When something involving white people and cultural appropriation goes viral, it's typically for all the wrong reasons. On Thursday, though, we have good news: 17-year-old Josh Welch of Silver Spring, Maryland is going viral after he "dressed like a thief for culture day bc white people steal everyone else's culture," as he wrote on Twitter.
When he learned that his high school had a "Culture Day" coming up, Welch wanted "to find an aspect of white culture to poke fun at," according to BuzzFeed News. After "the idea just happened to dawn" on him, he knew he had to go through with it.
"Being a huge advocate for social justice, I was excited to come to school and participate in some grass roots activism," he told BuzzFeed.
He had to keep explaining the costume to everybody at school, but once people got it, Welch says everybody freaked out. "Some people laughed their asses off," he said, "and others were shocked." He told BuzzFeed that he got into "a tiff with a more conservative teacher about how I 'shouldn't make political statements with my costumes.'"
Having been retweeted 26,000 times and counting, Welch is getting a whole lot of feedback. Most of it has been positive:
But of course, not everyone was thrilled with the costume. Some people got upset and argued that Welch hated himself and didn't acknowledge different white cultures:
Other people used Welch's tweet to make racist comments of their own:
And others denied that Welch was white and attacked him with anti-Semitic remarks:
But Welch and his supporters didn't let the hate bother them:
In the end, Welch says taking a risk with his costume was totally worth it. "It far surpassed what little impact I thought it may have," he said. "I love it, spreading humor and awareness at the same time."