Open Letter to the PocaHotties and Indian Warriors this Halloween

October 26, 2011 — 592 Comments

Dear Person that decided to dress up as an Indian for Halloween,

I was going to write you an eloquent and well-reasoned post today about all the reasons why it’s not ok to dress up as a Native person for Halloween–talk about the history of “playing Indian” in our country, point to the dangers of stereotyping and placing of Native peoples as mythical, historical creatures, give you some articles to read, hope that I could change your mind by dazzling you with my wit and reason–but I can’t. I can’t, because I know you won’t listen, and I’m getting so tired of trying to get through to you.

I just read the comments on this post at Bitch Magazine, a conversation replicated all over the internet when people of color are trying to make a plea to not dress up as racist characters on Halloween. I felt my chest tighten and tears well up in my eyes, because even with Kjerstin’s well researched and well cited post, people like you are so caught up in their own privilege, they can’t see how much this affects and hurts their classmates, neighbors and friends.

I already know how our conversation would go. I’ll ask you to please not dress up as a bastardized version of my culture for Halloween, and you’ll reply that it’s “just for fun” and I should “get over it.” You’ll tell me that you “weren’t doing it to be offensive” and that “everyone knows real Native Americans don’t dress like this.” You’ll say that you have a “right” to dress up as “whatever you damn well please.” You’ll remind me about how you’re “Irish” and the “Irish we’re oppressed too.” Or you’ll say you’re “German”, and you “don’t get offended by people in Lederhosen.”

But you don’t understand what it feels like to be me. I am a Native person. You are (most likely) a white person. You walk through life everyday never having the fear of someone mis-representing your people and your culture. You don’t have to worry about the vast majority of your people living in poverty, struggling with alcoholism, domestic violence, hunger, and unemployment caused by 500+ years of colonialism and federal policies aimed at erasing your existence. You don’t walk through life everyday feeling invisible, because the only images the public sees of you are fictionalized stereotypes that don’t represent who you are at all. You don’t know what it’s like to care about something so deeply and know at your core that it’s so wrong, and have others in positions of power dismiss you like you’re some sort of over-sensitive freak.

You are in a position of power. You might not know it, but you are. Simply because of the color of your skin, you have been afforded opportunities and privilege, because our country was built on a foundation of white supremacy. That’s probably a concept that’s too much for you to handle right now, when all you wanted to do was dress up as a PocaHottie for Halloween, but it’s true.

I am not in a position of power. Native people are not in positions of power. By dressing up as a fake Indian, you are asserting your power over us, and continuing to oppress us. That should worry you.

But don’t tell me that you’re oppressed too, or don’t you dare come back and tell me your “great grandmother was a Cherokee Princess” and that somehow makes it ok. Do you live in a system that is actively taking your children away without just cause? Do you have to look at the TV on weekends and see sports teams with mascots named after racial slurs of your people? I doubt it. 

Last night I sat with a group of Native undergraduates to discuss their thoughts and ideas about the costume issue, and hearing the comments they face on a daily basis broke my heart. They take the time each year to send out an email called “We are not a costume” to the undergraduate student body–an email that has become known as the “whiny newsletter” to their entitled classmates. They take the time to educate and put themselves out there, only to be shot down by those that refuse to think critically about their choices.Your choices are adversely affecting their college experiences, and that’s hard for me to take without a fight.

The most frustrating part to me is, there are so many other things you can dress up as for Halloween. You can be a freaking sexy scrabble board for goodness sake. But why does your fun have to come at the expense of my well-being? Is your night of drunken revelry really worth subjugating an entire group of people? I just can’t understand, how after hearing, first-hand, that your choice is hurtful to another human being, you’re able to continue to celebrate with your braids and plastic tomahawk.

So I know you probably didn’t even read this letter, I know you’ve probably already bought and paid for your Indian costume, and that this weekend you’ll be sucking down jungle juice from a red solo cup as your feathers wilt and warpaint runs. I know you’re going to scoff at my over-sensitivity. But I’m telling you, from the bottom of my heart, that you’re hurting me. And I would hope that would be enough.

Wado,

Adrienne K.

PS- I wonder if you saw these posters? Because I think they illustrate my point really well.

UPDATE 10/27: Have a look at some of the costumes I’m talking about. I think it makes my arguments a lot clearer.

FOLLOW UP 11/3: A de-brief about my series of Halloween posts, with some clarifications and follow up.

Earlier:
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

Readers, if you want to send over an “I am not a costume” picture, I’ll put together a big post–power in numbers!

Adrienne K.

Posts

  • Samantha Nock

    Thank you 100 times over for this post.

  • Samantha Nock

    Thank you 100 times over for this post.

  • Mark Koenig

    Thank you for sharing this post. May people hear and act accordingly

  • Mark Koenig

    Thank you for sharing this post. May people hear and act accordingly

  • Futureofchange

    Halloween: This video also….Notice when the Traditional Women dancers come in the women are covered…Just sayin… When general public see’s this…Is it any wonder people think its OK to still like this??

  • Anna Orzech

    Great post, Adrienne! Congratulations!!!!

  • Ally

    Reposting everywhere I can think of. Excellent post.

  • Milesmanners

    I think that you have correctly identified the key problems affecting the Indian community:

    “the vast majority [of] people living in poverty, struggling with alcoholism, domestic violence, hunger, and unemployment”

    I think spending too much time looking for ways to be offended by the behavior of non-Indians diverts energy away from fixing these problems.

    • Brita

      Trivializing micro-aggressions reinforces the racism. Spending any time discussing racism, marginalization, and oppression is valuable.

      • Milesmanners

        No, obsessing about racism all of the time has made taking umbrage part of the Indian identity.

        “There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs – partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”

        - Booker T. Washington

        • Brita

          You know, it’s just strange to me that “being offended” is the problem here.

          Because I would think that “surviving as an individual and surviving as a member of a culture when the government was actively pursuing genocide within living memory” would be pretty heroic, and “dismissing another person’s really reasonable request to not be mocked, while trying to change to topic to more ‘legitimate’ concerns about death and disease” is a pretty cruel action.

          Also, who defines an indigenous group’s identity? Members of the group. Not weirdly used Booker T. quotes.

          • Milesmanners

            You could argue that Indians haven’t actually survived European conquest, given the state of their communities. Whether they recover or not is yet to be seen.

            It wasn’t a “weirdly used” quote. I’m sure you’re familiar with the likes of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and their numerous corrupt counterparts on reservations everywhere who shake down the government while neglecting their communities.

            A group’s identity is defined by their common experience. Many Indians share a bond of feeling perpetually oppressed by white people. If this perceived oppression were to end, so would the sense of community it generates.

            • nucl3arsnke

              Wow, really? If you stop being oppressed, you’ll stop having a community/culture? Really?

              So how did they have a community before the White Man showed up?

              HINT: The real answer is the being oppressed does often create a sense of solidarity among the oppressed, but there’s plenty of oppression in the world to go around- no one has to make it up. People who say that various minorities are “playing victim” usually just lack the insight to (or the willingness) to SEE that oppression. And then, because of their privilege, they assume that because they can’t see it, it must not be real.

              • Milesmanners

                I said the part of Indian culture that is derived from feeling perpetually oppressed, not Indian culture in it’s entirety. Read before you rant.

                “being oppressed does often create a sense of solidarity among the oppressed…”

                I know, that’s what I said.

            • 8mph Ansible

              Hey dumbass, many of us Natives don’t have a “feeling” of being oppressed when we actually ARE being oppressed.

              There is no sort of “perceived” mass hallucination when its often there in front of us. The Halloween costume mockery we have to put up with every year is also part of the problems we deal with along with poverty, struggling with alcoholism, domestic violence, hunger, and unemployment. Even the little things add up on the scale.

              And perhaps you’re aware of the non-natives who also shake down our communities with and without government string pulling? And I’m not just talking about past history.

              • Milesmanners

                Listen, dumbass. When you tell me that I can’t dress up as a famous historical character just because of the colour my skin, I feel hurt and offended. Do you want to know why? Because it’s racist!

                Now that you know that I feel offended and oppressed by your racist demands, I demand that you cease and desist. If you refuse, you will be causing me great emotional distress which will exacerbate ALL of the other problems in my life.

                Once you have stopped oppressing me in this manner, the crime rate in my community will drop as a result. In the meantime, I will be busy taking liberal arts courses, watching TV, and inventing new and creative ways to browbeat Indians.

                • nucl3arsnke

                  Because it’s racist

                  No, it’s not. Racism = prejudice + (power and/or privilege)

                  That’s like, social justice 101.

                  Clearly you haven’t been taking as many liberal arts courses as you think.

                  • Milesmanners

                    Oh yes, and since white people have all the power and privilege, they are the only ones that can be racist.

                    It’s one of the special extra abilities we have that makes us The Supreme Race.

                    • nucl3arsnke

                      since white people have all the power and privilege, they are the only ones that can be racist.

                      Again, no one is saying this.

                      However, it is very unlikely that an Indian person could wield racism (as an institutional tool- we’re not just talking about personal prejudices here) against a white person.

                      At this point, I’d like to point out that your repeated misinterpretations and leaping to conclusions are and accusations of “playing victim” and playing at being a victim of racism yourself are all CLASSIC trolling techniques, and fit neatly into “anti-(social-justice-movement-of-your-choice) bingo squares”

                      What I’m saying is that the people responding to you and telling you you’re wrong have heard your arguments many, many times before from others like yourself. We have considered them and refuted them to our satisfaction, as well as to the satisfaction of our intellectual peers. If you are being outright dismissed,it’s because eventually,it becomes not worth our time to deal with you on an intellectual level, because let’s face it, you haven’t invested the time, energy, and open mind required to really understand what you’re talking about.

                    • Milesmanners

                      Get
                      Over
                      It

                    • nucl3arsnke

                      An inspired rebuttal, sir; truly, that puts the issue to bed. That is to say, I’m done here, too.

                  • Milesmanners

                    No, that’s not it. The vast majority of whites who live amongst indians are not “racist” and are generally sympathetic to their plight. It’s just that we’re sick of the complaints.

                    Put it this way: when did indians start having their feelings hurt by costumes?

                • 8mph Ansible

                  Thanks for not understanding or paying attention to a damn thing in the slightest.

                  • Milesmanners

                    Okay, back to the original topic. If white nerds stop having cowboys and indians parties at college, the amount of indians raped each year will decrease by half. Makes sense to me.

              • Milesmanners

                “The Halloween costume mockery we have to put up with every year…”

                Gosh it must be awful. Grow up you baby,

                • nucl3arsnke

                  Wow, real mature, yourself, there, Milesmanners.

                  Did it ever occur to you that most people understand THEIR OWN experiences better than you?!

                  • Milesmanners

                    Okay. I will help you understand my own experiences with Indians:

                    1) Assault

                    2) Theft

                    3) Public Intoxication

                    I wish Indians would stop engaging in antisocial behaviour, but… oh yeah, Halloween costumes undermine their self-esteem and cause them to act like this. So it’s white people’s fault.

                    • nucl3arsnke

                      Halloween costumes undermine their self-esteem and cause them to act like this. So it’s white people’s fault.

                      No one is saying this.

                      The whole point of this post was that dressing up as Indians perpetuates stereotypes that are both harmful and hurtful.

                      Perhaps you should also “read before you rant?”

  • Mpensmoke

    Unfortunately this will fall on deaf ears. Look at the typical comments on the website with the posters on it. They dont care and they make up tired lame excuses every time.

  • Zoe

    This is an absolutely fantastic post. I have been having a conflict with my father over these issues and he just doesn’t get it. I wish I could make him understand that dressing up as a race is just not okay. I don’t know why people find it so hard to just not dress up as a race. Like you said there are a million other things to be. It is not that hard to just put down that fake war bonnet and go dress up a pirate or fairy or Chewbacca.

  • LeRequin

    So, because in America whites are a majority, they have to pay unreciprocated respect to minority cultures that believe every pinpoint in their cultural makeup is exclusive to them? Being French and living in America, it’s really disrespecting to me to have my country constantly being portrayed as being wimps and always surrendering at the first sign of trouble. Without my country’s help, America would not be a country! But I take it in stride because I know, it’s a point of humour and no one thinks any less of me as a person because my family comes from France.

    But to think that “sexualising” your culture’s image leads to the problems and hardships those aligning with it face (as is said/suggested in many other articles here) is ludicrous. It’s because you consider yourself so exclusive and so wronged that you are wronged. Look at your culture’s influence on Americans and other people too as a blessing: your ancestors brought around significant change to the spiritualities and fashion of people even today. When you are mad that “white” people wear such-and-such a thing, you are being just as racist as anyone else. Most whites in America have Native American ancestors. You cannot claim to know the reasons that anyone wears a certain jewelry, or a headdress. At which point does a feathered hair decoration become a “headdress”? When does jewelry made with turquoise become something off-limits? You can’t claim every material and idea just because someone within your history used it or had it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am very against the idea of being racist, but people will be people. Are you against people dressing up as witches for Halloween? That probably offends some Wiccans and/or Pagans. Can we dress up as anything for Halloween without offending someone? Let’s just cancel the holiday.

    Face it. The point of Halloween is to dress up as something you’re not, and it’s just play. I know that it offends you. Everyone gets offended at some point. Either give people a reason not to offend you, or live with it. Don’t sit on your ass and complain that no one gives you a chance, that people offend you. And certainly don’t claim that your culture is or was any more oppressed than many other cultures before and after it.

    Everyone’s culture is stereotyped beyond reason. If Americans can’t wear headdresses, then how dare you eat apple pie? I demand that you never wear stars or stripes again, in any color or combination, because that is definitive of MY COUNTRY. Seriously, this is how retarded you sound.

    • Dawn Betts-Green

      First, I happen to be Pagan, and I don’t care for the green faced evil witch portrayal. But that has little to do with this post. It is so ridiculous that this even has to be discussed. Most intelligent people will agree that black face is incredibly stupid and offensive. If someone painted themselves yellow and “played Chinese,” guess what? There would be an outcry. However, Native Americans are one of the last groups that it seems to be okay to be racist about. Look at the mascots for crying out loud! People think it’s “cute” to be Pocahontas or whatever with their fake feathers and face paint, but it’s just black face in another shade.

      On the topic of sexualizing as a cause of sexual violence: read a study sometime! The popular over-sexualization of specific groups leads to a mentality that deems it okay to treat that group as inferior and “fair game.” Women’s Studies departments have been talking about this for ages; where have you been?

      • LeRequin

        I’ve been having a life, doing things worth doing and not crying about it every time some hipster wears a beret. I’ve been cooking and going to school.

        And I really doubt there would be a giant outcry about people “playing” whatever for Halloween. Because it’s play. Don’t Native Americans have play in their culture? And just because you are offended does not make you right. It makes you mad, and then you feel entitled.

        Leave your reservation if you want some respect. Jesus. Native Americans oppress themselves by excluding themselves from modern society. People everywhere have all sorts of violence pushed against them, for various reasons. I am positive that Native Americans are not the only ones being abused for their culture or any other defining demographic. Don’t blame the people who “sexualised” your culture by dressing it up for a dress-up party, blame the people who actually were violent towards you. Because no matter how many costumes I wear, I’ve never hurt anyone based on their ethnicity. Can’t pin this to me, homes.

        • http://www.thetravelingpeach.wordpress.com/ Peach

          “leave your reservation if you want some respect” Are you kidding me, homes?

        • Miss Andrist

          Wow. When it comes to being shameless announcements of entitlement to privilege, you just literally lowered the bar.

        • Saltmeat

          Man you really are an idiot. Who says Indians live on reservations? Plus equating a beret, a freaking piece of clothing with no significance other than superficial fashion to a headress is asinine and shows your lack of education and/or intelligence.

          I don’t “oppress” myself from modern society. Get a clue man. Have you ever even met a Native? Homes? haha.

          Your entitled demeanor and self induced ignorance is really sad.

          Learn about the country you live in and have respect LeRequin. Travel a bit, learn about other cultures and then maybe you will grow up a bit and learn to respect things that don’t have to do with clothes.

          • r. bruneau

            Thank you. I am from the Shuswap nation on my mother’s side and French on my dad’s side of the family. I am really disgusted at what “LeRequin” has to say. Being from blended cultures I have had a wonderful opportunity to have first hand knowledge of both of my cultures. I have a great respect for all people and love learning about other people and places. I am sad that others can not be interested in exploring how others feel or think. To understand someone, all you need to do is listen with an open mind and a compassionate heart. I believe that perhaps LeRequin needs further education, or some open minded companions to help him in his life’s journey.

