Halloween Costume Shopping: A sampling of the racism for sale

October 27, 2011 — 145 Comments

After my open letter yesterday, I feel like some people still aren’t getting it (maybe it was the 100+ comments telling me to eff off?). Despite my appeals to emotion and greater human decency, it seems that many people in the world of thar’ intranets need some more physical reminders as to why dressing like a Native person this Halloween might be a problem. So I, dear random-probably-racist-internet-not-friend, am happy to oblige. Because, as a person of color, that’s my job, right? To prove to you that racism exists? To teach you why these things are wrong? To offer evidence of such wrong-doings? What fun it must be to never have to worry about such things! What a privilege!

To state my case, I wandered to the Spirit Halloween website. I did a simple one word search: Indian. I got 56 results, all Native-themed. I chose a few at random to share with you below. Hooray!

To start off,  I give you the description for that “Sexy Indian” above:

Hey cowboy – get a look at this Indian! Stop him in his tracks in this sexy Indian Dream Catcher adult costume and all your dreams will come true. There’s no need for a bow and arrow – just shoot him sexy looks and he’ll make tracks in your direction – it might get so hot he’ll put out smoke signals!

Awesome. Cowboy/Indian stereotypes, mentions of dream catchers, bows and arrows, and smoke signals! But it gets better (worse?):

Put the wow back in pow-wow when you go native in this very sexy Tribal Trouble Indian adult women’s costume. They may need to break out the peace pipe because the other squaws will want to torch your teepee when their menfolk see you in this foxy costume!

“The other squaws will want to torch your teepee?” That’s….great.

But the “menfolk” are included in the fun too:

Go native American in this classic adult men’s Indian Brave costume. Your job – to hunt. Hunt for prey like food and beer or pretty women in this comfortable costume. Get what you want then lay back and enjoy – pass the peace pipe!

Glad women are equated with food and beer. Glad the costume is “comfortable” too. God forbid you be “uncomfortable” when you’re being an ignorant misogynist! And I won’t even with the peace pipe comment.

and don’t forget the teens and tweens…they want to bring boys back to their tipi’s too!

You are an Indian Princess, able to hunt, gather and lead. In this cute Indian Princess tween costume it will be a snap to gather and lead the boys back to your tipi! Dance to celebrate the harvest or welcome a full moon in this fun costume trimmed with lots of fringe, feathers and more.

I’m sure every parent wants their daughter to be gathering boys and leading them back to the tipi. but only while they’re mocking Indian spirituality by “dancing to celebrate the harvest,” of course.

and saving the worst for last:

Girl, you won’t be sitting around the campfire stringing beads in this Pocahottie Pow Wow costume! The work is done and it’s time to play cowboys and Indians, only this time the Indian picks off the cowboys that she wants. Put the wow in pow wow and practice some native American rituals in this sexy Pocahottie costume. Is that an ear of corn in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

Yeah…I can’t.

I hope these can serve as examples as to why I’m so pissed off. The dripping misogyny and stereotyping is so blatant, it almost reads like satire. But these are real products, for sale on websites and in thousands of Spirit stores nationwide. Thousands of people are seeing, reading and internalizing these messages.

These costumes are hurtful and dangerous because they present a false and stereotyped image of Native people. The public sees these images, and it erases our current existence, so the larger, contemporary issues in Indian Country then cease to exist as well. When everyone only thinks Indians are fantasy characters put in the same category as pirates, princesses, and cartoon characters, it erases our humanity. Have fun thinking through that one.

But let’s be real for a minute. Can you seriously read those descriptions and still say that this is totes ok? Really. Be honest with yourself. Read them again. Think about if these descriptions were describing you and your family. Then tell me I’m being “over-sensitive.”

Thanks for playing, and have a happy, healthy, racism-free Halloween!

Earlier:
Open Letter to the PocaHotties and Indian Warriors This Halloween
But Why Can’t I Wear a Hipster Headdress?
Nudie Neon Indians and the Sexualiztion of Indian Women
A Cowboys and Indians Party is just as bad as a Blackface Party
Paris Hilton as a Sexy Indian: The Halloween Fallout Begins (includes lots of links about the costume issue)
Mid-Week Motivation: I am not your costume

Adrienne K.

Posts

  • Tembi-bergin

    I’m so glad you are spreading the word on this. So offensive and people don’t think twice about it. I’m so glad that smart people like you take the time to spread the word about cultural appropriation. You rock! Keep your chin up!

  • nyssa23

    Thanks for keeping up with this! Hopefully someone will finally get the message!

  • Peter Bauer

    Holy. Shit. These should be like… a parody of racism… but they’re not. They’re just fucking racist.

  • Colleen Young

    Planning on sharing this with my middle school students on Monday. Thanks for your wonderful blog!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=556316662 Cathy Rowell

    Yep, too often people think of Native Americans as coffee-table book subjects, a mythological or “dead” race, and not a currently viable culture. It’s been vanquished and legendized, so it feels OK to appropriate it any way they wish. When criticized, they take it personally and yap back about not being responsible for what happened hundreds of years ago, conveniently ignoring that it’s not about what happened back then, but the equating of a modern-day people with these “values” and activites listed in the product description.

  • http://twitter.com/btweenthelinesf BetweenTheLinesSF

    The images are bad enough. But the descriptions, Adrienne, THE DESCRIPTIONS. Ditto to Pete, they read like parodies, but are just intentionally oblivious (obvious?) racism. I really hope I don’t see any of these over the weekend.

  • Helga

    Oh god, The descriptions… As if the costumes are not bad enough.

  • Ay

    i’ve now been on the Spirit store website for 10 minutes just looking at all the racist stuff they have… how is this still going on??

  • Deejayndn

    People will always have Halloween costumes in poor taste. But Aboriginal costumes are the only ones made in mass production. It’s stereotypical and hurtful. I don’t look like that and neither do my daughters but this is how they think Aboriginals are suppose to look like? This is classic blatant, socially accepted racism. This and team logos/ mascots have to go.

    • http://twitter.com/Qacar_Xan şayan qacar

      Middle Eastern ones are mass produced too. Terrorists, sheikhs, and harem girls. Same exact descriptions with different terms. Same misogyny, racism, and idiocy.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15505251 Leslie Anderson

        Don’t forget gypsy costumes: all Roma are apparently sexy fortune tellers or shiftless thieves- or both!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MCJEEXSEG4WTLJGS54ONCHGO2U River

      “Bimbo” costumes are mass produced. Don’t buy, write to toy stores; tell them, your daughter doesn’t aspire to be a pron performer she wants to be an astronaut.

