Cornell Students Debate: Is Football Coach’s “Big Sombrero” Tweet Cultural Appropriation?

A "Big Sombrero" is a big no-no at Cornell

Keeping up with the political left is becoming exhausting these days.

On the one hand, Hillary Clinton recently said having taco trucks on every street corner “sounds absolutely delicious.” The mainstream media praised her awkward attempt at a joke and dig directed at a no-name Trump surrogate, and she didn’t come under fire from the cultural appropriation police.

On the other hand, Cornell Football’s offensive line coach Roy Istvan is coming under fire for a tweet sent out Tuesday morning, now deleted, captioned “Eman & Fosta! THE BIG SOMBRERO!” with a picture of two football players wearing a big sombrero. The University also retweeted Istvan’s tweet, seen below.

*trigger warning*

The Tab at Cornell also reported that Istvan later apologized by writing across two tweets, “I am truly sorry for the cultural insensitivity and understand how our expression of pride came at the expensive of others in the Cornell community.”

Ivstan also explained the original pictures in another tweet writing that the hat is awarded to “team members who represent the best teamwork and winning spirit on and off the field” according to the Tab.

The crime here of course is cultural appropriation.

MEChA de Cornell, a Chicanx/Chican@ student group, posted the above picture on its Facebook page which drew lots of outraged comments.

“What is your [the Student Assembly’s] response to this? So many of your fellow students’ culture is being used as a prop consistently on this campus and it is supported publicly by this university. Will you pass a proposition to recommend a faculty/staff diversity and cultural sensitivity training? Or will you just push it under the rug as you did the Cinco de Octubre event? I expect a response to this from the Minority Liaison.” – Silvia Treviño

“There’s legit like dozens and dozens of designs of hats in this world. I feel like a crown makes more sense. A fancy top hat. Like. Why a sombrero?” – Barbara Cruz

“They’re appropriating a culture that isn’t theirs and using it as a joke. It’s disgusting and I’m ashamed that you can’t see that.” – Sarah Zumba

Other commentors were not buying into the tripe.

“If I am having sushi tonight do I need to consult the SA [Student Assembly] for permission?” – A Cornell Student

“I really don’t see anything offensive about this at all. There’s no attempt at being mean or aggressive towards any other culture. They legitimately put a sombrero on, smiled for the camera, and that was it. I don’t see them defacing a sombrero, or burning it, nor do I see any comment against any culture whatsoever.” – Robert Yang

“I’m a Mexican from El Paso, Texas, and currently a Cornell football player. I am having trouble seeing how this in any way is so offensive, if I showed this picture to my family in Mexico they would certainly laugh and be excited that our team incorporates a part of the Mexican heritage in celebrating our player awards. This is being blown up by sensitive people on social media who aren’t even of relevance to the Mexican culture.” – Gustavo Dorsett

This isn’t the first time Cornell’s athletic department has run afoul of the cultural appropriation police. Back in the fall of 2013, a Cinco de Mayo-themed promotion for a Cornell football game was deemed insensitive, appropriating, etc. Eventually, the athletic department issued an apology.

5 Comments on Cornell Students Debate: Is Football Coach’s “Big Sombrero” Tweet Cultural Appropriation?

  1. I apologize to Italians for recently having worn Italian shoes.

  2. “Cultural appropriation” is just another excuse to whine and to self-promote a “victim” posture. It’s nothing more than an attempt to self-aggrandize and a try for their 15 minutes of fame. “Look at me, arn’t I wonderful and are you not a racist pig. I am so much better than you.” That is the thinking of these “people”.

  3. I actually am a self identifying liberal (uber one at that) of solely Mexican heritage. I fully believe in the idea of cultural appropriation (cough redskins). This? No ill intent, no intent to profit… Meh, move along people.

  4. Forgot to add no bastardization of said culture (ie headdresses representing all indigenous somehow [cough redskins again])

  5. What a bunch of idiots. “Cultural appropriation” is another PC load of garbage made up by these idiots as a way of whining about something, anything. If these people have their way with this stuff no one will ba able to say or do anything without some group finding something to be offended about. Go home and hide in the corner of your room in mommy and daddy’s home if you can’t cut it on the outside.

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