        • Brita

          Some native people live on reservations. Some non-native people live on reservations. And… and… brace yourself… some native and non-native folks live off reservations!

          You could consider respecting everyone. Probably wouldn’t hurt you any. And it wouldn’t hurt to listen to what Adrienne’s asking for here, which is to not wear a costume she finds disrespectful.

          What do you have to lose by treating her with respect?

          • renrose

            lerequin, you may be french, but you are still white and that is what people see. and you are showing an embarrassing amount of white privilege and ignorance.

            • renrose

              (sorry, brita, i posted in the wrong spot)

            • Logan_krog11

              Ya all white people are the same right?
              Racist!

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kaliane-Moloch/100000708838432 Kaliane Moloch

          Natives oppress themselves? Wow you are full of crap.

        • Yani Dee

          Do you even know what you are saying? You have to be the stupidest idiot alive. Get a brain!

        • Blank Name

          you are awesome! no, really. 100 points for being you. know what those 100 points get you?!

          you can trade them in for a discount on your ticket to hell.

        • Metis Modernist

          A sober, thoughtful, open-minded and generous person would read this article and at least think about it. They wouldn’t need to agree with everything the author is saying, necessarily, but they would at least consider it. An angry, close-minded, bigoted, reactionary kind of person, someone who is frustrated with their life and who blames others for that, would read this woman’s article and respond to it by telling her to “leave the reserve” and letting her know that she’s “retarded”. It’s too bad, LeRequin, that you’ve chosen to be the latter kind of person.

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

        Don’t forget the Roma. Being racist against them is still a political position in many countries, and the ‘exotic gypsy’ image isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

        Ugh. PocaHotties and sexy gypsies…they both turn my stomach.

    • GeeWizz

      Ending your post by saying the author “sounds retarded,” pretty much solidifies what kind of morals you have, in case we all didn’t get it from your ignorant response.

    • GeeWizz

      “White Privilege”—-Learn about it!!! http://nymbp.org/reference/WhitePrivilege.pdf

    • Saltmeat

      You totally miss the point, because you’re caught up in your own issue which has no relevance to this issue. You take some huge illogical leaps and slide quickly down slippery slopes. I don’t believe anyone said this was a contest in whose oppression is worse. You mistakenly make this a game and miss the point. If you think critically about what you do, and if you are educated you should think critically at least once a day, you would see the things that make sense and those that do not. Those who chose to think about their actions, in particular when making fun of another culture entirely, usually get it. You get a feeling in your gut that maybe, this isn’t such a good idea Johnny and maybe wearing this headdress that in Native cultures is meant for special ceremonial occasions is wrong, as you take a drink from your damn hipster can of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

      Also, sorry to say but you coming from France and telling me as a Native to get over it rings hollow. You are in the United States, this is still Indian country. I hear that French people want Americans to speak French when in France; well if this is true by the same token you should learn a bit about the history of this country’s first inhabitants before you speak about us in such a simplistic manner.

      As for the great strides humanity has learned from us in regards to “fashion” and spirituality, you clearly show you have no background in what you are speaking about and are kind of superficial? Right now we are fighting Urban Outfitters and other retailers who are usurping tribal names, and breaking laws in doing so, in the name of “fashion”. And don’t get me started on the ways that outsiders attempt to appropriate our religons for personal and financial gain. Really you’re just talking about superficial concepts and interests, not really any substance, kind of like the tone of your letter here.

      Your last paragraph makes even less sense than any of the drivel you’ve written. You equate a sacred object, a headdress with apple pie, seemingly something that the country of America created? If that is possible? Not to mention apple pie is a phrase and has nothing, no relation, nada, to anything we are talking about? Talk about retarded, your aimless writing is retarded, espouses ignorance, and pretty I pretty much just wasted my time reading the nonsense that you call an “opinion”.

      • meatsalt

        …salt meat
        meat salt
        salted meat
        meaty salt?

        • Saltmeat

          LeRequin?
          Requin?
          jerk
          face?
          beret?
          lacking the ability to think critically?

    • Guest

      So are you French or American? Again, you don’t understand your own white privilege to identify as French ethnicity because you don’t have to -you can identify as American which means white American, but if you were a person of color you would be African American or Native American or Asian American. When American is used alone it means white American. So do you realize how stupid you sound? But of course racism is as American as Apple pie (just look at American History-really look at it). And it is not that I don’t love my country, I just want it to be better, a lot more democratic than it is.

    • Brita

      White Americans should pay members of every culture respect. That’s pretty standard. How to be a good person 101: be respectful.

      It might be difficult for you not to offend anyone, LeRequin, but I urge you to think carefully about who you are offending, and why. If you choose to offend privileged folk, they have the ability to walk away and laugh it off, with no real harm done. When you choose to offend those with less privilege and power, then you are are harming them. As individuals, as Adrienne explained, and as a group, for reasons she has explained elsewhere in her blog.

      In your post, you are affirming the kind of thoughtless actions that reinforce the racist structure of America today.

      Your ableist language and dismissal of sexual violence is also offensive. I wish you would choose to act, speak, and live with greater awareness and kindness than you have displayed in the post above.

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

      You should GO to a Reservation instead of mockingly urging people to leave them. Punks like you don’t last a day in places like that, for all your wannabe tough attitudes.

    • r. bruneau

      sorry, but I think you are incredibly insensitive to what this person had to say. how about you quit focusing on yourself for one minute, and look at it from her perspective?

    • Toddrodd

      LeRequin’s response in a short nutshell….:

      IMMA DO WHAT I WANT AND GET OVER IT!!11!!!11oneoneBBQ!!!!

    • http://twitter.com/Cluisanna Cluisanna

      “So, because in America whites are a majority, they have to pay unreciprocated respect to minority cultures …”
      Yes. Yes, exactly. Just because you think people shouldn’t be offended by something, doesn’t mean they aren’t offended and hurt.
      This isn’t some game where someone does something innocent and people are happy because they have something to be offended about – this is about real people feeling hurt about your disregard of their culture. What you are essentially saying is: “I don’t care if it hurts you, I want to have fun.”

      Also, just because you have accepted to be made fun of because of your heritage, doesn’t mean everybody is okay with being the laughing stock of ignorant people.
      “because I know, it’s a point of humour and no one thinks any less of me as a person because my family comes from France.”
      I assure you, there are people that think lesser of you because you are French, but that is not even the point – the point is that there are a lot of people, especially Americans, who think of Native Americans as either spiritual healers or drunks and poors. Do you think that’s not hurtful and harmful?

      “When you are mad that “white” people wear such-and-such a thing, you are being just as racist as anyone else.”
      Excuse me? Just because the majority of people who do something that is disrespectful and hurtful has a certain skin colour doesn’t mean it’s racism to point out that behaviour.

      “You cannot claim to know the reasons that anyone wears a certain jewelry, or a headdress. At which point does a feathered hair decoration become a “headdress”? When does jewelry made with turquoise become something off-limits? You can’t claim every material and idea just because someone within your history used it or had it.”
      Fortunately, many people go to great lengths to point out they are plagiarizing and stealing and ridiculing Native American fashion and art. I don’t think people would get offended if you wore a turquoise ring or a hat with a feather in it, but if you *say* you are dressing up as a Native American, it’s pretty clear that you have crossed that line you are drawing.

      “And certainly don’t claim that your culture is or was any more oppressed than many other cultures before and after it.”
      I don’t think Native Americans claim they are oppressed more than other people of color, for instance, but what is your point? That oppression is normal and they (and everybody who thinks it’s wrong, too) shouldn’t complain about it? Funny, it seems you are saying that from a position of power that allows you to wave away those complains. I wonder what you would be saying if you were the one being disenfranchised and marginalized.

      “Seriously, this is how retarded you sound.”
      And the topping on the cake: Ableism! Yay!

      Seriously, stop acting like how you feel about something is how everybody should feel about something and maybe take the time to try to see their point of view.

    • BettyFokker

      Wow. The last time I saw racism and the defense of white privilege so blatant I was having to research Aryan Nation.

    • Samantha Nock

      “Ignorance? It thrives on the incestuous mating of indifference and bigotry and in turn breeds more of the same.” – Harold Cardinal, Cree author of “The Unjust Society”

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

      Did you hear that wooshing sound? That was the sound of the point going right over your head.

  • Mellie

    Not all of it falls on deaf ears, Mpensmoke. I’m white, and have, for most of my life, been brought up with complete unawareness of my privilege. It’s been only recently that I have learned to shift my awareness outside of my narrow reality, and it disturbs me deeply. Posts like these, from actual people with actual experiences, are important – it helps to enlighten some of my ignorance. I wish there weren’t so many people willing to write off these concerns, but there are some of us out there who truly want to be better people – and are trying to be aware of our own racist tendencies. Without awareness, there is no way to even recognize it, as my own privilege has shown. So, thank you for your post, and please don’t think it’s all for nothing.

  • Futureofchange

    Halloween: This video also….Notice when the Traditional Women dancers come in the women are covered…Just sayin… When general public see’s this…Is it any wonder people think its OK to still like this??

    http://youtu.be/jYxKmW4JvXA

  • Milesmanners

    The Freedom Riders did black Americans a great service by calling Kennedy on his bullshit and actually testing how abolished Jim Crow laws were in the South. They got their asses kicked, brandished firearms and fearlessly laughed in the president’s face when he begged them to stop. They were barricaded into hospitals by angry racists only to be busted out by cool black dudes in Studebakers. Then they partied all night and did it again. There are few pictures from this time because cameras were included in the beatings but that one shot of Jim Zwerg covered in blood with his tie clip still on makes James Dean look like Johnny Weir. Even if you didn’t agree with their politics you have to admire them for proving how ineffective Northern Laws are when imposed on the South. How can you get more badass than that? You can’t. Unfortunately, their badassness is exactly why their actions were such a huge disservice to white Americans. Namely, how can we even come close to that level of awesome?

    I want to walk into a mob of angry racists and get my ass beat for freedom. It’s just not easy to find them. Believe me, I looked everywhere. Janeane Garofalo told us the Tea Partiers are a bunch of uneducated racists and I heard they yelled “nigger” at a bunch of black congressman. I’d like to walk into one of their rallies holding a black girl’s hand and ask them about it as sweat poured down their lily-white racist faces. Oh crap, I just saw Andrew Breitbart is offering a $10,000 reward for any evidence of the racial slur and Janeane Garafolo is a dropout.

    It’s discouraging work trying to match the righteousness of the Freedom Riders. When the NAACP had a funeral for the N-Word, I was ready to pound the living crap out of anyone who dared resurrect it. Unfortunately, I live in Brooklyn and if I fought everyone who used that word I’d be punching blacks and Hispanics in the face ‘til I was blue in the face. Besides, all my favorite songs use that word like it’s going out of style. Listen to the beginning of “Tight Pants” or “Playstation” for example. Am I allowed to sing those in public? I recently learned it depends on who says the word, what context it’s in, and whether it ends in z, a, or er. I’m hunting for racists, not grammar lessons. Can we get some real deal racism up in this bizzatch?

    I got really excited when I heard the racist megacorporation Hallmark had put out a greeting card that said “Watch out for black whores!” I started to rally the troops for Freedom Riders II. Maybe we could all get in a bus and burn their headquarters to the ground. When the NAACP went on TV to talk about it however, I couldn’t help but notice the card said, “Watch out black holes” and was a reference to an ambitious astronomer. What about that word though? “Black” hole. Isn’t that kind of racist? Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price thought so and demanded an apology when it was used in an analogy about lost documents. Turns out it’s called black because it’s a region of space “from which nothing, including light, can escape.”

    There has to be a sea of racists out there. It’s the most go-to criticism since fat, stupid and ugly, and I see a sea of those every day. I checked in with some civil rights activists but still couldn’t get anything worth taking a bus to go fight. James Kirkpatrick, the Commissioner of the Department of Human Rights over in Minnesota is more focused on sexism these days and had recently outlawed Ladies Nights for discriminating against men (a not uncommon practice).

    College campuses seem like a better place to “locate the hate” as Jesse Jackson would say. This is where they indoctrinate the youth and there’s always swastikas and gay bashings and stuff like that, isn’t there? Well, the Jewish student at GWU who reported seeing swastikas on her door, put them there herself. Same with the “Die Fag” written on the wall near the lesbian’s locker at Tamalpais High School. The noose at UC San Diego was an impromptu lasso innocently left on a desk and even the noose that was the supposed impetus for the Jena 6 incident has turned out to be a stupid cowboy joke.

    Middle Americans, megacorporations, young Americans, and Outer Spacists weren’t giving me enough to change my white face into a black and blue one but what about the goddamned pigs? They had a huge part in the Freedom Rider beatings and there’s no reason to assume they’ve changed their racist ways. I was thrilled to discover Abner Louima is a genuine example of unmitigated police brutality—only, I can’t find proof it had anything to do with race. I looked into that other guy, Amadou Diallo but it turns out he refused to put his hands up and eventually reached for a black wallet police mistook for a gun. Even Rodney King was an unstoppable lunatic who was hysterically resisting arrest after a high-speed car chase through a residential neighborhood. Then I learn, Mumia Abu-Jamal is guilty after all. I still think cops are racist though. You can just tell.

    If this Easter Egg hunt was going to pull up some truly racist, white eggs, I was going to have to go deeper into the core of America. Like, what about their laws? The Arizona immigration Law is a good place to start. Apparently it says you can throw anyone who’s not white into a paddy wagon and send them back to Mexico. I’m going to go down there with a bunch of Hispanics in sombreros and get arrested on purpose. Maybe they’ll call us spics and beat us and we can get a picture in the paper smiling with blood all over our teeth. How cool would that be? Hang on. Just read the law. It says the person has to be committing a crime and the officer, “May not solely consider race, color, or national origin.” SHIT! I just got so frustrated, I punched a hole through my wall; which actually felt pretty good because it’s white.

    I know there are racists out there. I can feel it. The New Black Panthers claim there are white devils on every corner so I delved into the FBI’s hate crime statistics to get some cold, hard facts. Unfortunately, these polls are about as impossible to understand as Ghostface Killah lyrics. The FBI reports more hate crimes against visible minorities but then they tell you it’s just because they now have more agencies reporting cases. The PDFs are a slog to get through and although there are more anti-black crimes than anti-white crimes, nobody seems to factor in that blacks are about 14% of the population whereas whites are more like 75%. Doesn’t that mean there’s more anti-white hate crime per capita? Plus, “one out of every 45 white on black attacks is classified as a hate crime, while the corresponding fraction for black on white attacks is an astounding 1 out of 1,254.” And that’s not including black on Hispanic crime and vice versa etc. etc., Oy vey! The numbers are complex but it’s starting to look like everyone is equally racist and even then it’s not that much, or something? All I know is, I got on a silver Greyhound looking for a showdown and ended up on a yellow bus headed to math class.

    Just when I was about to give up hope, one of my many liberal pals schooled my white ass on what’s really going down. Dig this: First, the anti-white crimes are a sham and as Jill Tregor, executive director of Intergroup Clearinghouse, says, “They are an abuse of what the hate crime laws were intended to cover.” In other words, fuggedaboud em. They don’t count. Second, there is an institutional racism that isn’t visible to the naked eye. It lies deep within the system and it goes even deeper than the laws which is why we can’t see it. Look around you. There are racists in this room. You might be racist and not even know it. Shit, even babies are racist! Racism is walking next to you everywhere you go. See those footprints on the beach behind you? That’s racism. See the part where there’s just one set of prints? That’s when racism was carrying you. Once I understood that racism is as ubiquitous as Jesus, I realized why I was having so much trouble finding it. Racism is just as prevalent as it was when the Freedom Riders rode through the South and the scariest part is how deep into our thoughts it has crept. The only way we can fight it effectively is to let the proper authorities into our minds and root around in there until they find it. Who’s first?

    • Whoatheboo

      WTH? How long did it take you to write this? Kinda reminds me of Hunter S. Thompson…

      • LissaGarhart

        What’s wrong with you? Don’t you know true genious when you see it? If you’re having trouble, let me translate:”Bla bla bla if it’s racist for me to shit on your stupid culture then every man, woman and child is racist by default. There, happy now?”

        • Whoatheboo

          I didn’t need help in understanding Milemanners comment…. I pretty much summed it up by reading the first paragraph.

