charges have been pressed to the university’s knowledge.

“San Francisco State University promotes the rights of the campus community to engage in free speech, but does not condone behaviour that impedes the safety or well-being of others.

“We are taking the matter seriously and will promptly and thoroughly investigate this incident through applicable university channels, including our campus student conduct procedures.”

Mr Goldstein confirmed on his Facebook page that he would not be filing any criminal charges and would rather “let the education system deal with her.”

According to ABC, he said he would “forget the whole situation” if he were to get a formal apology from the student “ with her real intentions.”

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