  • Ian

    Most Americans don’t even know that after the war of 1812 after Britain demanded peace they want to allocate a massive Native Peoples state occupying most of the mid west. Of course the Americans refused, even though the native peoples of the region to that point were faithful allies and honorable people. American history is littered with blood and betrayal. No wonder this kind of ridiculous nonsense is viewed as humorous and trite.

    • Kat

      And on that note, Canada is just as bad with this stuff, but the truly sad thing is that a lot of Canadians don’t get it and think Americans are the racist ones. That’s really a whole other issue but it’s shameful that so many of my fellow Canadians think our history and society is so far removed from racism. Not true, not true at all. All one has to do is consider the fact that the government systematically has tried (over and over) again to destroy Aboriginal peoples’ culture by forcing them into provincial schools, taking children away from their families, and forbidding them to speak anything but english or french. This is not even touching on the other terrible things that happened in these schools – physical, sexual and psychological abuse were rampant. Yet the amount of racism I have heard directed at Aboriginal Canadians is actually INSANE. “They need to get over the past and move on” is a very common one I hear all the time. Seeing these costumes is depressing and infuriating all at once but always invigorates me to keep fighting the good fight, as Adrienne has done. Thank you to Adrienne for having the guts to criticize these things. I am still not over the replies to your original post about this…it seems like many people missed your point ENTIRELY and actually repeated the SAME shit you were pointing out as offensive and wrong (ie; get over it, you’re being overly sensitive). It was actually kind of amazing how much bigotry and ignorance were present…almost like they never actually read your post at all. Kudos to you for having courage to speak up. I’m going to tell any moron I hear spouting racism against Native Americans and Canadian Native people to your blog…also for anyone who’s interested Edward Said’s “Orientalism” explains how white people have exoticized, fetishized and tried to appropriate other cultures since early colonial times. His book is specifically about the British in Arab countries (he is Palestinian) but his theory can really be applied across this whole crazy racist spectrum of crap….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=584826426 Evey Styles

    Just think…someone not only had to think of those words, they had to type them and someone else had to approve them and likely proofread and edit them as well. And then they all got paid for it.
    Sickening.

    • KeraPingree

       I’ve thought about it that exact same day. Who the hell came up with this great idea?? And who the hell thought it would be good to advertise?

  • Ayikisis

    i wrote about this “seductive squaw” costume a couple years ago in a paper on violence against native women. im happy (?) to see that it’s been discontinued, but the “related” costumes are really no better….. http://www.yandy.com/Seductive-Squaw.php

  • Ay
  • de_Pizan

    These are so incredibly awful. That first one…how does she sit down without making the world her gynecologist?

    • http://profiles.google.com/whoreslie joe smith

      yeah man! women who dress provocatively ‘got it coming’.! She wants it! Right? A woman can dress however the hell she wants, especially on a day where people are allowed to cut loose. She doesn’t need your approval or permission. sorry to offend your prudish sensibilities.

      • truth teller

        you’re an idiot…

  • http://twitter.com/Cluisanna Cluisanna

    “The work is done and it’s time to play cowboys and Indians, only this time the Indian picks off the cowboys that she wants.”
    Yay, let’s also make fun of rape! Awesome! I can’t think of any way this could be offensive to anyone! (sarcasm, of course.)

    • http://twitter.com/sephirajo Johanna Roberts

      Those were my thoughts exactly. How could anyone think this was okay? >__>

  • Sassblaze

    Definitely racist and not even a clever attempt at a parody. People do not really think about other cultures unless its their own that is taking the brunt of a joke. For example, a living Native dressed in a Hitler outfit?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1105013116 facebook-1105013116

    I’ll be interested to see if the “random-probably-racist-internet-not-friend” commenters feel as bold on this post as on your last. What’s sad is that it takes this level of overt racism to get people to shut up/notice! Thanks for keeping the conversation going.
    Love
    Carrie

  • Oh Susannah

    I really hate feeling so angry and embarrassed by these idiots that I lose my words. But it’s happened again. Makes me want to smack a few heads together.

  • Discopitbull

    You’re not going to find any glorified black-face costumes out there. These are just as bad, yet manage to get marketed?

    • Diamond C. Moebus

      Except you will. Try “rap” “hip hop” or “afro” or “bed invader” as search terms.

  • http://www.facebook.com/erika.czerniejewski Erika Czerniejewski

    Oh, but you forgot “Chief Big Wood”

    “The smoke signals will start the moment you leave the teepee in this handsome adult men’s Chief Big Wood costume – and where there’s smoke, there’s fire! Heat things up in this sexy costume – your job is to hunt so get out there and prowl. ”

    they wont let me grab th image, but its here:
    http://www.spirithalloween.com/product/dg-chief-big-wood-lrg-36-38/

    saw it today while i was looking for a short, bad, curly blonde wig. would you believe i can’t find one of decent Harpo quality anywhere?! Maybe im doing it wrong…maybe im supposed do “sexy Harpo”

  • Tembi-bergin

    I’m so glad you are spreading the word on this. So offensive and people don’t think twice about it. I’m so glad that smart people like you take the time to spread the word about cultural appropriation. You rock! Keep your chin up!

  • http://twitter.com/nyssa23 Nyssa 23

    Thanks for keeping up with this! Hopefully someone will finally get the message!

  • Peter Bauer

    Holy. Shit. These should be like… a parody of racism… but they’re not. They’re just fucking racist.

  • Colleen Young

    Planning on sharing this with my middle school students on Monday. Thanks for your wonderful blog!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=556316662 Cathy Rowell

    Yep, too often people think of Native Americans as coffee-table book subjects, a mythological or “dead” race, and not a currently viable culture. It’s been vanquished and legendized, so it feels OK to appropriate it any way they wish. When criticized, they take it personally and yap back about not being responsible for what happened hundreds of years ago, conveniently ignoring that it’s not about what happened back then, but the equating of a modern-day people with these “values” and activites listed in the product description.

  • http://twitter.com/btweenthelinesf BetweenTheLinesSF

    The images are bad enough. But the descriptions, Adrienne, THE DESCRIPTIONS. Ditto to Pete, they read like parodies, but are just intentionally oblivious (obvious?) racism. I really hope I don’t see any of these over the weekend.

  • Helga

    Oh god, The descriptions… As if the costumes are not bad enough.

  • Ay

    i’ve now been on the Spirit store website for 10 minutes just looking at all the racist stuff they have… how is this still going on??

  • Deejayndn

    People will always have Halloween costumes in poor taste. But Aboriginal costumes are the only ones made in mass production. It’s stereotypical and hurtful. I don’t look like that and neither do my daughters but this is how they think Aboriginals are suppose to look like? This is classic blatant, socially accepted racism. This and team logos/ mascots have to go.