    • Ben

      Unfortunately, racism against Native Americans is alive and well.
      http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2011/06/native-family-attacked-by-skinheads/

  • Anna Orzech

    Great post, Adrienne! Congratulations!!!!

  • Ally

    Reposting everywhere I can think of. Excellent post.

  • Milesmanners

    I think that you have correctly identified the key problems affecting the Indian community:

    “the vast majority [of] people living in poverty, struggling with alcoholism, domestic violence, hunger, and unemployment”

    I think spending too much time looking for ways to be offended by the behavior of non-Indians diverts energy away from fixing these problems.

  • Mpensmoke

    Unfortunately this will fall on deaf ears. Look at the typical comments on the website with the posters on it. They dont care and they make up tired lame excuses every time.

  • Zoe

    This is an absolutely fantastic post. I have been having a conflict with my father over these issues and he just doesn’t get it. I wish I could make him understand that dressing up as a race is just not okay. I don’t know why people find it so hard to just not dress up as a race. Like you said there are a million other things to be. It is not that hard to just put down that fake war bonnet and go dress up a pirate or fairy or Chewbacca.

  • LeRequin

    So, because in America whites are a majority, they have to pay unreciprocated respect to minority cultures that believe every pinpoint in their cultural makeup is exclusive to them? Being French and living in America, it’s really disrespecting to me to have my country constantly being portrayed as being wimps and always surrendering at the first sign of trouble. Without my country’s help, America would not be a country! But I take it in stride because I know, it’s a point of humour and no one thinks any less of me as a person because my family comes from France.

    But to think that “sexualising” your culture’s image leads to the problems and hardships those aligning with it face (as is said/suggested in many other articles here) is ludicrous. It’s because you consider yourself so exclusive and so wronged that you are wronged. Look at your culture’s influence on Americans and other people too as a blessing: your ancestors brought around significant change to the spiritualities and fashion of people even today. When you are mad that “white” people wear such-and-such a thing, you are being just as racist as anyone else. Most whites in America have Native American ancestors. You cannot claim to know the reasons that anyone wears a certain jewelry, or a headdress. At which point does a feathered hair decoration become a “headdress”? When does jewelry made with turquoise become something off-limits? You can’t claim every material and idea just because someone within your history used it or had it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am very against the idea of being racist, but people will be people. Are you against people dressing up as witches for Halloween? That probably offends some Wiccans and/or Pagans. Can we dress up as anything for Halloween without offending someone? Let’s just cancel the holiday.

    Face it. The point of Halloween is to dress up as something you’re not, and it’s just play. I know that it offends you. Everyone gets offended at some point. Either give people a reason not to offend you, or live with it. Don’t sit on your ass and complain that no one gives you a chance, that people offend you. And certainly don’t claim that your culture is or was any more oppressed than many other cultures before and after it.

    Everyone’s culture is stereotyped beyond reason. If Americans can’t wear headdresses, then how dare you eat apple pie? I demand that you never wear stars or stripes again, in any color or combination, because that is definitive of MY COUNTRY. Seriously, this is how retarded you sound.

  • Mellie

    Not all of it falls on deaf ears, Mpensmoke. I’m white, and have, for most of my life, been brought up with complete unawareness of my privilege. It’s been only recently that I have learned to shift my awareness outside of my narrow reality, and it disturbs me deeply. Posts like these, from actual people with actual experiences, are important – it helps to enlighten some of my ignorance. I wish there weren’t so many people willing to write off these concerns, but there are some of us out there who truly want to be better people – and are trying to be aware of our own racist tendencies. Without awareness, there is no way to even recognize it, as my own privilege has shown. So, thank you for your post, and please don’t think it’s all for nothing.

  • Dawn Betts-Green

    First, I happen to be Pagan, and I don’t care for the green faced evil witch portrayal. But that has little to do with this post. It is so ridiculous that this even has to be discussed. Most intelligent people will agree that black face is incredibly stupid and offensive. If someone painted themselves yellow and “played Chinese,” guess what? There would be an outcry. However, Native Americans are one of the last groups that it seems to be okay to be racist about. Look at the mascots for crying out loud! People think it’s “cute” to be Pocahontas or whatever with their fake feathers and face paint, but it’s just black face in another shade.

    On the topic of sexualizing as a cause of sexual violence: read a study sometime! The popular over-sexualization of specific groups leads to a mentality that deems it okay to treat that group as inferior and “fair game.” Women’s Studies departments have been talking about this for ages; where have you been?

  • GeeWizz

    Ending your post by saying the author “sounds retarded,” pretty much solidifies what kind of morals you have, in case we all didn’t get it from your ignorant response.

  • Guest

    More people need to read some race theory to understand how their actions affect people of different cultures and races. You wouldn’t imagine on dressing up in blackface and going around trick-or-tricking so why would you think it is ok to dress as a Native American which is known as redface? White people think to themselves “I am German and I don’t mind if people wear Lederhosen, so why do they care if I dress in a Native costume?”-here’s the thing though, whites have optional ethnicity. They can chose whether or not to identify with their ethnicity. They can just be white if they want to, which puts them in a privileged position. If you don’t think white privilege exist, think about this as this is what stuck with me from an article by Peggy McIntosh: white women, when is the last time you walked in a store and they didn’t have your shade or a similar shade of foundation but had only shades that were too dark for your skin color? (generally, stores carry shades of foundation for white people at least and imagine if you were a person of color)

    • Helga

      While I agree with you about the general inability of stop being native being very important, I can’t say I agree with the white people have the optional ethnicity in the States bit.
      You know, I am not sure that I have the optional ethnicity, as you put it. I have an accent you see. While in normal situations I do sound vaguely British (which already puts me on “Oh, a Foreigner” list in the States), I really go into the foreigner mode when I am feeling uncomfortable. I can’t pretend I am you average “Standard-God-bless-America” American.
      I am afraid of “Where are you from” questions because I feel like I am being moved from being a person to being a foreigner, a stereotype, a subject to stupid questions (The thing I suppose any person from any minority have felt at least ones).
      It’s kind of sad that people don’t understand that those things hurt, just like sexist jokes and you can’t “lighten up” and dismiss them forever, no matter how much you try.

  • Guest

    More people need to read some race theory to understand how their actions affect people of different cultures and races. You wouldn’t imagine on dressing up in blackface and going around trick-or-tricking so why would you think it is ok to dress as a Native American which is known as redface? White people think to themselves “I am German and I don’t mind if people wear Lederhosen, so why do they care if I dress in a Native costume?”-here’s the thing though, whites have optional ethnicity. They can chose whether or not to identify with their ethnicity. They can just be white if they want to, which puts them in a privileged position. If you don’t think white privilege exist, think about this as this is what stuck with me from an article by Peggy McIntosh: white women, when is the last time you walked in a store and they didn’t have your shade or a similar shade of foundation but had only shades that were too dark for your skin color? (generally, stores carry shades of foundation for white people at least and imagine if you were a person of color)

  • Brita

    Trivializing micro-aggressions reinforces the racism. Spending any time discussing racism, marginalization, and oppression is valuable.

  • GeeWizz

    “White Privilege”—-Learn about it!!! http://nymbp.org/reference/WhitePrivilege.pdf

  • LeRequin

    I’ve been having a life, doing things worth doing and not crying about it every time some hipster wears a beret. I’ve been cooking and going to school.

    And I really doubt there would be a giant outcry about people “playing” whatever for Halloween. Because it’s play. Don’t Native Americans have play in their culture? And just because you are offended does not make you right. It makes you mad, and then you feel entitled.

    Leave your reservation if you want some respect. Jesus. Native Americans oppress themselves by excluding themselves from modern society. People everywhere have all sorts of violence pushed against them, for various reasons. I am positive that Native Americans are not the only ones being abused for their culture or any other defining demographic. Don’t blame the people who “sexualised” your culture by dressing it up for a dress-up party, blame the people who actually were violent towards you. Because no matter how many costumes I wear, I’ve never hurt anyone based on their ethnicity. Can’t pin this to me, homes.

  • Saltmeat

    You totally miss the point, because you’re caught up in your own issue which has no relevance to this issue. You take some huge illogical leaps and slide quickly down slippery slopes. I don’t believe anyone said this was a contest in whose oppression is worse. You mistakenly make this a game and miss the point. If you think critically about what you do, and if you are educated you should think critically at least once a day, you would see the things that make sense and those that do not. Those who chose to think about their actions, in particular when making fun of another culture entirely, usually get it. You get a feeling in your gut that maybe, this isn’t such a good idea Johnny and maybe wearing this headdress that in Native cultures is meant for special ceremonial occasions is wrong, as you take a drink from your damn hipster can of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

    Also, sorry to say but you coming from France and telling me as a Native to get over it rings hollow. You are in the United States, this is still Indian country. I hear that French people want Americans to speak French when in France; well if this is true by the same token you should learn a bit about the history of this country’s first inhabitants before you speak about us in such a simplistic manner.

    As for the great strides humanity has learned from us in regards to “fashion” and spirituality, you clearly show you have no background in what you are speaking about and are kind of superficial? Right now we are fighting Urban Outfitters and other retailers who are usurping tribal names, and breaking laws in doing so, in the name of “fashion”. And don’t get me started on the ways that outsiders attempt to appropriate our religons for personal and financial gain. Really you’re just talking about superficial concepts and interests, not really any substance, kind of like the tone of your letter here.

    Your last paragraph makes even less sense than any of the drivel you’ve written. You equate a sacred object, a headdress with apple pie, seemingly something that the country of America created? If that is possible? Not to mention apple pie is a phrase and has nothing, no relation, nada, to anything we are talking about? Talk about retarded, your aimless writing is retarded, espouses ignorance, and pretty I pretty much just wasted my time reading the nonsense that you call an “opinion”.

  • http://www.nodtostyle.blogspot.com/ NodToStyle

    “leave your reservation if you want some respect” Are you kidding me, homes?

  • Guest

    So are you French or American? Again, you don’t understand your own white privilege to identify as French ethnicity because you don’t have to -you can identify as American which means white American, but if you were a person of color you would be African American or Native American or Asian American. When American is used alone it means white American. So do you realize how stupid you sound? But of course racism is as American as Apple pie (just look at American History-really look at it). And it is not that I don’t love my country, I just want it to be better, a lot more democratic than it is.

  • M.

    THANK YOU for saying this.

  • Brita

    White Americans should pay members of every culture respect. That’s pretty standard. How to be a good person 101: be respectful.

    It might be difficult for you not to offend anyone, LeRequin, but I urge you to think carefully about who you are offending, and why. If you choose to offend privileged folk, they have the ability to walk away and laugh it off, with no real harm done. When you choose to offend those with less privilege and power, then you are are harming them. As individuals, as Adrienne explained, and as a group, for reasons she has explained elsewhere in her blog.

    In your post, you are affirming the kind of thoughtless actions that reinforce the racist structure of America today.

    Your ableist language and dismissal of sexual violence is also offensive. I wish you would choose to act, speak, and live with greater awareness and kindness than you have displayed in the post above.

  • M.

    THANK YOU for saying this.

  • lu

    I used to read Bitch religiously, I’m pretty ashamed that I belonged to the same reader-base as some of those commenters.
    And I just want to let you know, that posts like these DO help- I only recently discovered the idea of cultural appropriation (obviously being a feminist is not always a guarantee that you will be progressive in other areas as well, as evidenced by those comments). So, you have at least one girl who won’t be dressing up as any racist caricatures for Halloween! :D

    • de_Pizan

      I read Bitch as well, and was disgusted by the comments. Other posts on racial issues on the site haven’t had such negative or racist comments–so I think (hope) it’s not reflective of the usual readers, and that it’s because it’s gotten some trolls from being linked somewhere else.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12170341094708634927 Melanie

    Dear LeRequin- please go read some White Privilege 101 before you open your mouth? Don’t identify as white? Read it anyway because you sure are pulling the white privilege card all over the place. Clearly you’re able to dress up as any racist, misogynistic, homophobic “play thing” you want. Just don’t be surprised if you get called out on it or if people consider you an asshole. That’s the privilege I get from MY country- I get to point out how ridiculously undereducated and bigoted people look and sound when they perpetuate antiquated stereotypes on Halloween.

  • lu

    I used to read Bitch religiously, I’m pretty ashamed that I belonged to the same reader-base as some of those commenters.
    And I just want to let you know, that posts like these DO help- I only recently discovered the idea of cultural appropriation (obviously being a feminist is not always a guarantee that you will be progressive in other areas as well, as evidenced by those comments). So, you have at least one girl who won’t be dressing up as any racist caricatures for Halloween! :D

  • meatsalt

    …salt meat
    meat salt
    salted meat
    meaty salt?

  • Miss Andrist

    Wow. When it comes to being shameless announcements of entitlement to privilege, you just literally lowered the bar.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sarah-Issersohn/100001210806860 Sarah Issersohn

    I definitely see what you’re saying, even though I’m not Native. The last thing I would ever do is argue with you because you’re obviously totally right. What I would like is to just share that I think some white peoples’ ignorance does go hundreds of years deeper – and I share this NOT to excuse it, but to promote understanding, because that’s how we progress: by trying to understand each other, and our selves. Back in the day in Europe, right about when Columbus was leaving to colonize and terrorize America, back in the (white peoples’) old country, anybody who displayed any ‘kinship with nature’ was tortured in the Inquisition. Women who ‘eased the pain of childbirth’, or ‘picked or cultivated plants’ were burned at the stake – even people who had simply been observed taking “too many” walks out of doors. My belief is that, somewhere in our collective unconscious, we remember this. Because of inaccurate stereotypes, white people tend to associate this lost kinship with native peoples. This is why little white children all want to be ‘indians’ in their very misguided kindergarten ‘thanksgiving day’ celebrations. They don’t understand why. It is said that the colonizers always victimize those whose medicine could save them. I think that many white people feel that they have no culture, and no connection with their own cultural roots, and this is actually what’s behind a lot of the atrocious and offensive clumsy attempts on white peoples’ part to connect with some aspect of this lost heritige. I’m NOT trying to be all, wah wah, we’ve suffered too, because there is absolutely no possible comparison AT ALL – please don’t misunderstand. Because I really respect your patience and honesty in sharing your perspective, which people really need to listen to, I think it’s helpful for people to think about all different angles. Not so much you guys, more us guys – the ones who need to be conducting ourselves differently. Anyway, thank you for sharing your words. May they have all their intended effect, creating a myriad ripple effects, and blessed be :)

    • atrebla

      My mom (a native scholar) wrote a paper on this. When you want so badly to be indigenous to a land, that you must kill all the indigenous people in order to become the new “natives.” A deep psychological reason for the genocide in the Americas, and continuing suppression, into the past, and into nothingness of Native peoples and their opinions. You should take some native studies courses! I think you would love them :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sarah-Issersohn/100001210806860 Sarah Issersohn

    I definitely see what you’re saying, even though I’m not Native. The last thing I would ever do is argue with you because you’re obviously totally right. What I would like is to just share that I think some white peoples’ ignorance does go hundreds of years deeper – and I share this NOT to excuse it, but to promote understanding, because that’s how we progress: by trying to understand each other, and our selves. Back in the day in Europe, right about when Columbus was leaving to colonize and terrorize America, back in the (white peoples’) old country, anybody who displayed any ‘kinship with nature’ was tortured in the Inquisition. Women who ‘eased the pain of childbirth’, or ‘picked or cultivated plants’ were burned at the stake – even people who had simply been observed taking “too many” walks out of doors. My belief is that, somewhere in our collective unconscious, we remember this. Because of inaccurate stereotypes, white people tend to associate this lost kinship with native peoples. This is why little white children all want to be ‘indians’ in their very misguided kindergarten ‘thanksgiving day’ celebrations. They don’t understand why. It is said that the colonizers always victimize those whose medicine could save them. I think that many white people feel that they have no culture, and no connection with their own cultural roots, and this is actually what’s behind a lot of the atrocious and offensive clumsy attempts on white peoples’ part to connect with some aspect of this lost heritige. I’m NOT trying to be all, wah wah, we’ve suffered too, because there is absolutely no possible comparison AT ALL – please don’t misunderstand. Because I really respect your patience and honesty in sharing your perspective, which people really need to listen to, I think it’s helpful for people to think about all different angles. Not so much you guys, more us guys – the ones who need to be conducting ourselves differently. Anyway, thank you for sharing your words. May they have all their intended effect, creating a myriad ripple effects, and blessed be :)

  • Saltmeat

    Man you really are an idiot. Who says Indians live on reservations? Plus equating a beret, a freaking piece of clothing with no significance other than superficial fashion to a headress is asinine and shows your lack of education and/or intelligence.

