The white student at the centre of the San Francisco State University (SFSU) cultural appropriation video has spoken out about being harassed by a black student over his dreadlocks, insisting it’s “my hair, my rules, my body.”
In an interview with the Golden Gate Xpress, an SFSU student-run publication, 22-year-old Cory Goldstein claimed he looked at the female student who said: “Sorry, but we don't want people with your hair here,” something he said he found “really rude” while trying to walk away from the situation.
The environmental science student also described how he was followed and tried to leave multiple times, but that “she wouldn’t let me.”
He said: “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.”
The 47-second video clip surfaced online on Tuesday and has, so far, gathered more than 2.2 million views and begins by showing the female student supposedly threaten to cut Mr Goldstein’s dreadlocks with scissors.
Mr Goldstein is then heard to defend his hairstyle and asks the female student: “You’re saying I can’t have a hairstyle because of your culture. Why?” She replies: “Because it’s my culture.”
The female student is also seen to block Mr Goldstein’s path, preventing him from walking away from the situation as she pushes him back, all the while accusing him of cultural appropriation.
Speaking about the incident with the Xpress, Mr Goldstein said it was “not okay” to be attacked over his hairstyle, insisting: “It’s not even part of the coloured community’s culture.” He added: “It’s in Egyptian culture, Viking culture - even in Victorian culture.”
He also said the fact that he has dreadlocks shows “I actually love and respect their culture,” and it is something he holds true to himself.
However, according to the Golden Gate Xpress site and comments which have since surfaced online, eyewitnesses have attempted to paint a clearer picture in the events which led up to the video.
One SFSU student took to Facebook and described how his friends had confirmed they were at the situation when the incident occurred. He wrote: “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.”
The Xpress has also quoted another 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).”
SFSU is standing by the statement it released shortly after the clip began to gather attention which said the institution was aware of the video and that university police had been called to the scene of the incident when it occurred
The statement continued: “No criminal charges have been pressed at this time 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 had also confirmed on his Facebook page he would not be filing any criminal charges, but said: “I did file a formal campus police report and I decided to let the education system deal with her.”
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