"I thought it was absolutely beautiful," Daum, who is not Chinese, told The Washington Post. She said the dress "really gave me a sense of appreciation and admiration for other cultures and their beauty."
But when Daum posted a series of pictures on Twitter of herself wearing the dress, she unleashed the fury of commenters, who accused her of cultural appropriation and even racism, the Post reported.
"My culture is NOT your … prom dress," a Twitter user named Jeremy Lam said. "I'm proud of my culture, including the extreme barriers marginalized people within that culture have had to overcome those obstacles. For it to simply be subject to American consumerism and cater to a white audience, is parallel to colonial ideology."
Daum’s tweet was shared more than 40,000 times and sparked many comments similar to those from Lam.
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Daum said she was not being a racist when she chose the dress.
“I don’t see the big deal of me wearing a gorgeous dress I found for my last prom,” she tweeted. “If anything, I’m showing my appreciation to other cultures and I didn’t intend to make anyone think that I’m trying to be racist. It’s just a dress.”