    I don’t “oppress” myself from modern society. Get a clue man. Have you ever even met a Native? Homes? haha.

    Your entitled demeanor and self induced ignorance is really sad.

    Learn about the country you live in and have respect LeRequin. Travel a bit, learn about other cultures and then maybe you will grow up a bit and learn to respect things that don’t have to do with clothes.

  • Saltmeat

    LeRequin?
    Requin?
    jerk
    face?
    beret?
    lacking the ability to think critically?

  • Milesmanners

    No, obsessing about racism all of the time has made taking umbrage part of the Indian identity.

    “There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs – partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”

    - Booker T. Washington

  • http://twitter.com/chloemiriam Chloë

    I just want to second Mellie, a few years ago I probably would’ve thought stuff like this was O.K, or at least I wouldn’t feel as uncomfortable around it as I do now. Now I don’t, and it’s becuase of posts like this that have made me think, really think, Confront my privilege and realise I need to change my attitude on stuff. So thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/chloemiriam Chloe Miriam

    I just want to second Mellie, a few years ago I probably would’ve thought stuff like this was O.K, or at least I wouldn’t feel as uncomfortable around it as I do now. Now I don’t, and it’s becuase of posts like this that have made me think, really think, Confront my privilege and realise I need to change my attitude on stuff. So thanks.

  • de_Pizan

    I read Bitch as well, and was disgusted by the comments. Other posts on racial issues on the site haven’t had such negative or racist comments–so I think (hope) it’s not reflective of the usual readers, and that it’s because it’s gotten some trolls from being linked somewhere else.

  • Brita

    You know, it’s just strange to me that “being offended” is the problem here.

    Because I would think that “surviving as an individual and surviving as a member of a culture when the government was actively pursuing genocide within living memory” would be pretty heroic, and “dismissing another person’s really reasonable request to not be mocked, while trying to change to topic to more ‘legitimate’ concerns about death and disease” is a pretty cruel action.

    Also, who defines an indigenous group’s identity? Members of the group. Not weirdly used Booker T. quotes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kaliane-Moloch/100000708838432 Kaliane Moloch

    Sorry to hear you have to put up with behaviours like these. I agree it’s pretty damn insulting to treat someone’s entire culture as a Halloween gimmick. I’d be annoyed too if members of other races thought it was funny to dress up as a white person!!

    • Guest

      I’m dressing up as trailer trash! can’t wait :)

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kaliane-Moloch/100000708838432 Kaliane Moloch

        LOL, actually come to think of it, white people jokes have never offended me. Because as a Caucasian I don’t have to deal with discrimination as my everyday reality. It should tell you something that I’ve never even heard any racist words for whites…

        • A. MacPherson

          There are plenty of white derogatory words for white, people have just been polite enough not to say them to you lol. But you’re right, the only discrimination white people have to deal with on a daily basis would be socio-economic and if you put them next to a poor (enter ethnicity here) they are suddenly the cream of the poverty crop.

          • BettyFokker

            I agree with what you are saying, and not defending racist asshats in any way, but white poverty in Appalachia is really freaking scary … and as endemic and systematic as the stuff happening to minorities. So not all white poverty is the same.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kaliane-Moloch/100000708838432 Kaliane Moloch

    Sorry to hear you have to put up with behaviours like these. I agree it’s pretty damn insulting to treat someone’s entire culture as a Halloween gimmick. I’d be annoyed too if members of other races thought it was funny to dress up as a white person!!

  • Brita

    Some native people live on reservations. Some non-native people live on reservations. And… and… brace yourself… some native and non-native folks live off reservations!

    You could consider respecting everyone. Probably wouldn’t hurt you any. And it wouldn’t hurt to listen to what Adrienne’s asking for here, which is to not wear a costume she finds disrespectful.

    What do you have to lose by treating her with respect?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kaliane-Moloch/100000708838432 Kaliane Moloch

    Natives oppress themselves? Wow you are full of crap.

  • frmore

    Wow. What unmitigated nonsense.

  • Milesmanners

    You could argue that Indians haven’t actually survived European conquest, given the state of their communities. Whether they recover or not is yet to be seen.

    It wasn’t a “weirdly used” quote. I’m sure you’re familiar with the likes of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and their numerous corrupt counterparts on reservations everywhere who shake down the government while neglecting their communities.

    A group’s identity is defined by their common experience. Many Indians share a bond of feeling perpetually oppressed by white people. If this perceived oppression were to end, so would the sense of community it generates.

  • Kamb16

    So if i dress up as a dinosaur i’m doing them a dishonour? this article is bullshit.. if i dress up as a clown am i disrespecting people who are clowns. or if i dress up as a white person “trailer trash” you would be opposed to that? stop ruining halloween and let people have fun. gosh i don’t understand why people need to turn everything into a goddamn issue. if i dress up a a drunken sailor will that offend sailors? if i dress up as a bollywood actress would that offend the indian population? if i dress up as hello kitty will that offend asians.. I refuse to put up with people who take the fun out of life. i feel bad for people are first nations and the struggles they have faced but if you honestly don’t want to be singled out then stop taking advantage of tax breaks, stop living on reserves! if you want to so badly be a part of mainstream society stop singling yourself out! i can dress up as anything i want and that is why i live in canada and that is why it is called halloween! get over it already!!

  • Socialist.

    Youre wrong. and take life way too out of context. im irish and i couldnt give a fuck about opression or anything we’ve been through.WHY? because this is 2011. this is the world. and white people have all the same problems you do, alcoholism,domestic violence,poverty etc. so dont act like because youre indian that you need special qualities. are you really that ignorant. white people are made fun of even more than youd think because we are infact not the smartest people and im not ashamed to say that. but we act as we please through a sense of pride. make fun of us all you want we couldnt care. neither should you. you are 1 person out of the 10 billion plus and should just take life as it is. im actually dearly sorry if this is offensive to you but i just dont understand your logic. Halloween is a holiday. dress up as larry the cable guy or some shit like that. you ever think to just say fuck the world and do what you want? I’m sick of this new day and age where everyone feels if somethngs wrong to them they have to speak up and make a huge deal. womens rights, black hispanic native american, any cultural difference you have to go and make it a big deal. we’re all suffering. and im nothing near racist, people of other race or culture are welcome in my life. youre just being a hipster.

    • Coryj711

      it’s actually 7 billion and not even quite there. how could you not understand the logic? i am white and ashamed of people that backlash as you are right now without ANY personal experience to people of color or any other people besides the superior majority. her argument was NOT implying that white people don’t experience the same problems. obviously that is not true nor is it possible statistically speaking. she is talking about the concentration amongst her people according to population size and percent. especially considering most of it if not all of it is a direct result of hundreds years of oppression from people like you and me, white people. i dressed up as pocahontas as a little girl, unaware as a seven year old of the history and it’s implications, BUT as a responsible knowledgeable adult why would i not respect somebody’s feelings and wishes?

    • http://twitter.com/Lilamedusa Lilamedusa Baudelia

      God, you’re stupid. So women shouldn’t complain because they’re not given jobs on account of their gender? Gay people shouldn’t complain because they don’t have the same rights as straight people? Minorities shouldn’t complain because they’re not given the respect they deserve because they’re just the same as you?
      Oh, my, we should just bury it all under the carpet, shouldn’t we?
      Fuck you.

  • Socialist.

    Youre wrong. and take life way too out of context. im irish and i couldnt give a fuck about opression or anything we’ve been through.WHY? because this is 2011. this is the world. and white people have all the same problems you do, alcoholism,domestic violence,poverty etc. so dont act like because youre indian that you need special qualities. are you really that ignorant. white people are made fun of even more than youd think because we are infact not the smartest people and im not ashamed to say that. but we act as we please through a sense of pride. make fun of us all you want we couldnt care. neither should you. you are 1 person out of the 10 billion plus and should just take life as it is. im actually dearly sorry if this is offensive to you but i just dont understand your logic. Halloween is a holiday. dress up as larry the cable guy or some shit like that. you ever think to just say fuck the world and do what you want? I’m sick of this new day and age where everyone feels if somethngs wrong to them they have to speak up and make a huge deal. womens rights, black hispanic native american, any cultural difference you have to go and make it a big deal. we’re all suffering. and im nothing near racist, people of other race or culture are welcome in my life. youre just being a hipster.

  • Concerned parent.

    Am I never allowed to dress my child as Pocahontas then? Because that’s her favorite Disney character. I’ll try to explain to her that she is offending an oppressed society and let you know how well that goes over.

    • nucl3arsnke

      Yes, amazingly, parenting sometimes involves telling your kids they can’t do things they want to do. Explaining to them is good, but sometimes you will have to hold your ground when they’re too young to understand.

      PS- Ask yourself- would you let her apply blackface if Tiana happened to be her favorite princess?

      • guest

        I wouldn’t let my daughter apply blackface, but I would let her wear her dress/tiara/whatever else a Tiana costume would be.

        We were just talking about this specific issue in class today, and though I’m completely against dressing as “an Indian”, dressing as a specific character/individual is much different than dressing as a stereotype on an entire race. I guess the difference is that Tiana’s outfit isn’t specific to her race while Pocahontas’ is.

        • Tripp

          …It’s really not that different when the ‘character’ you’re referring to is a super-sexualized version of a 12 yr old girl who was stolen and brainwashed, a historical figure warped for the sake of making a pretty onscreen fiction for children raised in a culture that makes it a point to keep them from learning about the horrors done to Native cultures as well as ongoing issues faced by Natives everywhere.

    • allison l.

      Yes, please do start those conversations early. She will be a better person for it.

  • Guest

    I’m dressing up as trailer trash! can’t wait :)

  • Concerned parent.

    Am I never allowed to dress my child as Pocahontas then? Because that’s her favorite Disney character. I’ll try to explain to her that she is offending an oppressed society and let you know how well that goes over.

  • Socialist

    yes.

  • renrose

    lerequin, you may be french, but you are still white and that is what people see. and you are showing an embarrassing amount of white privilege and ignorance.

  • renrose

    (sorry, brita, i posted in the wrong spot)

  • wasted my time reading this

    I think we should sue Disney for making Pocahontas! they have been oppressing the first nations community.. shut up already. Pocahontas was probably the best portrayal of first nations people in a long time. they show children that the white people invaded their land and all that jazz. I’m going to call up Disney and tell them that they should take it back… stop wasting internet space and use your energy to help first nations people in a different way. how about joining a group and going downtown and asking other first nations people from shooting up crack.I suggest that would be a better way to spend your time!

    • Erikakharada

      “Pocahontas was probably the best portrayal of first nations people in a long time”

      Lol wat

    • LissaGarhart

      When I read your post the voice in my head is whiny.

  • wasted my time reading this

    I think we should sue Disney for making Pocahontas! they have been oppressing the first nations community.. shut up already. Pocahontas was probably the best portrayal of first nations people in a long time. they show children that the white people invaded their land and all that jazz. I’m going to call up Disney and tell them that they should take it back… stop wasting internet space and use your energy to help first nations people in a different way. how about joining a group and going downtown and asking other first nations people from shooting up crack.I suggest that would be a better way to spend your time!

  • Milesmanners

    Amen. This site should change it’s name to Sanctimonious BS. I wasn’t going to do Halloween this year, but now I’m hitting the streets dressed like Tonto. I really hope nobody is offended by this egregious act of white privilege.

  • Cleopache

    Thank you ! for your courageous statement! I agree with you & am aligned with your blog, your research, and your unwavering point of view with native appropriations, which needs to be addressed, every day!

  • Cleopache

    Thank you ! for your courageous statement! I agree with you & am aligned with your blog, your research, and your unwavering point of view with native appropriations, which needs to be addressed, every day!

  • Yani Dee

    Do you even know what you are saying? You have to be the stupidest idiot alive. Get a brain!

  • Trina

    Something I have to share. I’ve been in Washington DC for a conference on health policy for the past three days. Yesterday, one of the speakers had a graphic of “Snake Oil Elixir” with a picture of a stereotypical Indian. Very respectfully, one of my colleagues told the speaker that the graphic was harmful and that he should take it out of his presentation. The speaker responded with, “let more on to a more substantive question” and ignored the comment completely. As a Native person, I felt invalidated and brought up all the many experiences in my life that I was treated as less than a human. I want to thank you for all that you do and for even educating me. Until I started reading your blog, I never really understood the implications of these images. I am still upset about the graphic and about the dismissal of my colleague’s comment and thus my being.

    • Trina

      Opps, I didn’t check my spelling, the speaker said, “Lets move on to something more substantial. Next question.”

      • Anonymous

        Your comment inspired me to speak up about a similar issue that I had been avoiding for a long time. I was hesitant to approach this person, but I knew I had to given my roles. Last night, I finally hit “send” on an email I had been avoiding for months. Within minutes, the sender acknowledged that she should have known better and would be removing the offensive language from the presentation. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • BaritGT

      Was the graphic meant to promote the use of snake oil elixir? What was the image trying to communicate within the the context of the speaker’s presentation?

      • Ben

        Does it actually matter? Are you looking to rationalize away how Trina felt? Are stereotypes ever acceptable?

  • Trina

    Something I have to share. I’ve been in Washington DC for a conference on health policy for the past three days. Yesterday, one of the speakers had a graphic of “Snake Oil Elixir” with a picture of a stereotypical Indian. Very respectfully, one of my colleagues told the speaker that the graphic was harmful and that he should take it out of his presentation. The speaker responded with, “let more on to a more substantive question” and ignored the comment completely. As a Native person, I felt invalidated and brought up all the many experiences in my life that I was treated as less than a human. I want to thank you for all that you do and for even educating me. Until I started reading your blog, I never really understood the implications of these images. I am still upset about the graphic and about the dismissal of my colleague’s comment and thus my being.

  • Trina

    Opps, I didn’t check my spelling, the speaker said, “Lets move on to something more substantial. Next question.”

  • Lt_chance

    you should just chill out and have fun this halloween yo.

  • Lt_chance

    you should just chill out and have fun this halloween yo.

  • A. MacPherson

    Excellent article. Whether or not I agree with the sensitivity of the person I’ve offended, I am usually embarrassed that I’ve done so and try to not repeat the behavior because I’d like them to extend the same courtesy to me.
    Cultural appropriation is kind of a new ideological exploration for the main stream folk (or at least I’ve just started hearing about it) and the argument seems to boil down to this: cartoony versions of cultures are created to illustrate the “weirdness” of the target to the intended audience, whether for amusement or to portray the exotic allure (fetishization). This goes likewise for the culturally specific goods that are being replicated and sold into the generic American marketplace without regard to the origins or purpose the item held in the culture it came from.
    Most white Americans hold very little sacred, so it tends to be difficult for some people to understand that having their values, traditions, and holy items used for fashion accessories and punch lines frustrates, shames, and/or devalues the people they are appropriating from.
    I don’t think any of the above is a stretch in logic or reason, and for those who are so adamant about their Halloween costume rights, please remember that just because something doesn’t matter to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.

    • A. MacPherson

      *Any of the blog, not the above comments. Very important distinction.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kaliane-Moloch/100000708838432 Kaliane Moloch

    LOL, actually come to think of it, white people jokes have never offended me. Because as a Caucasian I don’t have to deal with discrimination as my everyday reality. It should tell you something that I’ve never even heard any racist words for whites…

  • A. MacPherson

    Excellent article. Whether or not I agree with the sensitivity of the person I’ve offended, I am usually embarrassed that I’ve done so and try to not repeat the behavior because I’d like them to extend the same courtesy to me.
    Cultural appropriation is kind of a new ideological exploration for the main stream folk (or at least I’ve just started hearing about it) and the argument seems to boil down to this: cartoony versions of cultures are created to illustrate the “weirdness” of the target to the intended audience, whether for amusement or to portray the exotic allure (fetishization). This goes likewise for the culturally specific goods that are being replicated and sold into the generic American marketplace without regard to the origins or purpose the item held in the culture it came from.
    Most white Americans hold very little sacred, so it tends to be difficult for some people to understand that having their values, traditions, and holy items used for fashion accessories and punch lines frustrates, shames, and/or devalues the people they are appropriating from.
    I don’t think any of the above is a stretch in logic or reason, and for those who are so adamant about their Halloween costume rights, please remember that just because something doesn’t matter to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.