  • Ian

    Most Americans don’t even know that after the war of 1812 after Britain demanded peace they want to allocate a massive Native Peoples state occupying most of the mid west. Of course the Americans refused, even though the native peoples of the region to that point were faithful allies and honorable people. American history is littered with blood and betrayal. No wonder this kind of ridiculous nonsense is viewed as humorous and trite.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=584826426 Evey Styles

    Just think…someone not only had to think of those words, they had to type them and someone else had to approve them and likely proofread and edit them as well. And then they all got paid for it.
    Sickening.

  • Ayikisis

    i wrote about this “seductive squaw” costume a couple years ago in a paper on violence against native women. im happy (?) to see that it’s been discontinued, but the “related” costumes are really no better….. http://www.yandy.com/Seductive-Squaw.php

  • Ay
  • de_Pizan

    These are so incredibly awful. That first one…how does she sit down without making the world her gynecologist?

  • http://twitter.com/Cluisanna Cluisanna

    “The work is done and it’s time to play cowboys and Indians, only this time the Indian picks off the cowboys that she wants.”
    Yay, let’s also make fun of rape! Awesome! I can’t think of any way this could be offensive to anyone! (sarcasm, of course.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1105013116 facebook-1105013116

    I’ll be interested to see if the “random-probably-racist-internet-not-friend” commenters feel as bold on this post as on your last. What’s sad is that it takes this level of overt racism to get people to shut up/notice! Thanks for keeping the conversation going.
    Love
    Carrie

  • Discopitbull

    You’re not going to find any glorified black-face costumes out there. These are just as bad, yet manage to get marketed?

  • http://www.facebook.com/erika.czerniejewski Erika Czerniejewski

    Oh, but you forgot “Chief Big Wood”

    “The smoke signals will start the moment you leave the teepee in this handsome adult men’s Chief Big Wood costume – and where there’s smoke, there’s fire! Heat things up in this sexy costume – your job is to hunt so get out there and prowl. “

    they wont let me grab th image, but its here:
    http://www.spirithalloween.com/product/dg-chief-big-wood-lrg-36-38/

    saw it today while i was looking for a short, bad, curly blonde wig. would you believe i can’t find one of decent Harpo quality anywhere?! Maybe im doing it wrong…maybe im supposed do “sexy Harpo”

  • Sassblaze

    Definitely racist and not even a clever attempt at a parody. People do not really think about other cultures unless its their own that is taking the brunt of a joke. For example, a living Native dressed in a Hitler outfit?

  • Oh Susannah

    I really hate feeling so angry and embarrassed by these idiots that I lose my words. But it’s happened again. Makes me want to smack a few heads together.

  • im_a_horsegirl

    You do realize that almost ALL women’s costumes are ridiculously too revealing…. It’s not just reserved for you…

    • Amelia

      Congratulations on missing the point! Did you even READ the descriptions?

  • im_a_horsegirl

    You do realize that almost ALL women’s costumes are ridiculously too revealing…. It’s not just reserved for you…

  • Asha

    Courageous truth. Keep speaking, the ancestors are honouring and listening.

  • Asha

    Courageous truth. Keep speaking, the ancestors are honouring and listening.

  • http://twitter.com/Qacar_Xan şayan qacar

    Middle Eastern ones are mass produced too. Terrorists, sheikhs, and harem girls. Same exact descriptions with different terms. Same misogyny, racism, and idiocy.

  • Matriarch

    What’s to say? People with no taste or sensitivity will always offend others. Teach them? Not worth your trouble. They’re probably beyond that anyway. Just ignore the jerks and racists and bigots … most of them will be rolling drunk soon anyway. That always adds something attractive to any costume.

    Sorry … I’m in a bad mood tonight and it seems to me lately that 3/4 of the adults in this country (or most others) are drunks or fools or both.

  • Matriarch

    What’s to say? People with no taste or sensitivity will always offend others. Teach them? Not worth your trouble. They’re probably beyond that anyway. Just ignore the jerks and racists and bigots … most of them will be rolling drunk soon anyway. That always adds something attractive to any costume.

    Sorry … I’m in a bad mood tonight and it seems to me lately that 3/4 of the adults in this country (or most others) are drunks or fools or both.

  • Jessica

    I’m sure there’s a few idiots out there that already have their Indian Maiden or Noble Indian Warrior costumes picked out with their fake warbonnets and plastic bow and arrows. Whoever they are makes me sick..

    • Whoatheboo

      And stupid!!

  • Jessica

    I’m sure there’s a few idiots out there that already have their Indian Maiden or Noble Indian Warrior costumes picked out with their fake warbonnets and plastic bow and arrows. Whoever they are makes me sick..

  • Whoatheboo

    And stupid!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15505251 Leslie Anderson

    Don’t forget gypsy costumes.

  • Dawn

    Ugh, people just fail entirely.

    I don’t even get why people put up such a defensive fight at the mere idea of getting rid of horribly racist costumes. But then I guess they just don’t want to acknowledge their own racism.

    Not to mention the costumes are probably made in sweatshops thereby exploiting two groups of people.

    • obmon

      Something about liberty.. Not sure.. Last time anyone used that word was before the feminist led liberal-marxist brain washing of the last 80 years.

  • Dawn

    Ugh, people just fail entirely.

    I don’t even get why people put up such a defensive fight at the mere idea of getting rid of horribly racist costumes. But then I guess they just don’t want to acknowledge their own racism.

    Not to mention the costumes are probably made in sweatshops thereby exploiting two groups of people.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MCJEEXSEG4WTLJGS54ONCHGO2U River

    The women’s costumes are also absolutely pron inspired and making the women sex objects. Thank you for your post. See also http://radicalfeministcrafts.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/helpful-sensitive-liberal-bro-hints-for-this-halloween-season/

    No matter what women achieve and do, native women, white, black, Asian…there is a male element that denies their accompishements and humanit, to pornify them.

    Just stop now.

    • http://twitter.com/ymala1 Yasir Alam

      I agree with what you’re saying to an extent. But what about the women that wear these costumes, the ones that go out, purchase them, don them? Do they bear no culpability for the pornification of their own bodies? Please don’t tell me it’s patriarchal pressure or what not, free will is still alive and well. Use it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MCJEEXSEG4WTLJGS54ONCHGO2U River

    The women’s costumes are also absolutely pron inspired and making the women sex objects. Thank you for your post. See also http://radicalfeministcrafts.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/helpful-sensitive-liberal-bro-hints-for-this-halloween-season/

    No matter what women achieve and do, native women, white, black, Asian…there is a male element that denies their accompishements and humanit, to pornify them.

