The Utah teenager who wore a traditional Chinese dress to her prom is speaking out following outrage over what many were calling a “racist” and culturally insensitive choice of attire.
Keziah Daum, 18, appeared on “Fox and Friends” Wednesday morning, where she claimed she never had any intention of “mocking” the Chinese culture, but rather, to celebrate it.
“For prom, I decide to go to a vintage shop in downtown Salt Lake, and I was looking for a dress that had a modest neckline and was unique. And the second I saw this dress I was immediately drawn to it and its beauty, and I bought it,” Daum stated on “Fox and Friends."
Daum added that no one took issue with her dress until the next day, when she posted photos from the night on Twitter.
“That’s when I started getting some responses. And I wasn’t expecting it … So it caught me by surprise.”
Negative comments and reactions to Daum’s traditional Chinese cheongsam dress started pouring in soon after she posted the photos, with Twitter commenters deeming her “ignorant,” “sad,” or simply a “closet racist.” Daum initially responded by clarifying that she “mean[s] no disrespect to the Chinese culture” and refusing to apologize.
"I’m not deleting my post because I’ve done nothing but show my love for the culture. It’s a f---ing dress. And it’s beautiful," she tweeted on Saturday.
Daum received plenty of support from friends, administrators and teachers, as well as on Twitter. The South China Morning Post further reported that social media users in mainland China largely supported her, with one calling the move “cultural appreciation” rather than appropriation.
On Wednesday, Daum reiterated that she wore her dress in admiration of Chinese culture, but acknowledged that there’s a “difference” between her actions and the “cultural appropriation” she is being accused of.
“I feel that there’s a difference between wearing something with a different intent, because I personally, I wore the dress because I really respect the culture, and I believe it is very beautiful. And I wanted to show my respect and love by wearing [the] clothes in admiration of them.”
Daum further said she and her friends were not “mocking” Chinese culture in the photo where they’re seen crouching down and folding their hands together, but rather imitating a “famous YouTuber from h3h3productions.”
In the wake of her Twitter post, however, Daum said she’s had to accept that “there are going to be people that aren’t always going to be pleased,” and claimed friends and school principal are proud of her for how she handled herself.
And if she could go back and do it all over?
“Yes, I would definitely wear it again,” said Daum.