  • Be_Be

    Yes, amazingly, parenting sometimes involves telling your kids they can’t do things they want to do. Explaining to them is good, but sometimes you will have to hold your ground when they’re too young to understand.

    PS- Ask yourself- would you let her apply blackface if Tiana happened to be her favorite princess?

  • allison l.

    Yes, please do start those conversations early. She will be a better person for it.

  • A. MacPherson

    There are plenty of white derogatory words for white, people have just been polite enough not to say them to you lol. But you’re right, the only discrimination white people have to deal with on a daily basis would be socio-economic and if you put them next to a poor (enter ethnicity here) they are suddenly the cream of the poverty crop.

  • Be_Be

    Wow, really? If you stop being oppressed, you’ll stop having a community/culture? Really?

    So how did they have a community before the White Man showed up?

    HINT: The real answer is the being oppressed does often create a sense of solidarity among the oppressed, but there’s plenty of oppression in the world to go around- no one has to make it up. People who say that various minorities are “playing victim” usually just lack the insight to (or the willingness) to SEE that oppression. And then, because of their privilege, they assume that because they can’t see it, it must not be real.

  • A. MacPherson

    *Any of the blog, not the above comments. Very important distinction.

  • lizzie neff

    i’m not going to go into some rant. and i’m not going to feel bad about being white. HOWEVER, when i was a child, my mother let me dress up as an Indian for halloween. she let me do it for a few years, complete with a baby doll strapped to my back in a sling. i can’t hold her responsible for hurting an entire race; back then it wasn’t an issue that was talked about. as i got older, my eyes opened for themselves. i grew aware of the privileges i had based on being white, and i was aware of the ones i didn’t really have because of my gender. with that said, i will not let my children dress like Indians for halloween. they’ll obviously be raised in a household and, hopefully, a culture that is more sensitive to race and gender. they won’t pull the “i’m german/irish/african/mexican/whatever so when you celebrate st patrick’s day/cinco de mayo/whatever it offends me” card. i want my children to be taught sensitivity and to be open minded.

    i can’t change what i was for halloween when i was 6 years old, but at least i have the knowledge and the power to change my own future, as well as have some impact on my family’s.

  • http://newblackwoman.com New Black Woman

    Brilliant post. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • lizzie neff

    i’m not going to go into some rant. and i’m not going to feel bad about being white. HOWEVER, when i was a child, my mother let me dress up as an Indian for halloween. she let me do it for a few years, complete with a baby doll strapped to my back in a sling. i can’t hold her responsible for hurting an entire race; back then it wasn’t an issue that was talked about. as i got older, my eyes opened for themselves. i grew aware of the privileges i had based on being white, and i was aware of the ones i didn’t really have because of my gender. with that said, i will not let my children dress like Indians for halloween. they’ll obviously be raised in a household and, hopefully, a culture that is more sensitive to race and gender. they won’t pull the “i’m german/irish/african/mexican/whatever so when you celebrate st patrick’s day/cinco de mayo/whatever it offends me” card. i want my children to be taught sensitivity and to be open minded.

    i can’t change what i was for halloween when i was 6 years old, but at least i have the knowledge and the power to change my own future, as well as have some impact on my family’s.

  • http://newblackwoman.com/ New Black Woman

    Brilliant post. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Simon

    Hi, I fully agree with you, and this is a brilliant article! Fuck all these comments driven by self-absorbed people who are tired of not feeling sorry for themselves. It’s not about you, so get over it and respect it.

    That said, my cover band is playing a halloween gig and we are all dressing up as the village people. Complete parody of the band, but unfortunately including a stereotypical first nations person. What’s the fine line here? If it’s a clear case of mocking the usage of the stereotype is that ok?

    • Ben

      If you were a black person and came across a “satirically dressed” person in blackface, how would you feel?

  • Simon

    Hi, I fully agree with you, and this is a brilliant article! Fuck all these comments driven by self-absorbed people who are tired of not feeling sorry for themselves. It’s not about you, so get over it and respect it.

    That said, my cover band is playing a halloween gig and we are all dressing up as the village people. Complete parody of the band, but unfortunately including a stereotypical first nations person. What’s the fine line here? If it’s a clear case of mocking the usage of the stereotype is that ok?

  • http://twitter.com/magnetist Maggie Hornick ✔

    Last year for Halloween (before I had even heard of the concept of cultural appropriation), I’m ashamed to say I did in fact dress up as a Native American. I’ve learned a lot in the last year about racial stratification, cultural appropriation, institutional discrimination, etc. I know now that, as a white woman, it was completely unacceptable for me to fetishize Native women and Native culture in such a way. I apologize for my prior ignorance, and I think it’s great that blogs like this exist!

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

      Good for you!

    • lindzanne

      Comments like yours make it worth to read through all the other sludge telling us to just get over it……..good for you and thanks for sharing-it’s hard to talk about our mistakes!!

  • http://twitter.com/magnetist Maggie Hornick ✔

    Last year for Halloween (before I had even heard of the concept of cultural appropriation), I’m ashamed to say I did in fact dress up as a Native American. I’ve learned a lot in the last year about racial stratification, cultural appropriation, institutional discrimination, etc. I know now that, as a white woman, it was completely unacceptable for me to fetishize Native women and Native culture in such a way. I apologize for my prior ignorance, and I think it’s great that blogs like this exist!

  • Shideezhi

    I’m a Navajo. I’m a girl. I’m dressing up as sexy Pocahontas for Halloween. So there.

    • Isla

      Wow, so subversive.

    • RondellWatson

      Do it with Defiance and Grace!

  • Shideezhi

    I’m a Navajo. I’m a girl. I’m dressing up as sexy Pocahontas for Halloween. So there.

  • Coryj711

    it’s actually 7 billion and not even quite there. how could you not understand the logic? i am white and ashamed of people that backlash as you are right now without ANY personal experience to people of color or any other people besides the superior majority. her argument was NOT implying that white people don’t experience the same problems. obviously that is not true nor is it possible statistically speaking. she is talking about the concentration amongst her people according to population size and percent. especially considering most of it if not all of it is a direct result of hundreds years of oppression from people like you and me, white people. i dressed up as pocahontas as a little girl, unaware as a seven year old of the history and it’s implications, BUT as a responsible knowledgeable adult why would i not respect somebody’s feelings and wishes?

  • Brian

    Thanks for posting this. As a white male, it is helpful to know how others experience the world and it enhances my life too. You are making a difference, though seeing some of these comments is frustrating. Keep it up!

  • Brian

    Thanks for posting this. As a white male, it is helpful to know how others experience the world and it enhances my life too. You are making a difference, though seeing some of these comments is frustrating. Keep it up!

  • Moonsetmagic

    Is it only okay for Native Americans to wear those traditional clothes? That isn’t a loaded question, I want to know your opinion. Is it okay for a caucasians to wear them in admiration of the culture, even if it is overly simplified or sexed-up? Is it wrong that I own a pair of Abercrombie and Fitch moccasin-style shoes purely for fashion and comfort? Should those shoes be sacred and exclusive for Native Americans?

    Any time you decide your culture is off limits to humor and parody, you show insecurity in that identity. It is saying that what you come from isn’t strong enough to handle the joke.

    Instead, why not roll with it? There are parodies of all backgrounds and cultures and we should enjoy these with mirth and laughter! The more we can laugh with AND at eachother, the more comfort and ease of integration America will experience. There will always be haters and racists, and we aren’t going to change them by complaining about asinine costumes. Some of those people may be racists mocking your heritage, but please do not jump to that conclusion, merely because they are a different color from you. It is a form of racism in and of itself.

    When male friends make “Get back in the kitchen, woman!” jokes, I laugh and tease back. Why? Because laughing at something proves it has no power over me. I am woman enough to laugh about the sexism of the past and never look back at that hateful past as a shackle on my ankle. A black friend of mine was Black Dynamite for halloween. That’s the pinnacle of racist stereotypes, and you know what? He was mocking it. And he would have laughed if any of our white friends wore the same costume because he has confidence in his color.

    Walking on eggshells is not going to help anyone respect a different ethnicity. The only thing it does is further separate the races. It draws lines in the sand that a majority race cannot cross for fear of being considered a bully.

    I have attended Native American sweat lodges and respect their plight caused by white Americans of the past. Your ancestors had a lot taken away from them. My heritage is a mixture of protestant racists and labor-slave Irish. But we should rise above that and stop separating ourselves with arbitrary lines. Costumes do not matter. Laugh and move on. Pointing fingers and playing victim are not going to help your cause…instead, write to your state representatives about social issues and legislation that is persecuting your people. There IS real racism going on toward your people. Get involved in social movements and do some community service in the name of integrity.

    The best way to change society is to be a shining example of the best of your people. I believe from the way you wrote this that you absolutely have that potential..but this essay will piss off as many people as it will persuade. Do not talk, do. Dress up as a white conservative fundamentalist for Halloween and poke fun at them!

    I hope you don’t feel offended or misunderstood. While I can’t understand your exact position, I can relate from similar ones.

    • jessie

      Yes! This post says exactly what I couldn’t put into words!

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

      Since when is racism parody? It’s illegitimate, as is your argument. To extend your rationale, using the n-word at African Americans in the context of what you consider to be a parody would be ok, and reactions against it would be “sensitive” or “insecure.” No. It is still racist and unacceptable. Costumed mockery and chauvinism is no different just because it’s nonverbal. Mockery is mockery, racism is racism. Have the moral courage to call a duck a duck, and not question the defensiveness of cultures that your culture has attempted to destroy for hundreds of years.

      Furthermore, why are European Americans always dressing as the exotic “other?” Could it perhaps be precisely what you accused other cultures of having–namely, insecurity? Philip Deloria points out that European Americans have a propensity to imitate (often offensively) Native Americans to enact a mythical and false sense of nativeness and to break away from their European roots:

      http://www.amazon.com/Playing-Indian-Yale-Historical-Publications/dp/0300080670

      Also, if you feel that Native Americans are “playing victim,” I invite you to read the statistics on rape rates, suicides, unemployment, and poverty. Or better yet, just go live on a reservation for a month.

    • Whoatheboo

      “Dress up as a white conservative fundamentalist for Halloween and poke fun at them! ” Replace white conservative fundamentalist with “Indian brave/sexy Native maiden” and you got a good example of why a lot of Natives, well not just Natives, but Asians, Mexicans, Inuits, etc, find the whole Halloween costume mockery offensive.

      • Docproper

        No need to, Republicans do that for us every day!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Angela-McLoughlin/100002446110099 Angela McLoughlin

      “…When male friends make “Get back in the kitchen, woman!” jokes, I laugh and tease back. Why? Because laughing at something proves it has no power over me. I am woman enough to laugh about the sexism…”

      It’s one thing when it’s people you know don’t mean it, but do you hear what you’re saying? You are saying that a woman is not “woman enough” if she stands up to gender discrimination. Saying “I don’t let it have power over me” is a silencing tactic that makes it ok for misogynists to say whatever the fuck they want. It’s one thing to have a sense of humor, and another entirely to be an enabler.

      • Neptunyboy

        I wouldn’t say those kitchen jokes were intentionally sexist. They’re obviously good-natured, just like accurate (not “sexy”) Native American costumes are. That’s what I think Moonsetmagic meant.

  • Moonsetmagic

    Is it only okay for Native Americans to wear those traditional clothes? That isn’t a loaded question, I want to know your opinion. Is it okay for a caucasians to wear them in admiration of the culture, even if it is overly simplified or sexed-up? Is it wrong that I own a pair of Abercrombie and Fitch moccasin-style shoes purely for fashion and comfort? Should those shoes be sacred and exclusive for Native Americans?

    Any time you decide your culture is off limits to humor and parody, you show insecurity in that identity. It is saying that what you come from isn’t strong enough to handle the joke.

    Instead, why not roll with it? There are parodies of all backgrounds and cultures and we should enjoy these with mirth and laughter! The more we can laugh with AND at eachother, the more comfort and ease of integration America will experience. There will always be haters and racists, and we aren’t going to change them by complaining about asinine costumes. Some of those people may be racists mocking your heritage, but please do not jump to that conclusion, merely because they are a different color from you. It is a form of racism in and of itself.

    When male friends make “Get back in the kitchen, woman!” jokes, I laugh and tease back. Why? Because laughing at something proves it has no power over me. I am woman enough to laugh about the sexism of the past and never look back at that hateful past as a shackle on my ankle. A black friend of mine was Black Dynamite for halloween. That’s the pinnacle of racist stereotypes, and you know what? He was mocking it. And he would have laughed if any of our white friends wore the same costume because he has confidence in his color.

    Walking on eggshells is not going to help anyone respect a different ethnicity. The only thing it does is further separate the races. It draws lines in the sand that a majority race cannot cross for fear of being considered a bully.

    I have attended Native American sweat lodges and respect their plight caused by white Americans of the past. Your ancestors had a lot taken away from them. My heritage is a mixture of protestant racists and labor-slave Irish. But we should rise above that and stop separating ourselves with arbitrary lines. Costumes do not matter. Laugh and move on. Pointing fingers and playing victim are not going to help your cause…instead, write to your state representatives about social issues and legislation that is persecuting your people. There IS real racism going on toward your people. Get involved in social movements and do some community service in the name of integrity.

    The best way to change society is to be a shining example of the best of your people. I believe from the way you wrote this that you absolutely have that potential..but this essay will piss off as many people as it will persuade. Do not talk, do. Dress up as a white conservative fundamentalist for Halloween and poke fun at them!

    I hope you don’t feel offended or misunderstood. While I can’t understand your exact position, I can relate from similar ones.

  • Brita

    I’d really like to thank you for this post. Just to look at this one thread, the 60-ish comments on it, and the conversations within it… there are a lot of people who are trying to teach, a lot of people who are trying to learn, and a lot of people who aren’t into listening right now. It’s frustrating to read the whole thread. I imagine it’s exhausting to have as a part of your daily life, just walking to work, grabbing a snack with friends, whatever. And then have these moments pop up. Thank you for talking about it here.

    Thank you so much for your blog, for this entry in particular, and for giving us another chance to reconsider when our privileges crash into another person’s rights. It’s not anyone else’s responsibility to teach me to act with compassion and respect, but I appreciate it when people do!

  • Brita

    I’d really like to thank you for this post. Just to look at this one thread, the 60-ish comments on it, and the conversations within it… there are a lot of people who are trying to teach, a lot of people who are trying to learn, and a lot of people who aren’t into listening right now. It’s frustrating to read the whole thread. I imagine it’s exhausting to have as a part of your daily life, just walking to work, grabbing a snack with friends, whatever. And then have these moments pop up. Thank you for talking about it here.

    Thank you so much for your blog, for this entry in particular, and for giving us another chance to reconsider when our privileges crash into another person’s rights. It’s not anyone else’s responsibility to teach me to act with compassion and respect, but I appreciate it when people do!

  • Nicole Tripp

    Fantastic post, and I’m seconding Mellie below – I also grew up without any ideas about privilege until my best friend laid it all out on the table for me one day. Some of us are really, truly trying, and thank you so much for writing this article. Please don’t give up and don’t feel so disheartened – people like you are pushing for change and even though it is painfully, torturously slow, there are people like Mellie and me that are willing to open our eyes, take a step back, and realize that what we’ve been taught to believe is okay really isn’t. We’re trying, and not so we can be buzzword hipsters, but because we really fucking care about you, your people, and all oppressed peoples. Keep up the good fight. Things are changing. I’ll FB post, tweet, and blog about your article.

  • Nicole Tripp

    Fantastic post, and I’m seconding Mellie below – I also grew up without any ideas about privilege until my best friend laid it all out on the table for me one day. Some of us are really, truly trying, and thank you so much for writing this article. Please don’t give up and don’t feel so disheartened – people like you are pushing for change and even though it is painfully, torturously slow, there are people like Mellie and me that are willing to open our eyes, take a step back, and realize that what we’ve been taught to believe is okay really isn’t. We’re trying, and not so we can be buzzword hipsters, but because we really fucking care about you, your people, and all oppressed peoples. Keep up the good fight. Things are changing. I’ll FB post, tweet, and blog about your article.

  • guest

    I wouldn’t let my daughter apply blackface, but I would let her wear her dress/tiara/whatever else a Tiana costume would be.