    Just stop now.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MCJEEXSEG4WTLJGS54ONCHGO2U River

    “Bimbo” costumes are mass produced. Don’t buy, write to toy stores; tell them, your daughter doesn’t aspire to be a pron performer she wants to be an astronaut.

  • http://www.bespectaclednerd.blogspot.com The Bespectacled Nerd

    My little sister works at a Spirit store. We’re both pretty glad that the native-themed costumes aren’t selling much this year (in our town anyway). As for the “Pocahottie” costume description, all I can say is: *head-desk* *head-desk* *head-desk*

  • http://www.bespectaclednerd.blogspot.com/ The Bespectacled Nerd

    My little sister works at a Spirit store. We’re both pretty glad that the native-themed costumes aren’t selling much this year (in our town anyway). As for the “Pocahottie” costume description, all I can say is: *head-desk* *head-desk* *head-desk*

  • http://twitter.com/sephirajo Johanna Roberts

    Those were my thoughts exactly. How could anyone think this was okay? >__>

  • Diamond C. Moebus

    Except you will. Try “rap” “hip hop” or “afro” or “bed invader” as search terms.

  • ConsciouslyFrugal

    “When everyone only thinks Indians are fantasy characters put in the same category as pirates, princesses, and cartoon characters, it erases our humanity.” Again, preach! I don’t get why folks don’t understand this. And lord, the dehumanization of romanticizing other cultures as well (if I hear one more “Native people blah blah mother earth blah blah, I’m going to join the Rainbow Tribe!” I will go on a killing spree, I swear)? I just don’t get it. It’s so obvious. I understand privilege well (I’m white) and how it can make you clueless, but just how effing dumb and clueless can you be? There has to be a limit. Yet instead of reaching that limit, people (mostly my white brethren) desperately fight for their “right” to be an absolute asshole. WTF, white America?

  • ConsciouslyFrugal

    “When everyone only thinks Indians are fantasy characters put in the same category as pirates, princesses, and cartoon characters, it erases our humanity.” Again, preach! I don’t get why folks don’t understand this. And lord, the dehumanization of romanticizing other cultures as well (if I hear one more “Native people blah blah mother earth blah blah, I’m going to join the Rainbow Tribe!” I will go on a killing spree, I swear)? I just don’t get it. It’s so obvious. I understand privilege well (I’m white) and how it can make you clueless, but just how effing dumb and clueless can you be? There has to be a limit. Yet instead of reaching that limit, people (mostly my white brethren) desperately fight for their “right” to be an absolute asshole. WTF, white America?

  • 8mph Ansible

    If the descriptions weren’t so serious in selling a hurtful, demeaning and tacky product they’d be a wonderful parody. Sadly frustrating that this is not the case and there are (mainly white) people who buy them and wear them.

    “But let’s be real for a minute. Can you seriously read those descriptions and still say that this is totes ok? Really. Be honest with yourself. Read them again. Think about if these descriptions were describing you and your family. Then tell me I’m being “over-sensitive.” ”

    Sadly frustrating that it has and will still go over the heads of some, or they’ll find objection to it–already came across them myself. I almost almost feel sorry for them not be able to wrap their heads around the fact that if it was called out as racist last year, the year before that, the year before that year and so on, and called racist this year and will still be racist the next year and the year after that and so on, then it’s probably racist period.

    Then you hear their whiny sense of entitlement and meet the ones who’ve actually bought the costumes and want to teach them first hand the historical fact that we Natives learned how to use guns ever since white folx started to stay here a bit too long. >=)

  • 8mph Ansible

    If the descriptions weren’t so serious in selling a hurtful, demeaning and tacky product they’d be a wonderful parody. Sadly frustrating that this is not the case and there are (mainly white) people who buy them and wear them.

    “But let’s be real for a minute. Can you seriously read those descriptions and still say that this is totes ok? Really. Be honest with yourself. Read them again. Think about if these descriptions were describing you and your family. Then tell me I’m being “over-sensitive.” “

    Sadly frustrating that it has and will still go over the heads of some, or they’ll find objection to it–already came across them myself. I almost almost feel sorry for them not be able to wrap their heads around the fact that if it was called out as racist last year, the year before that, the year before that year and so on, and called racist this year and will still be racist the next year and the year after that and so on, then it’s probably racist period.

    Then you hear their whiny sense of entitlement and meet the ones who’ve actually bought the costumes and want to teach them first hand the historical fact that we Natives learned how to use guns ever since white folx started to stay here a bit too long. >=)

  • ConsciouslyFrugal

    Oh lord, I just posted about this on farcebook and am already getting the “nope, everything’s fair game” comments. Wow. Even people I love are assholes.

  • ConsciouslyFrugal

    Oh lord, I just posted about this on farcebook and am already getting the “nope, everything’s fair game” comments. Wow. Even people I love are assholes.

  • CNHolmberg

    I can absolutely see the problem with the costumes posted above, it’s not something to be taken lightly to.

    I’ve seen a lot of “I am a culture, not a costume” with Halloween approaching, and I understand where all of it comes from. Granted, at the same time, I think wearing the regalia of another culture isn’t always offense.

    Say I see the traditional kimonos of Japan, which I think are beautiful. So I buy one, gorgeous. But when can I wear it? Not to work, certainly–it isn’t appropriate. But I know that on Halloween I could put it on and not be pointed at.

    In that sense, I don’t think it’s racist. If I scandalized it or mocked it like the above costumes did, then yes, I’d have a problem on my hand.

    Just a thought as I read through this. Thanks for sharing.

    • Tripp

      A $30-$50 made-in-Taiwan-for-$5-worth-of-materials produced for the intent of cashing in on people’s desire to dress up as a parody of another culture is NOT ‘regalia.’ A cheap, costume store kimono or a silk cheongsam bought at your local mall’s ‘Chinese Import’ store is not regalia either. A gaudy reproduction of a prized traditional robe is also not regalia.

      No, wearing a kimono to work would not be appropriate: even in Japan, unless you work at a highly traditional temple, tourist location, or during National Holidays for the Japanese to celebrate their identity and culture.

      Wearing a ‘kimono’ on halloween because you know you won’t get singled out for it is NOT ‘wearing the regalia of another culture.’ It’s turning a Kimono into a costume, and asserting your power and privilege with the ability to be seen as representing another culture for a night, and go back to your own life the next day.

      Appropriation is not appropriate, no matter what day of the year it is.

    • Harper

      If it’s yukata, there is space for it – at your local Japanese festival, if there is one, on Tanabata or Obon. That would be participating in the culture, not fetishizing it as a costume.

