JACL Applauds Activism of UC Irvine Students

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IRVINE — The Japanese American Citizens League issued the following statement on May 29.

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The JACL applauds the actions of the Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students at the University of California, Irvine and the UC Irvine Student Council in protesting and taking action against a culturally insensitive party hosted by members of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

The UC Irvine chapter of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, nicknamed “FIJI,” hosted a “Fiji Islander” party in which partygoers wore grass skirts, leis, and other stereotypical “tropical islander” attire and props. Such culturally themed parties, in which cultural traditions are reduced to costumes, amount to cultural appropriation that dehumanize people and communities of color.

Asian Pacific American student groups on campus protested the party for its insensitive and offensive use of stereotypes and caricature. As a response to these students’ activism, the UC Irvine Student Council voted to take action against the fraternity, prohibiting the fraternity from future “islander”-themed parties and from using the “FIJI” nickname.

The JACL commends the UC Irvine APA community for holding their peers accountable in fostering a campus culture that is respectful of students of all backgrounds.

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