    We were just talking about this specific issue in class today, and though I’m completely against dressing as “an Indian”, dressing as a specific character/individual is much different than dressing as a stereotype on an entire race. I guess the difference is that Tiana’s outfit isn’t specific to her race while Pocahontas’ is.

  • HCJ

    Reading this blog, I often find myself appalled, intrigued, and discomforted; and I think it does me good. I would like, therefore, to offer my apologies (absolutely sincerely, to discourage any sarcastic misreadings) on behalf of my race. We need to sort our shit out.

    Regards,

    White girl, Wellington, New Zealand.

    • Me and only me

      You do not speak for me nor the entirety of your “race” (btw, White isn’t your race, it is just the color of your skin) so please do not act like you do.
      I will not apologize for being born a white girl with a mish-mash of European and American ancestries.
      Just because I am white and an American does not mean I should be lumped in the pot marked ‘Oppressor’
      That is being racist in my opinion. The poster has many good points in her blog, but to become offend by others for assuming they know anything about her culture or how they feel and then turn around and use that same prejudice against them is ridiculous and only furthers stereotyping on all sides.
      I do not condone the wrongs cast on any human based on race, sex, culture, etc. But to blame those wrongs on a person or persons that hadn’t even been born yet is just as wrong.

  • HCJ

    Reading this blog, I often find myself appalled, intrigued, and discomforted; and I think it does me good. I would like, therefore, to offer my apologies (absolutely sincerely, to discourage any sarcastic misreadings) on behalf of my race. We need to sort our shit out.

    Regards,

    White girl, Wellington, New Zealand.

  • Daniel

    White privilege? Seriously?? Someone studying for their PhD in Boston has more privilege than I’ll ever have. Please refrain from making assumptions about an entire ethnic group…as I recall this is the very definition of racism.

    You do not know the struggles of my ancestors or their persecution or how they were driven off their land. Sound familiar?

    I’m not waiting around for my entitlement…I’m grabbing this life with a strangle-hold and making the best of what I have been given. I suggest you do the same.

    This world does not give a flying crap about ANYONE!

    • Spiral

      Someone studying for their PhD in Boston had to work their ass off to get there as WELL as deal with a society made up of a white majority whose government is STILL working to relegate Natives to the past and destroy their modern presence.

      If you can walk past a cop in the evening knowing that your skin color isn’t going to play a part in they they stop you to talk (if at all) then you enjoy white-privilege.

      It is true that most of us, no matter what race, must fight to find happiness. But it’s a longer road to start on for some compared to others.

  • Daniel

    White privilege? Seriously?? Someone studying for their PhD in Boston has more privilege than I’ll ever have. Please refrain from making assumptions about an entire ethnic group…as I recall this is the very definition of racism.

    You do not know the struggles of my ancestors or their persecution or how they were driven off their land. Sound familiar?

    I’m not waiting around for my entitlement…I’m grabbing this life with a strangle-hold and making the best of what I have been given. I suggest you do the same.

    This world does not give a flying crap about ANYONE!

  • Cass

    I hate how having white skin makes people automatically assume I’m lying when I say that I’m Native. It makes me wish I blended better with my people SIGH anyway I agree completely with this and I’ve seen both sides: people complaining that they should get to wear w/e they want and its not hurting anyone, and people saying its rude and racist. I don’t think theres anything wrong with costumes – what I think is wrong is the stereotypes that culture!costumes push. Mexicans on donkeys, Middle Easterns as terrorists, and Natives in warpaint. Disgusting.

  • Cass

    I hate how having white skin makes people automatically assume I’m lying when I say that I’m Native. It makes me wish I blended better with my people SIGH anyway I agree completely with this and I’ve seen both sides: people complaining that they should get to wear w/e they want and its not hurting anyone, and people saying its rude and racist. I don’t think theres anything wrong with costumes – what I think is wrong is the stereotypes that culture!costumes push. Mexicans on donkeys, Middle Easterns as terrorists, and Natives in warpaint. Disgusting.

  • Blank Name

    you are awesome! no, really. 100 points for being you. know what those 100 points get you?!

    you can trade them in for a discount on your ticket to hell.

  • sickerthan

    thank you so much for this, your writing always says what i’m too angry to convey on my own.

  • sickerthan

    thank you so much for this, your writing always says what i’m too angry to convey on my own.

  • WIll

    She says she’s not being whiny and oversensitive, but then she make egregious statements like, “Is your night of drunken revelry really worth subjugating an entire group of people?”. Really? I am subjugating an entire race with a costume?

    Besides, people aren’t dressing up as Indians (first nation, native americans, whatever is socially acceptable these days), they dress up as the fictitious movie characters like Pocahontas or some invention from Dances With Wolves. If I wanted to dress like an indian, I’d wear a t-shirt, some jeans, some work boots, and carry a beer with me at all times.

    I know you have to walk a line between cultures, and I know it’s difficult being a marginalized misunderstood minority, but I really believe this is a weak argument. I hope you reconsider your position OR come up a better argument. Cynicism and name-calling with blatant hyperbole isn’t going to convince anyone, it will just get the people that already agree to pat your back.

    • Whoatheboo

      Funny I don’t “carry a beer with me at all times” and neither do any of my relatives on and off the rez. I guess thats how you see ALL Natives? Sounds so ignorant….

    • Diamond C. Moebus

      Pssst…. your racism is showing….

    • 10100111001

      Carry a beer with me? Am I missing my beer? OH RIGHT, Im mohawk so I MUST BE AN ALCOHOLIC. Bite me.

    • Whoatheboo

      Wait a minute, what I meant to say is IT IS IGNORANT!

  • WIll

    She says she’s not being whiny and oversensitive, but then she make egregious statements like, “Is your night of drunken revelry really worth subjugating an entire group of people?”. Really? I am subjugating an entire race with a costume?

    Besides, people aren’t dressing up as Indians (first nation, native americans, whatever is socially acceptable these days), they dress up as the fictitious movie characters like Pocahontas or some invention from Dances With Wolves. If I wanted to dress like an indian, I’d wear a t-shirt, some jeans, some work boots, and carry a beer with me at all times.

    I know you have to walk a line between cultures, and I know it’s difficult being a marginalized misunderstood minority, but I really believe this is a weak argument. I hope you reconsider your position OR come up a better argument. Cynicism and name-calling with blatant hyperbole isn’t going to convince anyone, it will just get the people that already agree to pat your back.

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

    You should GO to a Reservation instead of mockingly urging people to leave them. Punks like you don’t last a day in places like that, for all your wannabe tough attitudes.

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

    Good for you!

  • jessie

    Yes! This post says exactly what I couldn’t put into words!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tatpeck Tatianna Peck

    Adrienne K.
    I’ve been tracing the arguments, the privilege defending, the rage exploding in the comment threads connected to the many articles asking people to consider the impact of their costumes. And I just want to say I’m sorry. So many of the comments are painful. Your post really articulates that pain, and the frustration at those oft-repeated responses: “get over it” or “you’re being too sensitive” or “why do some people choose to get offended at everything.” I want to give you a hug. I want to give everyone a hug. I want my biracial self to somehow be a bridge, and help people understand how and why these “everyday traumas” hurt so badly…but as you noted, being forced into the position of “teacher” is exhausting. Having to constantly defend the idea that you should be respected, and that your pain should be recognized as significant, is exhausting. When will it be enough to say “you’re hurting me,” as you have done, and be honored?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tatpeck Tatianna Peck

    Adrienne K.
    I’ve been tracing the arguments, the privilege defending, the rage exploding in the comment threads connected to the many articles asking people to consider the impact of their costumes. And I just want to say I’m sorry. So many of the comments are painful. Your post really articulates that pain, and the frustration at those oft-repeated responses: “get over it” or “you’re being too sensitive” or “why do some people choose to get offended at everything.” I want to give you a hug. I want to give everyone a hug. I want my biracial self to somehow be a bridge, and help people understand how and why these “everyday traumas” hurt so badly…but as you noted, being forced into the position of “teacher” is exhausting. Having to constantly defend the idea that you should be respected, and that your pain should be recognized as significant, is exhausting. When will it be enough to say “you’re hurting me,” as you have done, and be honored?

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

    Since when is racism parody? It’s illegitimate, as is your argument. To extend your rationale, using the n-word at African Americans in the context of what you consider to be a parody would be ok, and reactions against it would be “sensitive” or “insecure.” No. It is still racist and unacceptable. Costumed mockery and chauvinism is no different just because it’s nonverbal. Mockery is mockery, racism is racism. Have the moral courage to call a duck a duck, and show respect to cultures that your culture has attempted to destroy for hundreds of years.

  • lindzanne

    Comments like yours make it worth to read through all the other sludge telling us to just get over it……..good for you and thanks for sharing-it’s hard to talk about our mistakes!!

  • Whoatheboo

    Funny I don’t “carry a beer with me at all times” and neither do any of my relatives on and off the rez. I guess thats how you see ALL Natives? Sounds so ignorant….

  • Whoatheboo

    “Dress up as a white conservative fundamentalist for Halloween and poke fun at them! ” Replace white conservative fundamentalist with “Indian brave/sexy Native maiden” and you got a good example of why a lot of Natives, well not just Natives, but Asians, Mexicans, Inuits, etc, find the whole Halloween costume mockery offensive.

  • Docproper

    No need to, Republicans do that for us every day!

  • r. bruneau

    sorry, but I think you are incredibly insensitive to what this person had to say. how about you quit focusing on yourself for one minute, and look at it from her perspective?

  • r. bruneau

    Thank you. I am from the Shuswap nation on my mother’s side and French on my dad’s side of the family. I am really disgusted at what “LeRequin” has to say. Being from blended cultures I have had a wonderful opportunity to have first hand knowledge of both of my cultures. I have a great respect for all people and love learning about other people and places. I am sad that others can not be interested in exploring how others feel or think. To understand someone, all you need to do is listen with an open mind and a compassionate heart. I believe that perhaps LeRequin needs further education, or some open minded companions to help him in his life’s journey.

  • Spiral

    Someone studying for their PhD in Boston had to work their ass off to get there as WELL as deal with a society made up of a white majority whose government is STILL working to relegate Natives to the past and destroy their modern presence.

    If you can walk past a cop in the evening knowing that your skin color isn’t going to play a part in they they stop you to talk (if at all) then you enjoy white-privilege.

    It is true that most of us, no matter what race, must fight to find happiness. But it’s a longer road to start on for some compared to others.

  • Tripp

    …It’s really not that different when the ‘character’ you’re referring to is a super-sexualized version of a 12 yr old girl who was stolen and brainwashed, a historical figure warped for the sake of making a pretty onscreen fiction for children raised in a culture that makes it a point to keep them from learning about the horrors done to Native cultures as well as ongoing issues faced by Natives everywhere.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jules-McWyrm/1662074906 Jules McWyrm

    Hey.

    I have a 3 yr old son. Last year he dressed as a cowboy and this year as a pirate.

    Suppose next year he asks to dress up as a character from Pocahontas. Do I talk him out of it? Is there some way for him to dress up w/o being offensive?

    I do not mean to be contrarian – I am legitimately interested in your input on this.

    • 10100111001

      a cowboy is an occupation. a pirate (ok its an illegal one) is an occupation too. Being an indigenous is not an occupation.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jules-McWyrm/1662074906 Jules McWyrm

        I understand that, but dressing as a specific individual isn’t the same as dressing as “an indigenous”. Is there no way to pull it off?

        I know there’s no clear analogy to be drawn, but I can picture a Bill Cosby costume, sans blackface of course, that I would *think* ought to be okay. What do you think?

        • 10100111001

          Bill Cosby, a wacky sweater which HE is known for and a Jello pudding pop which HE was a spokes person for would be a Cosby costume.

          However, how would you do a pochantas costume? are you going to go disney? that is based on stereotypes, stereotypes that are completely racist. And Disney pochantas is problematic. If you go with non disney are …

          Are you familiar with pohatawan dress? Do you know what is regalia (no you cant wear) and what is every day wear (yes you can wear)? Do you realize that she was 12 and probably before her meneses, and more than likely naked in the summer? Or are you going to dress like Rebecca Rolfe… as she was known after her marriage? because then the person would only look like a victorian lady.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jules-McWyrm/1662074906 Jules McWyrm

            I have a son so I was anticipating Kocoum more than Pochantas but you never know.

            A more appealing scenario – to me, anyway – would be if he requested to dress as a specific historical figure, not some character he encountered in a movie. And then – yeah, I’d research the appropriate costume with him and so forth.

            In all honesty, while I’ve been aware of asshole college students for some time this is the first season I’ve ever given this issue any thought at all as it relates to my son’s costumes.

            Thank you for your input on this. I’ve read through the comments on this thread and there’s obviously a great deal of emotion and a whole bunch of assholes weighing in. Thank you for taking the time to respond to me. I really liked your Ira Hayes idea.

            • 10100111001

              :-)

        • 10100111001

          I just thought of an example of dressing liking a specific person who happens to be indigenous that shouldnt piss anyone off: Ira Hayes. WW2 usmc fatigues and an american flag with a name tag “HAYES”.

          I lean Dont put any feathers, or spray tan, or anything else stereotypical that he wouldn’t be wearing for the reasons he became famous…

          That would be cool.

      • Mohnish

        What about people dressing like hillbillies? That’s not an occupation.
        Or the homeless?
        And cowboys are more a culture than an occupation. I can only assume you have never been to Texas.

        • 10100111001

          Hill Billys, white trash, homeless costumes are not racist, but classist and tacky. Oh yay! Lets make fun of poor people!

          And there is an occupation called a cowboy. And I lived in texas.

          • Mohnish

            So start a blog complaining about that then. Jeez. You do not have a right to not be offended!!

            And I like how you are campaigning against supposedly offensive Halloween costumes, but have no problem saying the phrase “white trash”.

            I recommend a good look in the mirror.

            • 10100111001

              I was incorporating my responds to you with another poster who used the term white trash. And I said that dressing in thoses “costumes” are a BAD IDEA. Incase you didn’t understand the sarcasm of “yay! let’s make fun of poor people.”

              You lack critical reading skills.

        • RondellWatson

          Hey, Mohnish.. If you have ever been “outdoors” for any extended period of time you’d find it is an occupation. I mean there are a lot of logistical and sanitary issues to deal with along with safety and securing of whatever property you do have to protect. Although, i would have to agree that there is an element of a culture to it.. definite do’s and don’ts. I reluctantly beat an old man with a car antennae while panhandling on the I-10 in downtown Phoenix. I did not want to, but had to since he took my spot in the rotation. If i didn’t i risked losing my spot to anyone who wanted it. Its the way of the streets. I have since incorporated that hard lesson into the corporate environs i now find myself in.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jules-McWyrm/1662074906 Jules McWyrm

    Hey.

    I have a 3 yr old son. Last year he dressed as a cowboy and this year as a pirate.

    Suppose next year he asks to dress up as a character from Pocahontas. Do I talk him out of it? Is there some way for him to dress up w/o being offensive?

    I do not mean to be contrarian – I am legitimately interested in your input on this.

  • Toddrodd

    LeRequin’s response in a short nutshell….:

    IMMA DO WHAT I WANT AND GET OVER IT!!11!!!11oneoneBBQ!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Cluisanna Cluisanna

    “So, because in America whites are a majority, they have to pay unreciprocated respect to minority cultures …”
    Yes. Yes, exactly. Just because you think people shouldn’t be offended by something, doesn’t mean they aren’t offended and hurt.
    This isn’t some game where someone does something innocent and people are happy because they have something to be offended about – this is about real people feeling hurt about your disregard of their culture. What you are essentially saying is: “I don’t care if it hurts you, I want to have fun.”

    Also, just because you have accepted to be made fun of because of your heritage, doesn’t mean everybody is okay with being the laughing stock of ignorant people.
    “because I know, it’s a point of humour and no one thinks any less of me as a person because my family comes from France.”
    I assure you, there are people that think lesser of you because you are French, but that is not even the point – the point is that there are a lot of people, especially Americans, who think of Native Americans as either spiritual healers or drunks and poors. Do you think that’s not hurtful and harmful?

    “When you are mad that “white” people wear such-and-such a thing, you are being just as racist as anyone else.”
    Excuse me? Just because the majority of people who do something that is disrespectful and hurtful has a certain skin colour doesn’t mean it’s racism to point out that behaviour.