  • CNHolmberg

    I can absolutely see the problem with the costumes posted above, it’s not something to be taken lightly to.

    I’ve seen a lot of “I am a culture, not a costume” with Halloween approaching, and I understand where all of it comes from. Granted, at the same time, I think wearing the regalia of another culture isn’t always offense.

    Say I see the traditional kimonos of Japan, which I think are beautiful. So I buy one, gorgeous. But when can I wear it? Not to work, certainly–it isn’t appropriate. But I know that on Halloween I could put it on and not be pointed at.

    In that sense, I don’t think it’s racist. If I scandalized it or mocked it like the above costumes did, then yes, I’d have a problem on my hand.

    Just a thought as I read through this. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tripp

    A $30-$50 made-in-Taiwan-for-$5-worth-of-materials produced for the intent of cashing in on people’s desire to dress up as a parody of another culture is NOT ‘regalia.’ A cheap, costume store kimono or a silk cheongsam bought at your local mall’s ‘Chinese Import’ store is not regalia either. A gaudy reproduction of a prized traditional robe is also not regalia.

    No, wearing a kimono to work would not be appropriate: even in Japan, unless you work at a highly traditional temple, tourist location, or during National Holidays for the Japanese to celebrate their identity and culture.

    Wearing a ‘kimono’ on halloween because you know you won’t get singled out for it is NOT ‘wearing the regalia of another culture.’ It’s turning a Kimono into a costume, and asserting your power and privilege with the ability to be seen as representing another culture for a night, and go back to your own life the next day.

    Appropriation is not appropriate, no matter what day of the year it is.

  • Kristin Thomas

    It starts young, both the appropriation, and the skankyness. When I was looking for Hallowe’en inspiration for my little girls, I saw this in a catalogue: http://tinyurl.com/438qpbz According to the description, it is “..perfect for school plays, pageants, and Thanksgiving.” Really? Thanksgiving? Luckily, the palm of my hand hit my face just then, and I wasn’t able to read any more. Then I went and stared at this, as a palate cleanser: http://tinyurl.com/28qvkv3

    My undergrad institution ran a ‘my culture is not a costume’ type campaign when I was an undergrad, that was kind of awesome. It was posters of First Nations undergrads on campus, wearing what they wore to school every day (all standard ‘undergrad uniform’ stuff – rain boots, Northface jackets, flannel, jeans), with the tag line across the top that read, Hallowe’en: Dress like a [Nuuchahnulth / Musqueam / Heiltsuk / etc]. The photos were gorgeous, and it sparked some great campus conversation about appropriation, representation, and the hypersexualizing of women.

  • Kristin Thomas

    It starts young, both the appropriation, and the skankyness. When I was looking for Hallowe’en inspiration for my little girls, I saw this in a catalogue: http://tinyurl.com/438qpbz According to the description, it is “..perfect for school plays, pageants, and Thanksgiving.” Really? Thanksgiving? Luckily, the palm of my hand hit my face just then, and I wasn’t able to read any more. Then I went and stared at this, as a palate cleanser: http://tinyurl.com/28qvkv3

    My undergrad institution ran a ‘my culture is not a costume’ type campaign when I was an undergrad, that was kind of awesome. It was posters of First Nations undergrads on campus, wearing what they wore to school every day (all standard ‘undergrad uniform’ stuff – rain boots, Northface jackets, flannel, jeans), with the tag line across the top that read, Hallowe’en: Dress like a [Nuuchahnulth / Musqueam / Heiltsuk / etc]. It was kind of fabulous, and it sparked some great campus conversation about appropriation, representation, and the hypersexualizing of women.

  • ModernWizard

    “Is that a corncob in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?” Besides being racist, objectifying pieces of crap, so many of these costume descriptions are heteronormative, assuming that the person in the costume is a hetero guy or girl. Yuck on so many levels.

  • E. Allen

    “Is that a corncob in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?” Besides being racist, objectifying pieces of crap, so many of these costume descriptions are heteronormative, assuming that the person in the costume is a hetero guy or girl. Yuck on so many levels.

  • Meesha

    I…I can believe this is real. I can’t believe someone actually sat there and wrote those up and actually thought that was a good idea and totally not racist at all.

    • GlyphGryph

      It WAS a good idea, though! That’s the sad part – those descriptions are probably, somehow, effective at moving merchandise. From every point of view that could conceivably matter to the author, those descriptions are basically a home run.

  • Meesha

    I…I can believe this is real. I can’t believe someone actually sat there and wrote those up and actually thought that was a good idea and totally not racist at all.

  • Whoatheboo

    This is the main pet peeve for me when Oct/Fall comes around. Racist junk like this. I mainly blame the stores that came up, manufactured, and distributed this crap. Any idiot that decides to condone, buy and wear this crap, well…. thats their own fault. They wanna be stupid then thats their own choice. You can talk yourself blue in the face and some people still won’t get or see the obvious.

  • Whoatheboo

    This is the main pet peeve for me when Oct/Fall comes around. Racist junk like this. I mainly blame the stores that came up, manufactured, and distributed this crap. Any idiot that decides to condone, buy and wear this crap, well…. thats their own fault. They wanna be stupid then thats their own choice. You can talk yourself blue in the face and some people still won’t get or see the obvious.

  • jetsun howell

    I got an “official” Wilfred costume, are australian dogs going to be pissed off by my “inaccurate, specist portrayal of canine-americans”???

    • Ben

      Equating people with dogs. Nice argument.

    • 8mph Ansible

      Good boy! Way to out yourself as an ass by equating us and our inequalities with dogs. Want an asshole treat? Of course you do!

  • jetsun howell

    I got an “official” Wilfred costume, are australian dogs going to be pissed off by my “inaccurate, specist portrayal of canine-americans”???

  • Ben

    Equating people with dogs. Nice argument.

  • Anonymous

    Life is a lot less joyful when you take it so seriously. Halloween is not meant to be a historically accurate holiday. Otherwise there would be a lot more burning of human fat candles in order to ward off evil spirits and much less candy. Despite the fact that candy is delicious. True, the costumes for women that we are presented with are skanky as all hell but you can choose to take a different path with it. Don’t wear the wannabe indian costumes if you are offended by them but let other people have their fun. Don’t try and take away their right to choose by demanding that the costumes be discontinued. Doing that brings up it’s own set of issues. Who has the right to deem what we wear as acceptable or not? I certainly object to uggs but I have yet to start a protest group against them…

  • 8mph Ansible

    Good boy! Way to out yourself as an ass by equating us and our inequalities with dogs. Want an asshole treat? Of course you do!

  • Amelia

    Congratulations on missing the point! Did you even READ the descriptions?

