Argument Over Dreadlocks Sparks Debate About Race, Cultural Appropriation at San Francisco State University - NBC Bay Area
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Argument Over Dreadlocks Sparks Debate About Race, Cultural Appropriation at San Francisco State University

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    A shoving match between two students at San Francisco State University caught on video has gone viral. The altercation came after an African American student accused the other of taking away from her culture because he is white and wearing dreadlocks. Pete Suratos reports. (Published Tuesday, March 29, 2016)

    A fight over a student's dreadlocks has sparked a racial debate at a San Francisco Bay Area college.

    A black student at San Francisco State University on Monday accused a white student, whose hair is worn in dreadlocks, of cultural appropriation. The scuffle escalated into a shoving match and was captured on camera.

    In the video, the male student is heard asking, "You're saying I can't wear a hairstyle because of your culture? Why?"

    The female student replies, "Because it's my culture."

    Students told NBC Bay Area they need to watch the entire video before passing judgment, since the viral YouTube clip shows only part of the argument. While able to see both perspectives, all agreed the situation could have been handled differently.

    "I think it's a little too much to go up to people and tell them how they can live their life," said student Destiny Glover.

    The campus is known for its diversity and home is to the country's only college of ethnic studies.

    "I'm just surprised because this school is really liberal and just to see something like that, it's kind of unthinkable," Leticia Urittia said.

    University leaders addressed the issue in a statement, saying, in part, "San Francisco State University promotes the rights of the campus community to engage in free speech, but does not condone behavior that impedes the safety or well-being of others."

    Although university police were called to the incident, no criminal charges were filed. Officials said they plan to continue investigating the issue.

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