    “You cannot claim to know the reasons that anyone wears a certain jewelry, or a headdress. At which point does a feathered hair decoration become a “headdress”? When does jewelry made with turquoise become something off-limits? You can’t claim every material and idea just because someone within your history used it or had it.”
    Fortunately, many people go to great lengths to point out they are plagiarizing and stealing and ridiculing Native American fashion and art. I don’t think people would get offended if you wore a turquoise ring or a hat with a feather in it, but if you *say* you are dressing up as a Native American, it’s pretty clear that you have crossed that line you are drawing.

    “And certainly don’t claim that your culture is or was any more oppressed than many other cultures before and after it.”
    I don’t think Native Americans claim they are oppressed more than other people of color, for instance, but what is your point? That oppression is normal and they (and everybody who thinks it’s wrong, too) shouldn’t complain about it? Funny, it seems you are saying that from a position of power that allows you to wave away those complains. I wonder what you would be saying if you were the one being disenfranchised and marginalized.

    “Seriously, this is how retarded you sound.”
    And the topping on the cake: Ableism! Yay!

    Seriously, stop acting like how you feel about something is how everybody should feel about something and maybe take the time to try to see their point of view.

  • http://twitter.com/Cluisanna Cluisanna

    Do the people that are responding with “stop being offended” and the likes actually realize what they are saying? It all comes down to:
    “I don’t care if this hurts you(, I want to have fun.)”
    It is just blatant disregard for the feelings of other people.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jules-McWyrm/1662074906 Jules McWyrm

      This is probably true at some level. Some people are offended when I wear leather, but I’m not going to throw out my belt and boots.

      As a general rule I don’t want to hurt or offend people. But there’s a limit. Personally I think wearing Halloween costumes straddles that limit. I don’t want to hurt people, but I’m not going to be bound by the sensibilities of the most sensitive people out there. I take the concerns expressed in this article seriously, but there are several groups who might express similar concerns to whom I’d say “Get over it. I don’t care if this hurts you, I want to have fun.” For instance, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could dig up an German person who really was offended by folks wearing Lederhosen (and I’m quite certain there are Scandinavian groups upset about folks dressing as Vikings, and various Christian groups are upset about everything, all the time), but I honestly wouldn’t care.

      One of the STARS posters shows an Asian woman holding a picture of someone dressed as a geisha. If geisha is offensive I’d expect that ninja, samurai, matador, mariachi etc etc would also be beyond the pale. Do you think they should be?

      Once in highschool I went as a priest – nothing racy, just a black suit jacket and a roman collar. I’m not Catholic and that may well have offended some Catholics. I’d probably wouldn’t dress like that again.

      • Erikakharada

        “If geisha is offensive I’d expect that ninja, samurai, matador, mariachi etc etc would also be beyond the pale. Do you think they should be? ”

        If they’re caricatures, like that shitty “geisha” costume example? I think that is pretty gross.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jules-McWyrm/1662074906 Jules McWyrm

          Tell me, please – how do you caricature a ninja? A matador? A mariachi?

          • BaritGT

            By dressing as one when you are not on Halloween? All three carry historical/cultural weight, and people from those respective cultures take them seriously.
            What I mean is, if you are a clerk at a 7-11 and you dress up as a matador, Spaniards might take offence. They would have be particularly serious minded and sensitive Spaniards, but still. It is possible to caricature a ninja, matador, a mariachi, a samurai, and even a cowboy. Should people be deeply offended by it? Maybe, but not much.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kaliane-Moloch/100000708838432 Kaliane Moloch

        Given the behaviour of priests to little children at least in Ireland…I’d say dressing as one to be scary is spot on!!

      • http://www.facebook.com/mollyezmerellda Jazzy Lathering

        I think it has more to do with the fact that Native American’s have been oppressed for centuries, whereas Catholics haven’t been. The same for matadors. Apart from the obvious animal rights issue, a matador costume doesn’t immediately offer a judgement on an entire culture, nor has that culture suffered the same as Native Americans. Geisha’s could be seen as offensive due to any number of stereotypes of Asian femininity, whereas Samurai/ninja’s are generally just seen as pretty awesome (like in kids programs- Samurai Jack- and loads of martial arts films.) Not to say that Asian masculinity isn’t degraded, but the image of samurai/ninja isn’t (to my knowledge) as explicitly linked to those negative stereotypes. (Of course, this is relative privilege. Samurai are not held in the same position of respect in western culture as they were originally.)

        But yeah, when the costume is linked to degrading stereotypes of real people, and is implicit in vanishing or harming the general view of a culture, then it becomes more problematic. Privilege is really the most important part of this argument. Western European culture (and it’s colonial branches) doesn’t have a problem with being taken seriously. It’s in a position of power and privilege, and so (in most cases) dressing up as some part of that isn’t an issue.

    • RachelB

      Yes. I pretty much interpret all the “stop being offended!” responses as “I have the right to be an asshole to everyone who has told me that my behavior is hurtful!”

      Well, people have the legal right to be assholes who act as if sexism, racism, and colonialism are solved problems (news flash: they’re not). But it doesn’t say much for their decency if that is the particular right they are most excited about defending.

  • http://twitter.com/Cluisanna Cluisanna

    Do the people that are responding with “stop being offended” and the likes actually realize what they are saying? It all comes down to:
    “I don’t care if this hurts you(, I want to have fun.)”
    It is just blatant disregard for the feelings of other people.

  • 10100111001

    a cowboy is an occupation. a pirate (ok its an illegal one) is an occupation too. Being an indigenous is not an occupation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jules-McWyrm/1662074906 Jules McWyrm

    This is probably true at some level. Some people are offended when I wear leather, but I’m not going to throw out my belt and boots.

    As a general rule I don’t want to hurt or offend people. But there’s a limit. Personally I think wearing Halloween costumes straddles that limit. For instance, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could dig up an German person who really was offended by folks wearing Lederhosen, but I honestly wouldn’t care. I don’t want to hurt people, but I’m not going to be bound by the sensibilities of the most sensitive people out there.

    One of the STARS posters shows an Asian woman holding a picture of someone dressed as a geisha. If geisha is offensive I’d expect that ninja, samurai, matador, mariachi etc etc would also be beyond the pale. Do you think they should be?

    Once in highschool I went as a priest – nothing racy, just a black suit jacket and a roman collar. I’m not Catholic and that may well have offended some Catholics. I’d probably wouldn’t dress like that again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jules-McWyrm/1662074906 Jules McWyrm

    I understand that, but dressing as a specific individual isn’t the same as dressing as “an indigenous”. Is there no way to pull it off?

    I know there’s no clear analogy to be drawn, but I can picture a Bill Cosby costume, sans blackface of course, that I would *think* ought to be okay. What do you think?

  • BettyFokker

    Wow. The last time I saw racism and the defense of white privilege so blatant I was having to research Aryan Nation.

  • BettyFokker

    I agree with what you are saying, and not defending racist asshats in any way, but white poverty in Appalachia is really freaking scary … and as endemic and systematic as the stuff happening to minorities. So not all white poverty is the same.

  • Jenny M

    Great post. I agree with you.

  • Jenny M

    Great post. I agree with you.

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

    Couldn’t agree with you more. What puzzles me is no-one speaks up against male appropriation of female culture. Except this woman:

    http://radicalfeministcrafts.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/helpful-sensitive-liberal-bro-hints-for-this-halloween-season/

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

    Couldn’t agree with you more. What puzzles me is no-one speaks up against male appropriation of female culture. Except this woman:

    http://radicalfeministcrafts.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/helpful-sensitive-liberal-bro-hints-for-this-halloween-season/

  • Marlon Magdalena

    Excellent post!! I will repost on my blog if thats ok.

  • Marlon Magdalena

    Excellent post!! I will repost on my blog if thats ok.

  • 10100111001

    Bill Cosby, a wacky sweater which HE is known for and a Jello pudding pop which HE was a spokes person for would be a Cosby costume.

    However, how would you do a pochantas costume? are you going to go disney? that is based on stereotypes, stereotypes that are completely racist. And Disney pochantas is problematic. If you go with non disney are …

    Are you familiar with pohatawan dress? Do you know what is regalia (no you cant wear) and what is every day wear (yes you can wear)? Do you realize that she was 12 and probably before her meneses, and more than likely naked in the summer? Or are you going to dress like Rebecca Rolfe… as she was known after her marriage? because then the person would only look like a victorian lady.

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

    I note most, if not all, of the defenders of racist and sexist cultural appropriation are MEN. They just won’t take NO for an answer.

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

    I note most, if not all, of the defenders of racist and sexist cultural appropriation are MEN. They just won’t take NO for an answer.

  • Mohnish

    Your point about wanting seemingly ‘entitled’ to just realize how offensive they are being sounds awfully entitled to me.
    I would love to see how statistics on how people dressing as Native Americans on Halloween is contributing directly to the problems you cite with Native American communities. Or how it is even negatively affecting perceptions of Native Americans. You have provided no such statistics. In fact, on your point about the Washington Redskins, a quick Wikipedia search pointed me to an Annenberg Center poll from the University of Maryland that shows 91% of Native Americans find nothing to complain about in regard to their name.
    So until I see real statistics I am forced to conclude that your complaints are not “well reasoned” as you claim they are. They are simply a long, emotional diatribe, albeit a well written one.
    By the way, I am Indian. Like, from India. Should I be offended that the word ‘Indian’ has been appropriated to describe native or indigenous people of all stripes?
    And if I am, so what?

    • Mohnish
      • Whoatheboo

        That sounds like bullshit! I highly doubt “91% of the Native American population” polled in on that. You really believe in these stupid polls? You can’t base facts off of polls because a lot of them are corporate sponsored, govt sponsored, or they’re done to show a misleading figure.

        • Mohnish

          They have given us the polling methodology. If you find something to criticize there, by all means do so. But do so based on fact. Not just because you happen to doubt it. Polls are a perfectly scientific way of gathering statistical data. The accuracy of polling can only be in doubt if the methodology is faulty. So again, if you think the poll is wrong I invite you to question it based on fact.
          However, until then it seems that the majority of Native American peoples do not care about issues such as Halloween costumes and the Washington Redskins. There are real problems out there, as RondellWatson pointed out. I will fight alongside you for your right to a better life. However, I will not fight for you to not be offended, since that is not a right.

          • lexsswu

            I’m afraid I don’t understand the last part of your comment – ‘I will not fight for you not to be offended, since that is not a right’. Do you mean that Whoatheboo and others do not have a ‘right’ to be hurt by this issue and/or your (and others’) reactions to it? Please do clarify – but this portion is incidental to your overall argument, which is that objective statistics are somehow prerequisites of objection to racial caricatures in Halloween costumes.

            The argument that hurt must be backed up by facts or logic is, frankly, horrifying. When a member of an oppressed community makes a claim that a practice like this hurts them, the response should never be ‘prove it’.

            • 8mph Ansible

              Agreed. If that is what he means then that’s some seriously heinous bullshitery right there.

            • Milesmanners

              I don’t see why you have such a hard time understanding this:

              You do not have the right to not be offended.

          • Whoatheboo

            Let me clarify the reply I posted earlier: Nobody should do polls like that unless they go around and interview every single Native or whatever issue or ethnicity/race you are. You should never publish a poll like that unless you take the general consensus of the entire group of whatever race/issue, because otherwise it taints the results and they aren’t correct whatsoever. Just because joe blow decides to pull a ballpark figure out of his asshole doesn’t mean we need to take that as gold.

            “There are real problems out there, as RondellWatson pointed out.I will fight alongside you for your right to a better life. However, I will not fight for you to not be offended, since that is not a right.”

            I know “there are real problems out there” what this article talks about happens to be a REAL PROBLEM. The fact that the vast majority of the American population thinks that this type of crap is “FUN” and acceptable is a real problem. An the fact that you’re telling me that I don’t have a right to be offended or that someone needs to provide a link to a poll, to make that persons opinion/eye-witnessed experiences accurate, believable or true, is just wrong. An I just realized that I’m wasting my time replying to someone who doesn’t and probably won’t understand what I or anybody else is trying to say or convey…. But if it was conducted in a poll you’d believe it. How dumb.

            • Whoatheboo

              A poll that was conducted 7-8 years ago!!

      • 8mph Ansible

        Really not seeing much here beyond some abstract.

    • Whoatheboo

      I don’t like being called “Indian” and I know a lot of Natives that don’t like being called or labeled as “Indian” either. When people ask me what ethnicity/race I am, I say “Osage, White Mountain Apache, Pani, Euchee”, not Indian. I know the vast majority of the U.S. and the world still call us “Indians”. I never understood why, even in school- SCHOOL of all places- I never understood why? Why should we still be victims of a sociopaths mistake? Thats why when people ask, “What are you?” I don’t tell them I’m “Indian”, I reply with the respective tribes that I am descended from.

      • PhotoJoe

        I feel the same about the term “white man”. I decended from Swedish, Welsh, and German and find the term “white man” to be ignorant. Sadly, stereotypes are here to stay, on both sides of the fence.

        • Whoatheboo

          I agree with you. I don’t like that term either, its so corny….

    • RondellWatson

      Not that I 100% agree, but, coming off the reservation to the University of Wisconsin I was amazed how “oppressed” I was. Until then I really didn’t even know about all the issues that were supposed be eating away at my self esteem and hindering my success. And, as a Native from a reservation, i am not offended by these articles, but do feel in trivializes some of the real issues i had growing up like decent jobs being available, good teachers and having access to decent doctors and dentists.
      I think what one has to keep in mind is that most of the Natives that write these posts are usually English/Native American Studies grad students. Its kinda their thing to write about these issues. Sort of goes to that “if you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail” analogy. I don’t fault them for doing their job and being vigilant in protecting our image and exploring these issues. However, I just wish the Ivy League and higher education in general was turning out more MD’s, CFO, COO, CEO and Entrepreneurial types. Our economies are changing for the better and we need a more diverse talent pool so that we can truly assert control the businesses and industries that our forefathers/mothers fought for us to have.

      • Mohnish

        I wholeheartedly agree!

      • atrebla

        No thanks, man. No thanks.

    • Clementine

      Entitlement = the official right to have or do something.

      As a person Indigenous descent (from this continent) I believe Adrienne has the RIGHT to speak her mind about the offensive “Indian” costumes individuals wear on Halloween. She is entitled to stand up against and obviously acknowledges her own privilege.
      As from your “poll” from wikipidia (which was probably written by a nonnative person), I find to be inaccurate. There have been RECENT studies done by Indigenous scholars about the negative influences of mascots. Please look over Stephanie A. Fryberg articles titled “Of Warrior Chiefs and Indian Princesses: The Psychological Consequences of American Indian Mascots” that clearly states these mascots ARE negative. Now, it’s not exactly Halloween costumes, but it’s practically the same thing.

      http://psych.stanford.edu/~mcslab/PublicationPDFs/Of%20warrior%20chiefs%20and%20Indian%20princesses.pdf

      • 10100111001

        “Dancing at halftime” is also a good book, deared towards mass market vs. academia.

    • 8mph Ansible

      Well if you want statistics as proof then you can, I dun know, use something called the internet and look it up for yourself rather than have someone do it for ya. And while you’re at it maybe try something a little harder than ONE wikipedia link that you neither supplied a source to and somehow applies to all Natives, mr. evidence.

  • M. Specialfxlady

    Hurrrr. I was having a conversation this week about blackface, intentional or unintentional as an artform and whether or not it was ok. I really had this conversation, just this week, here in 2011. Really.

    So this post is right on time. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zfulwilder Zoar Fulwilder

    Ha! this reminds me of the Halloween some of my friends(girls) decided to dress up like AIM and ended up pissing off a bunch of Chicana girls who misunderstood the costumes. After a lot of discussion about who was more oppressed we all reconciled, had a laugh and later more drinks over the misunderstanding. I was, however, disappointed that the passionate discussion didn’t end in any open mouthed kisses.

  • Itacawin

    The fact that this still needs to be addressed is ridiculous. And the sheer number of racist, apologist, and blatantly ignorant comments floating around the internet is incredibly depressing. I cannot for the life of me see how this can be construed as anything but wrong.