  • alexa

    This kind of sexualizing of a culture is not just wrong, but totally gross Moreover, it’s in extremely poor taste to romanticize a time in a nations when genocide occurred [I mean, turning the story of Pocahontas and John Smith into a love story really?]

    Just one thing for you, the author to think on: Your statement, “What fun it must be to never have to worry about such things! What a privilege! ” is slightly offensive. I have to say that I am not exactly a “privileged” little white girl. It’s a shame for you to alienate people who are in your corner. Even so, I won’t let it trump the fact that this is so wrong and people need to stop resorting to the “get over it” quip.

    • alexa

      *time in a nation’s history

    • nucl3arsnke

      Hi Alexa!

      You might know this already, but you might not, so just in case:

      The “privilege” Adrienne is referring to is institutional privilege. So it has more to do with groups that have more power versus groups that get marginalized than it does individual circumstances. So, for example, there’s male privilege, white privilege, rich privilege, thin privilege, straight privilege, and many more. And most of us have some intersection of privilege and marginalization.

  • alexa

    This kind of sexualizing of a culture is not just wrong, but totally gross Moreover, it’s in extremely poor taste to romanticize a time in a nations when genocide occurred [I mean, turning the story of Pocahontas and John Smith into a love story really?]

    Just one thing for you, the author to think on: Your statement, “What fun it must be to never have to worry about such things! What a privilege! ” is slightly offensive. I have to say that I am not exactly a “privileged” little white girl. It’s a shame for you to alienate people who are in your corner. Even so, I won’t let it trump the fact that this is so wrong and people need to stop resorting to the “get over it” quip.

  • alexa

    *time in a nation’s history

  • Kdkgn

    I personally don’t think one should be offended as long as the act is for respectable reasons, merely entertainment. When in costume one gets to walk in your shoes. We express this in early childhood ex. the dress up area, where we learn to pretend. If this stands then there goes the Parades that we’ve all enjoyed. Close Disneyland and the Theatres forsake!! My children always dressed as a historical figure, athlete or character and a lesson went along with the costume. I think this approach accredits their ability to be proud of themselves and embrace cultural diversity. The language used is offensive, but to dress in the image of someone or some figure is not to be taken offensive.

    • Tripp

      None of these costumes represent a ‘historical figure.’ Every single costume is based on racial stereotypes, and is extremely offensive.

      Letting a child dress up in faux buckskin with a feathered headband for the sake of pretend is letting them dress up in a made-up image meant to represent hundreds of extremely unique cultures, and collapses them all into a single image that teaches the child that the people it’s meant to represent are imaginary or mythical creatures (akin to princesses with pointy hats, pirates, dragons, etc), and a relic of the past – not something that can exist in a modern context.

      Modern Natives are a diverse group of cultures with different traditional looks, clothing, and practices, who face both common problems in the form of institutionalized racism (google recent articles regarding Native Children in foster care) and culturally acceptable racism – see the above costumes.

      If you looked at the images above and thought they were anything other than racially offensive stereotype based costumes, you’re being ignorant.

      Btw, ‘entertainment’ at the sake of another culture’s societal standings and dignity is not a ‘respectable reason.’

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/IJQHDS4MYPWTHTGRG7FEVNLEEI SusanS

        wish i could like Tripp’s post twice. ok, i just did. <3

  • Kdkgn

    I personally don’t think one should be offended as long as the act is for respectable reasons, merely entertainment. When in costume one gets to walk in your shoes. We express this in early childhood ex. the dress up area, where we learn to pretend. If this stands then there goes the Parades that we’ve all enjoyed. Close Disneyland and the Theatres forsake!! My children always dressed as a historical figure, athlete or character and a lesson went along with the costume. I think this approach accredits their ability to be proud of themselves and embrace cultural diversity. The language used is offensive, but to dress in the image of someone or some figure is not to be taken offensive.

  • Mookmclean
  • Tripp

    None of these costumes represent a ‘historical figure.’ Every single costume is based on racial stereotypes, and is extremely offensive.

    Letting a child dress up in faux buckskin with a feathered headband for the sake of pretend is letting them dress up in a made-up image meant to represent hundreds of extremely unique cultures, and collapses them all into a single image that teaches the child that the people it’s meant to represent are imaginary or mythical creatures (akin to princesses with pointy hats, pirates, dragons, etc), and a relic of the past – not something that can exist in a modern context.

    Modern Natives are a diverse group of cultures with different traditional looks, clothing, and practices, who face both common problems in the form of institutionalized racism (google recent articles regarding Native Children in foster care) and culturally acceptable racism – see the above costumes.

    If you looked at the images above and thought they were anything other than racially offensive stereotype based costumes, you’re being ignorant.

    Btw, ‘entertainment’ at the sake of another culture’s societal standings and dignity is not a ‘respectable reason.’

  • 8mph Ansible

    Wow… way to troll, derailing and not hardly even be near the topic being discussed cuz. Gold star for you.

  • Lynn

    The “Indian Princess Tween Costume” dress is actually kind of cute if not for the feathers, fringe and inherent racism.

    HOWEVER, the high amount of racially-charged generalisation is why I don’t buy from mass-production costume retailers. I would really rather not support that shit.

    I really, really love that they do this, though. I mean, it isn’t like Native women are almost three times as likely to be sexually assaulted or anything (thank God for sexy costumes!). It isn’t like Native culture hasn’t been degraded, raped and distorted for the sake of white colonisation, entertainment and profit for hundreds of year.

    *dejected sigh*

    I think it says something that one of the most famous ‘Native’ actors of our time (and thus, history) was…a Sicilian.

    The really sad part is that there are so many amazing cultures that are being degraded and, from my experiences on the Rez, there are a lot of Natives not really helping to turn that around.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for taking the time to share this with us. Personally I’m Australian and Caucasian and am learning a lot :) For what it’s worth, I really think you’re making a difference. Personally, a friend of mine called me out on my white privilege and told me how it was oppressing her, and it changed me fundamentally (despitemy initial protests). The most important thing that those of us in any position of privilege need to remember (in my opinion at least) is that even if we don’t understand why the other party feels the way they do or why they’re troubled by something, it’s not for those of us in our privileged position to decide what matters and what doesn’t. It has nothing to do with us and try to talk someone out of their position is the most privileged thing you can do because you’re essentially deciding that you know better and have more authority than they do about their own situation!! I hope that makes some sense. Anyway, my point is simply thank you for sharing and teaching. I just hope the idiots don’t start to make you doubt how worthwhile it is. Even if they don’t have an instant lightbulb moment, you’re offering an alternative to the stereotypes they’re seeing and chipping away at that schema. :-)

  • JackiJinx

    Is it possible at all to dress as a Native American without being racist? I am sincerely curious as I’ve always had a like for these costumes, but at the same time, don’t want anyone getting seriously hurt over them.

