On Culture Day at his high school, when students were encouraged to dress in something that represented their heritage, most people were confused by what Josh Welch wore.
He showed up in all black — black pants, black T-shirt, black stocking cap.
Welch, who is white, explained it in a tweet with a photo of himself in the all-black get-up: “Dressed like a thief for culture day bc white people steal everyone else’s culture.”
The 17-year-old from Silver Spring, Md., told Buzzfeed he was “trying to find an aspect of white culture to poke fun at for culture day. The idea just happened to dawn on me, and I knew I had to do it,” he said.
“Being a huge advocate for social justice, I was excited to come to school and participate in some grass roots activism.”
The reactions have been mixed, he told Buzzfeed. Some people have called him racist. A slew of folks on Twitter, some who have gotten quite nasty, have taken offense, thinking he was implying that white people don’t have culture of their own.
Most people laughed, appreciating his intended joke.
“It far surpassed what little impact I thought it may have,” Welch told Buzzfeed. “I love it, spreading humor and awareness at the same time.”
As of Thursday morning his tweet had been retweeted more than 25,000 times and had received more than 44,000 likes.