“The only reason white people think being called a ‘white person’ is racist, or harmful or wrong is because they are used to the privilege of just being seen as a ‘person’ without their race or color being an issue for them. You see, when you call them ‘white,’ suddenly, they are not just a person, but now they have a color. Suddenly, they are no better than a PoC. And that scares the shit out of them.”—
I recently saw on my dash a non-Native person insisting that Native people educate them on a certain subject, because they can’t make any sense of said issue, because this person has talked to Native people with opposing opinions.
News flash white people, we are a diverse body of people who have…
So here’s the thing : last weekend I had a birthday party and my friend said : “dress up like indians of America”.
So first, I apologize if some Native americans have felt offended by my disguise.
Where I live, in France, we also have a very strong regional identity, and at parties, people dress like our ancestors, but with objects really ridiculous, like paper toilet, and nobody get offended ! So I think there is some cultural differences between countries, and about how people react to that kind of things.
So yeah, I’m really not that racist bitch, in fact I’m really curious and open to discussion.
I’m not pretending to dress up like a real native american, it was inspired by what I knew about the image of native american in the popular culture (which is probably considered as racist from what I read) But yes, I was surprised because it’s really not considered as racist here.
“I’m not pretending to dress up like a real native american, it was inspired by what I knew about the image of native american in the popular culture.”
That stereotype has been used to degrade, demonize and murder our people for the past 500 years. The images of indigenous peoples in popular culture are the most inaccurate images you will find of us.
So if you are as curious and open to discussion as you say, please understand this: dressing up as a culture is not acceptable. We are not costumes. Maybe in France this is different, because as a white majority your people have never been stepped on, pushed aside, or murdered simply for being who you are. But when you dress up as people who were indeed conquered and murdered, you’re putting forth the image that it’s still ok to do these things (not murder, per say, but to discriminate).
See, here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter if it’s not seen as racist in your country, because your country is made up of mostly white people and almost none of the people you’re shitting on with your costume. We’re telling you that it offends us, and if you really cared about not being racist, that’d be all it takes for you to stop.
But no, apparently you care more about your right to wear a costume than you do about a marginalized group of people telling you that said costume perpetuates dangerous racist stereotypes- and that makes you racist, whether you say you are or not.
Hey there, tricky question. I'm whiter-than-white and my friend is Jewish-Unknown (not knowing her father). She recently started wearing a war bonnet at parties that looks like the nightly sweepings from AC Moore. We've had discussions of what's offensive before and I'm still coaching her off "retarded" but how do I bring up a piece of cultural appropriation that's not mine to begin with and she (arguably) might even have some right to wear due to her unknown ancestry?
There’s a few things that need to be understood here. First of all, it is not native American ancestry that permits someone to wear a war bonnet. In the past, bonnets were donned by only the bravest of men in specific plains tribes. Each individual feather was earned by partaking in one act of courage or sacrifice in battle. Today, bonnets are given by tribal leaders as a thank you for work with a specific tribe, or the American indigenous community as a whole. (Non-native) politicians and heads of state are common recipients of war bonnets- Barack Obama and Stephen Harper (no joke!) have both been awarded one.
Secondly and similarly, having native ancestry is not an excuse for an appropriation free-for-all. Many, many people in North and South American have distant indigenous ancestors, but how many of them are actually involved with their community? How many of them know the meaning behind the things they appropriate, or if the items in question are even a part of their tribe? I can’t tell you how often you see people posting pictures of their super kewl headdress, and then saying something like, “No, it’s okay, my great-great-grandmother was a member of (tribe that never wore war bonnets ever).” Hell, some of them don’t even know what tribe their ancestors were (allegedly) from!
So, no, it’s totally 100% not okay for someone to justify wearing a war bonnet because maybe, somewhere down the line, they night have have a native relative. No bueno.
As for how to bring it up to them- it depends on what makes you uncomfortable about addressing the issue. If it’s because you’re both white and you feel it’s not your place to discuss racial issues that ultimately do not concern you, you really shouldn’t be worried. White people calling other white people out on their racism when no one of the marginalized group is talking is fine, interjecting a conversation between POCs to disagree with a matter of racism or derail with a story about some sort of oppression you face is not.
If the issue is that you’re afraid she won’t listen to you because you’re white, there’s a simple solution to that! Here is a wonderful article about why war bonnets are not fashion pieces, written by a Cherokee blogger. It’s typically my go-to piece. Here is a more in-depth, slightly more angry piece written by the wonderful apihtawikosisan. If you’re worried about how to bring the issue up, you can always phrase it like, “Yo, I was reading this article and I don’t think native Americans are cool with what you’re doing. *link*”
I'm Iroquois and know quite a few others who refer to themselves as Iroquois until asked what nation, but still like uh what she's doing is not ok. Your genetics do not excuse you from being racist and perpetuating shit.
Alright then, my bad. I’m not Iroquois (as you may have guessed, hehe), but I’ve honestly never heard anyone refer to themselves as Iroquois as opposed to Seneca or Mohawk or any other nation that I can’t remember off the top of my head oops.
I wouldn’t say the picture is racist, but it’s certainly perpetuating racist stereotypes that need to be obliterated. As someone who is also half native, I think passing privilege plays a huge role in this sorta thing. White looking person + war bonnet obviously not worn for ceremonial or culturally significant reasons = no bueno.