  • Andrew Etcitty

    A big “whooooosh” is going over the heads of people who do not understand how these costumes are offensive to indigenous people. What a lot of you are failing to understanding is that there is not enough indigenous people in what’s currently called North America to confront or educate you on mass-produced stereotypes such as Halloween costumes with disgusting, misogynistic descriptions. I’m not asking that you should be taught American/Aboriginal history along with colonial history, but the story of Indigenous people is likely being told to you, the dominant society, through Halloween costumes and disproportionate caricatures. Most of you will likely go through your entire lives without ever meeting an indigenous person who will (hopefully) educate you on what it means to be an indigenous person today. This is the battle we face every damn day, to disprove the multitudes upon multitudes of stereotypes in the society you’re asking us to assimilate into. The fallacy of the “everyone’s fair game” argument is that it’s fair game if you’re part of a colonial system that’s used to subjugate and assimilate the colonized by belittling or removing what makes them human.

  • Maggy

    There seems to be an abundance of racist and sexist crap floating around as costume choices this year. It seems worse to me than previous years, but it might be due to the proliferation of examples mentioned in blogs and on Facebook that I have noticed. Sadly, I am not surprised by this stuff. My alma mater changed the mascot from the Redskin to the Redhawk in 1993 when I was in grad school. To this day, there are alums who desperately cling to the previous mascot and refuse to acknowledge that it is a hurtful stereotype.

  • http://maddieruud.hubpages.com Maddie Ruud

    One of my Facebook friends (a girl I haven’t seen in person for 10 years), posted a photo of herself in a big, ugly, fake headdress this weekend. I posted a link to this blog on the photo. She must have been partying too hard, since it took her almost 24 hours to unfriend me. The photo’s still her profile pic, so good riddance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ox-Auchs-Awks/1362296135 Ox Auchs Awks

    Re “Hunt for prey like food and beer or pretty women” Beer? So lack of sensitivity for the cultural ravages of poorly addressed genetic dispositions toward alcoholism too? Will read further when less angry. Excellent compositions, I am enjoying your writings immensely.

  • http://fattybamboo.tumblr.com Fatty b.

    i wish this girl: http://raybabyray.tumblr.com/post/12130756313 who dressed up as a “Navahoe” (head, meet desk!) & claims that it’s okay because she is “part Native” read this post and others like it

  • Ruth Poulsen

    Thanks for your thoughtful critique! Sometimes it’s hard to put into words why these are so offensive, but I love your point of, “imagine if this was describing you and your family”….great way to get the point across. Keep up the great writing.

  • NotGettingIt

    Isn’t dressing like a stereotypical native american equivalent to dressing like a stereotypical cowboy? or stereotypical knight?

    I mean, youll see similarly ridiculous descriptions under viking, knight, or cowboy outfits, and those are racially specific costumes.

    Is the issue the costume or the misconceptions? are people confusing these costumes meant to represent native americans from the 1700′s with modern natives? is that the issue?

    just trying to pinpoint the problem…

    • 8mph Ansible

      My suggestion. Re-read, read and re-read this entry, the previous entry and the following entry of this. It has been explained over and over and over again well enough.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IBKJK2OF7D7X7AK25YAWOR67VA Marissa

      Because when dressing as a Knight or Viking or Cowboy your aren’t dressing as a specific ethnicity. But when you dress up, or ‘play Indian’ you are pretending to be a stereotypical American Native as projected by the media and such. You are pretending to be a race of people, that isn’t even what they are.

      When you dress as a “NavaHoe” or “Pocahottie” you are encouraging the dehumanization of American natives, and the idea that they are people from mythology and lore. Not everyone understands this, and it makes me sad, because what they don’t understand they chalk up to people getting worked up over nothing and taking Political Correctness too far.

  • Rachel

    Adrienne,

    A friend posted your letter on Facebook. I have to admit, at first I thought, “she really is being hypersensitive.” I’m probably what you would consider a privileged white girl–although I don’t feel all that privileged. I grew up in the Northwest and had a friend that lived on the Coeur d’Alene reservation. I used to visit her in the summers for a few weeks at a time and am well aware of the poverty and social troubles. I don’t really have much of a “cultural” identity–I’m a mutt of a variety of Euopean ancestors. But, in an effort to understand your point, I tried to think of an identity that I do feel passionately about–my religion. I’m a Christian and my relationship with Jesus is a huge part of my life. I know that I have been deeply offended by people who have dressed as Jesus for Halloween, running around “forgiving sins.” The costume is one thing, but the mocking behavior is what really sets me off. But, aside from that particular costume, none of the other “religious” costumes offend me. Of course, I don’t like the “naughty nun” costumes and the people dressing as ministers are always a bit tasteless, and of course there’s always the sexy angels–but they don’t affect me emotionally–they’re just tacky. But, a lot of it is how the person behaves while wearing the costume–is it just a costume? or are they making light of serious aspects of the culture? I guess I can understand how a sexed up Indian costume would be offensive, especially if the person was acting in a way that mocked Native American culture. So, this is a long way of asking–is it the way that a person represents a culture in costume that you find offensive? Or are all Native American costumes offensive?

  • http://twitter.com/MetacomCreative Ryan Cowles

    Every Halloween I have to cringe as I see these oh so delightfully racist costumes. If people don’t see anything wrong with these, then they probably don’t see anything wrong with Black Face costumes either, right? Pocahottie… Really?? Eugh.

  • http://profiles.google.com/whoreslie joe smith

    Halloween: the one time of year when lefties get away with calling a woman a slut for dressing provocatively.

  • http://twitter.com/girlplusworld Kateri Town

    Thanks for this post, Halloween is quickly becoming one of my least favorite times of the year. At least I’m not alone in feeling this way.

  • Harry

    It would help your case greatly if you didn’t assume the reader was a racist to begin with. Many people probably agree with a lot of what you have to say, but you are alienating them by writing in a condescending way.

    Every one of the people I’ve ever known to dress like a native american for halloween has fully understood the idea of what a caricature is and mean no harm by it. Contrary to what you may believe, people do understand the difference.

    What you need to focus on to convince anybody here, are the reasons why you believe a caricature of any culture is wrong.

    • 8mph Ansible

      The “catching more flies with honey than vinegar” nonsense is bunk. Ignorance and intent of the wearer is not an excuse.

      My suggestion. Re-read, read and re-read this entry, the previous entry and the following entry of this. It has been explained over and over and over again well enough.

  • LJV

    Reading the descriptions from this company has made me feel sick. I don’t even… How can anyone consider that acceptable?!

    I am a white woman. I am also an invisible minority, as well as a critical thinker. I lurk on your blog sometimes to stay aware of current issues of appropriation (especially acts of appropriation and other horrible acts committed by businesses, politicians, celebs, etc). I don’t usually comment, because most of the time it doesn’t feel necessary, or like I’d be adding to the conversation, or like it’s my place.

    I had to comment about this blog, though, because I was SO frustrated this Halloween.

    I have long been aware off/irritated by the horrible “Pocahottie” costumes that are so popular, living in a two university-one college town ensures that I see dozens of them every year. It was a bone of contention for me this year, especially, when I heard a couple of costumed girls on the bus tossing around many of the words and phrases I just read in the descriptions above. Imagine my horror when I posted on FB about idiot 17-year-old Pocahotties, only to find out that my cousin was one. Urgh.

    The descriptions written by this company are the most terrible, gut twisting, mindboggling things I’ve read in a while. I just died a little inside.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Luis-Alvarez/1446974631 Luis Alvarez

    one thing at a time i don’t think this is but one of many issues sports team names are at the top of the list i say

  • Kat Lewandowski

    I’m glad you spoke up about this. Although I have light skin and am “privileged”, I also had the greater privilege of having a mother who taught me that race is a social construct and that the winners write history so questions everything. I live in Nebraska and many here are celebrating the life of Russel Means of the Oglala Sioux who passed on yesterday. With Holloween coming up I went to a costume store simply to get accessories since I make my own customes, I was extremely irritated by these customes as well, not only the natives but the arab themed and even the geisha one was offensive. In fact, it pissed me off more than the fact that all the female “adult” costumes were way too sexualily themed in my opinion. Blessings and thank you again, our day will come.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15721697 Kristie Pfaff

    Thank you!!

  • Rachel Bauer

    What about the 3 stooges? That is so racist and discrimintaion agianst caucasion culture. Really, I’m full Dine Native American, born and raised on the Crow reservation, adopted grand child of the keeper of the buffalo skull. I love my culutre and respect it but seriously get a grip people! They’re just costumes! I’m just so tired of the racism shit that goes around and guess what, we just keep it alive! Just let it go! As my Great Grandmother Flying Bird said, “If you keep picking at a wound It will never heal. Somtimes you just need to move on and leave it alone.” She never leanred English and she herded goats in the middle of the desert untill she was almost 100! She never complained once about racism! She didn’t pick at wounds that should’ve already healed!

    • Sage M Petahtegoose

      the 3 stooges were created by white people… these hurtful images were created by white people too, and are perpetuated again and again, so its not going to heal as long as we allow it.

      its not a cut that can heal, its more like a fungal growth that annoys you and will not go away until you treat it effectively.

  • Cassandra Wood

    Sex sells… and Every one of us today have been raised to a culture of sex in sales…. problem is, people wont stop buying, not unless they stop selling, and they wont stop selling unless people stop buying.. I’ve never felt it was appropriate to dress in said costumes, I have family that is native, I’m no pure blood, a minor 1/8th… and as white as my daddy, but that doesn’t mean I see this as appropriate… so please don’t lump all us “whites” together cause that is JUST as bad. Don’t blame the white man for every misfortune, because he is not the cause of all of them… Tis a shame that racism still exists…. and sexism too…. the question isn’t why can’t we all get a long, but when can we see past the color of the skin..

    Remember… change happens with forgiveness and understanding, and it has to go both ways,

  • AlyssaMQ

    I just read these. Though I am not Native myself, I stand up for them because I know what they’ve been subjected to. And as far as this goes, it’s wrong. Just plain wrong. And back when fashion turned “tribal” ….ugh. Don’t get me started on that one. It’s all just very subjective and discriminating and unjust. I am not white, but when people ask me if I’m native I don’t lie, I say “No. I am not. But I do whatever I can to help them as a people.” This post has touched me in ways I can’t express. We must stand up to this to stop the discrimination.

  • http://www.facebook.com/itsoscaryo Oscar David Vargas

    “Is that an ear of corn in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?” LMFAO OMG.

  • http://www.amountainmomma.com/ Theresa

    So horrid. Why are people still making this crap? SO glad you wrote this.

  • Sabrina Starr

    I honestly find the descriptions appalling, especially the ones for teens, but I do think that Halloween is supposed to be a fun day, regardless of how business marketing tries to sexualize it. I support the Indian Movement, but I also think that if we have to make rules about Halloween, and how we can dress, then there is so much to take into consideration. A few things might be that we can’t dress as ghost because it is similar to the KKK uniforms, or that we can’t dress as witches because some people who are of the Wiccan religion might take offense to it. Maybe we could not dress as pimps because it is a sexual reference, or some people might find it offensive because prostitution is illegal. I’m trying to make a point that we can’t please everyone, and even if something we do hurts someone, people are still going to do it. Halloween is supposed to be the one day you can dress as something, or someone else, and get away with it because it’s all in fun.

  • Morning Star Cleveland

    Dear Adrienne K.

    I never liked the costumes, never liked the fake indian costumes, when I went through the shops in Germany (I am half indian). The weird thing is: I understand both sides because I am red-white :) whenever I say : Yeah, I am half indian. They react like: Wow! A real native? That’s so cool. And I feel like: Wow as if it would be soo cool to be white or whatever.
    They don’t know the history, they don’t know the background. And that is the sad thing. Because they don’t know, they only have the information from the media, the fake picture (as you can see above). And the economy wants to make profit. Always showing pictures, making us believe “You need that!” “That is a thing that will make you happy”. But maybe, kids in a society like this loose their true inner values. What is it that will make you happy?
    Not materialistic things, maybe just fresh air and a blue sky above. Maybe kindness, maybe love or being honest to each other as to yourself, accepting, being respectful, thankful of what we have, what is given to us. I think it’s time that people need to know the true values. Unfortunately an image like this will show a wrong picture of the Natives. Maybe they should learn the history, as every action in life has its consequence. But as you can see- mother earth won’t stand back: Every good action will come back as well as every bad action. So be careful what you send, it might come back to you.
    As I wish for all people, the skin color doesn’t matter, to come together in peace with dignity and truth, because we’re all children of the earth, of the stars, of the Great Spirit.

    May be love and light within your hearts
    Morning Star

  • adhipoe

    This statement is so poignant it should be an anti-racism slogan: “When everyone only thinks Indians are fantasy characters put in the same category as pirates, princesses, and cartoon characters, it erases our humanity.”