    Why can’t Native Americans just “get over it?” Because the Indian Wars never ended. The horrors of the US government’s genocidal/assimilation policies are still fresh. Why? Because they are ongoing. NPR just did an investigation on Native kids in South Dakota being taken away from their families in huge numbers and placed in foster care, all for the sake of more government funding: http://www.npr.org/2011/10/25/141672992/native-foster-care-lost-children-shattered-families. Diane Sawyer’s crew spent 18 months filming on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/hidden-america-children-plains-14708439#.TpRwMXWGwYl.facebook), and it wasn’t because life for Native Americans today is a barrel of laughs. The fact that a place like Pine Ridge exists in this country should throw these faux-headdress apologists for a loop, and yet I am told that I should “move on,” to “take a joke,” or worst of all, to be “flattered” by it.

    I am the great-granddaughter of a woman who survived the Wounded Knee Massacre by crawling along a creek bed with her little sisters as her parents were shot and killed. She later died of tuberculosis. My grandfather was raised in a missionary orphanage and enlisted in World War II so that he could support his siblings. My father also went to a missionary school and was told in kindergarten that he was not allowed to speak Lakota and would have to cut his long hair. Those that refused to assimilate were punished, humiliated. During my father’s childhood, a Native American man was beaten to death in a border town and his murderer’s sentence was a day in jail. His cousin was unknowingly sterilized by Indian Health Services when she went in for a simple operation. A Lakota man was sent to prison for holding a traditional Sundance. This was the norm. There are a thousand other stories like these.

    So, yes, why can’t I move on? Because what happened to my parents and grandparents affected the way that I was raised, the community that I was raised in. Why can’t I move on? Because I grew up in horrible poverty on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, lost more friends and relatives to suicide than seems plausible, and was raped and left to die in a field when I was 20. My rapist was sentenced to 3 years in a low-security prison (thank you, US Department of Justice). Do I believe his sentence would have been harsher had it happened to a white woman? Hell yes. Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to be raped than other ethnic groups. This means that 1 in 3 Native American women will be sexually assaulted/abused in her lifetime. Why can’t I laugh along with the hipsters? Because what has kept me going, what has kept my father going, is the strength found in our family, our spirituality, and in our culture.

    Native Americans have fought hard to be allowed to have cultural identity — a basic right that was outlawed by the government until relatively recently. So yes, seeing a spray-tan sexy Pocahontas raising her hand in “hau” is more than an annoyance. It trivializes the fight that my parents and grandparents devoted their lives to. It trivializes my life and my sense of self. And I refuse to believe that any decent person would tell me to move on, to get over it, or to be flattered by it. My great-grandmother is not a Halloween costume. This shouldn’t be so hard to understand.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kaliane-Moloch/100000708838432 Kaliane Moloch

      I’m so sorry you and those you care about went through all this.

      A day in jail for beating a man to death? What in the name of….?

    • Whoatheboo

      You said and wrote all the things that I couldn’t…. You conveyed a message that I could not find the words nor patience to express about this issue and to the people that write the stupid “GET OVER IT!!” comments.

    • Capandwich San

      This severely affects me. It shouldn’t be that hard to understand. Halloween is so entirely misunderstood (thanks, consumerism) as the holiday it is supposed to represent, never mind what egotistical, vain, or horrific atrocities people want to don on themselves. It is supposed to be an anniversary to honor those that have passed on; to honor the spirit of life which brings about death and rebirth. I forget what it must be like for other cultures… even cultures I happen to be related to by blood. I am mostly Irish, descended from an Irish king who followed (pre-christian/pagan rituals)….. But, I am also descended from the Iroquois nation, by six generations. My great-great-great-great-great grandmother was of full native descent. That is something I am extremely proud of (I wish I weren’t so far away in the family tree), though I have been trying to trace that part of my family for a few years now and have had no luck. Regardless, there is too much ignorance when it comes to what is portrayed through our actions. People easily get too caught up in the hype of what seems to be the thing to do, not realizing the detriment of their actions on other people or groups of people. Your great-grandmother is certainly not a Halloween costume, neither should any one race or stereo-type of any particular kind of person. Unfortunately, these humans we find ourselves living with are still naive and ignorant in their understanding. None of us are really truly exempt. Forgiving mankind in their shortcomings is hard, especially when every which way you look there is narrow-mindedness, but remembering the roots that have made each one of us unique keeps that vitality alive. I’m not trying to discount what you are saying in any way. It is completely valid, I’m just relating it to the pile of things that “should be” easily understood. Even though I want to know every hardship the native side of my family endured in the scheme of this country’s political and money-hungry rise to control, I know I can’t ever know what it was like truly for any of the many of them. But, the roots are there within me… they always will be. Those are things that the spirit can’t forget…my spirit can’t forget. Roots dig deep for a reason…. Someday, people will understand one another again…. and we will all wake up and remember to be kind to each other.

    • Milesmanners

      What do the rape statistics say about the race of the perpetrator?

      • Shinaabikwe

        At least 88% Non-Native. Source: “US Dept of Justice Study, Maze of Injustice” Also read, Bruce Duthu’s NYT opnion piece, Broken Justice

      • 10100111001

        90% of rapes of native americans are committed by someone that is NOT native american

    • Dicky
      • Dicky

        pathetic.

  • guest

    Wow, there are some really stupid and racist people posting comments here.

  • MG

    I agree with your argument, but please don’t assume that just because someone is “white” they aren’t faced with the same issues you are faced with. Poverty, alcoholism, domestic violence, etc are problems that every person within this country faces, no matter what their socially constructed “race” is. I also think your argument would be a LOT stronger if you were to personalize it instead of pushing white people out, therefore Othering yourself. Yes, we might have different cultures, but instead of saying “I face these things, you do not”, maybe open your mind up a little and see that every “race” has fictionalized stereotypes.

  • SaxyScrabbleBoard

    > You are (most likely) a white person.

    I agree with you 100%, but you undermine your argument against stereotyping by stereotyping your audience.

    And if I was A) a white person and B) remotely concerned that I would be offending somebody with my possibly racist Halloween costume, I would have stopped reading after you presumed to know everything about my life.

    That said, I’m totally going as the sexy scrabble board.

  • Frida?

    Question: I’m planning on going as Frida Kahlo, basically just colorful clothes, lots of flowers and jewelery, paintbrushes, and enhanced eyebrows. It’s not hyper-sexualized or exaggerated in any way. Racist?

    • http://slates.wildfireweb.com/1744527638 Jack Skye

      If you’re going as a specific person and not doing the black/brown face thing or contributing to racist stereotypes than I don’t think it’s racist at all. I’ve thought of going as Firda Kahlo before, I love her work, and learning about her in highschool helped me embrace my mustache.

  • Manicbranic

    Interesting that you make the assumption that anyone who disagrees with you cannot be a critical thinker. Nobody owes your undergrads a good ‘college experience’, especially if your definition of what that is requires people to limit their choices based on what you choose to interpret their action to mean. Your choice of interpretations, that is, your refusal to discern harmless actions from oppressive ones, is what is dangerous about your opinion, and trivialises what your people, as well as other colonised people over the world experienced, more than any white girl wearing a dress.

    • http://slates.wildfireweb.com/1744527638 Jack Skye

      actually I think your refusal to see when actions are harmful and oppressive, even after those harmed by them explain it to you, is doing the most to trivialize the experiences of colonized peoples.

      • GreenEightBall

        Everything trivial on Halloween jackass. It should be the name of the fucking day. Doesn’t mean I’m going to wake up the next day and feel differently towards the traditions of a Native. What about films? People that dress as Nuns? Police? All different cultures. Should we ban these too? Your thinking process is oppressive.

        • http://slates.wildfireweb.com/1744527638 Jack Skye

          Since when is a costume of a religious order of one of the most powerful religions in the world or an occupation which regularly gives people a sense of authority and power over others, equatable to a caricature of someone’s race, particularly when tied to a history of dis-empowerment and oppression? Your analogy doesn’t make sense. You also clearly lack reading comprehension skills as people are not pointing out the triviality of Halloween as the main problem, the blog and many of the commentators have repeatedly explained why the stereotypes included in the costumes are racist and harmful. Your hostility towards me for speaking out against something which has harmed me makes little sense. It causes no harm and takes little effort for people to simply not do racist things. Dressing as a racist caricature reinforces harmful stereotypes. Or maybe you just feel threatened when women of colour get “too uppity”.

          • Whoatheboo

            ^^For real.

  • Deiter

    I completely support what is being asked for here. I also know that in writing an open letter saying, essentially, you’ve already proven yourselves too ignorant and insensitive to understand my message but I’m going to write it anyway if only to show you how angry I am” should prove to be a failure of diplomacy. “You have the luxury of ignorance from your position of deluded white supremacy” isn’t much better. May I suggest another tactic? A call for respect and sensitivity always works better from an open hand rather than a fist.

  • Paleoethnobotanist

    Wow, there is a lot of sludge here. I felt the need to respond to balance some of that out.

    Besides what should be obvious (the powerful majority, in this country, White Americans, are not aware and cannot be aware of how our actions affect others without listening to them and taking a moment to understand what they’re saying and why they are saying it), I noticed at least one, maybe two people dismiss your post because of your education.

    This is exactly what Ethnic Studies, Women’s Studies, Gender Studies, Anthropology (especially sociocultural anthropology focused on issues in our own country), etc. is meant to do! Question the status quo, look for the deep and not-so-deep causes of social inequality and racism (overt or otherwise), develop answers to problems, and so on. Carry on! We need as many strong Native voices as possible to combat anti-indigenous bias here!

  • http://twitter.com/amandamcneil Amanda McNeil

    I honestly was not allowed to celebrate Halloween growing up, so didn’t even start dressing up until college. When I got to college, there were just SO MANY costume ideas that I steered clear of any that seemed iffy purely because there are so many options, can’t you just be a decent person about it? You can be a pirate, vampire, robot, etc…. And if you really want to do something “historical,” then choose a figure from your own genetic past or a historic figure you respect and admire. It sucks that people can’t put two seconds of thought into their fun to make sure they don’t ruin everyone else’s fun.*hugs*

    • Dracula

      I am a vampire and I find it highly insulting that you would suggest a “decent” person could dress as me.

    • Parsons1al

      Stick to your “own genetic past” and someone “you respect and admire”? To me this just further pushes the idea that we have to be the skin color we were born and idolize thinking from the past that in turn reflect that race. Is it truly impossible to think of halloween as a day when we can dress up as anyone we want to be? I do not support racism of any sort, and am probably not educated enough in areas of oppression (so please do not attack me), but I find native american women to be beautiful. Their hair, complexion, and eyes are gorgeous to me and if there is one day a year where I can try to look Native American, I find myself to be very lucky.

      • LissaGarhart

        It is lucky that you are not impacted by the hypersexualization of Native American women. Hooray for you, proceed with you racism and privalege, after all, no one you care about is going to be raped and/or mistreated because of your actions.

      • WTF White Privilege!!

        Gross.

  • Sunwheel29

    Let me get this straight. My grandfathers mother was Blackfoot and his father was half Blackfoot. So I am supposed to be offended if somebody dresses up like Tonto?
    Lets look at the bigger picture. My grandmother’s family is Irish. So I am supposed to be offended and outraged over the Boston Celtics?
    Yes I understand the realities of unfair racial behavior in the past. …But White is not a “race” White is a color. Generations off Irish folk were told , when they got off the boat, ‘workers needed, blacks accepted, Irish need not apply.”
    I suppose I could wallow in the unfairness of it all. I suppose I could let the stupidity and venality of people in the past wound me. But were I to do so,I would be giving those words and those images power over me that they do not have.
    A big percentage of North America is Scots-Irish. Should they feel offended when somebody wears a Utilikilt???
    I take it logic does not enter into the picture…..

    • RondellWatson

      I think we natives have a lot in common with the Irish.. We are both Tribal cultures that love to drink, sing, dance and fight (usually in that order). On a serious note I have always had a difficulty understanding why some take so much offense to this stuff. That is not to say i don’t doubt it, its just that it seems like a lot of work. If some girl wants to wear a short faux buckskin skirt, bra and wear a head band with a feather in it while she gets loaded at a Halloween Party its none of my concern if she wants to look like an idiot. This is America and with freedom we have to have thick skin because more likely than not there is going to be someone out there who will offend us. My only hope is they at least look hott while they do it!

    • 8mph Ansible

      So let me get this straight. You ain’t payin attention to anything, are you? No one is saying you must be offended, yet there are those of us who legitimately are and what such bullshit to go noticed and be stopped.

      If you don’t find a problem with something Natives or some Irish would feel offended by (and yes there are those that get offended by the Boston Celtics and the mockery they see/feel on St. Patrick’s Day) then you don’t have too.

      By the by Native American experience =/= Irish experience =/= Scottish experience.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Lynch/100002230585526 Patrick Lynch

    You’re not worth the effort. Enjoy the solitude of oblivion.

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

      If someone punches you in the face and blames your pain on the fact that you chose to have a nervous system, it will be poetic justice and absolutely hilarious.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Lynch/100002230585526 Patrick Lynch

        With respect,

        • http://twitter.com/itacawin Cheryl Hute’ete

          It is concise to say the least.

    • 8mph Ansible

      I call bullshit wannabe poet who can’t realize that’s its possible to chew gum and walk at the same time. It’s more a matter of holding someone down and forcing them to hit themselves with their own hands.

      If you don’t give a damn about us then just say so instead of hiding behind impotent purple prose.

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

      I guess you chose to feel hurt that people didn’t view you as the next Epictetus.

      Also, if you said “enjoy the solitude of oblivion” to a Jew, you’d be in prison. Think about that. I doubt you will, since you’d rather hear your own voice than that of another.

  • RondellWatson

    I dressed my daughter up this year as an Ewok in SRPMIC.. People kept mistaking her for a Hopi medicine man.

    • http://slates.wildfireweb.com/1744527638 Jack Skye

      on my last year of trick-or treating (I was 12) I dressed up as a “sexy elf” with fake pointed ears, a green mini dress, a crown of oak leaves and a bow. People kept asking me if I was an Indian princess. I started saying “yes, but I’m dressed as a elf”.

  • Drina

    This is an interesting post for me. All of my ancestors were European, but I’m not attached to, say, German or Norwegian culture the way Indian people grow up with theirs. I don’t care if you want to be a Viking for Halloween – I’m not one.

    If somebody dressed up in a callous way as the shy girl who always reads, I’d be offended and feel mocked – because that is who I am. (I can’t imagine anybody doing that, as it would be a stupid costume, but you get my point).

    That being said, if a girl of any race admired Pocohontas and wanted to dress like her because she admired her so much, I don’t think it would be any different than dressing like Freida Kahlo or Audrey Hepburn. As long as the costume is meant respectfully and admiringly, I don’t think it would be fair to be offended. Just don’t dress up as a tacky Indian – have respect for the culture.

  • http://twitter.com/america_q America

    Totally wished I had a copy of this with me this weekend. Some girl was dressed like an “Indian” at a Halloween event….although I was totally annoyed by it, I didn’t say anything to her. I told my sister-in-law, who was not so annoyed, it’s like someone was dressing up like a “Mexican”, she got it after that.

  • Tigersarebetter

    Dear native daughter,

    First of all, I will admit, we stole your land, we murdered your people and we destroyed your way of life. You will get over this eventually through the annihilation of all remaining vestiges of your culture until your progeny finally decides to dress up as pocahotties so that they may fit in with their peers. I’m sure some among you already have. Your sensitivity and hurt is quite real. I do not question it, however, your position lends itself to a rather short historical memory and an ignorance of “white culture,” or rather, the prevailing “culture” of basic human nature. You feel no differently than any disenfranchised group has felt throughout human history. My great grandmother was a full blown Cherokee. I know very little of that culture. Her family eventually ended up in Ohio and I now own property in Georgia pretty close to where Mr Jackson forced her ancestors to leave after they helped him remove their brothers and were then betrayed as well. Of course I’m also German. Many of my protestant ancestors were being slaughtered and forcibly removed from their land about the same time that yours were. I’m also French. I know nothing of my Visigoth ancestors except a few remaining cave paintings. I’m also English. I believe 1500 years before your people were being slaughtered and dispossessed, my English and Scottish tribesmen were being murdered by Caesar and Hadrian, and their borders constantly shrunk. I’m also Irish. Our two cultures share a very similar story at about the same time. While Columbus and his men were cutting off native hands and smashing babies, the Irish were being placed on metal pyramids anus first until they died of rectal bleeding, or having wands made of glass inserted into their penises and then shattered with hammers. Also they were burned at the stakes and crushed beneath piles of stone as well as beat to death with leather cords laced with iron barbs. They were also killed by having a horse and a rope tied to each limb and then subsequently ripped apart by frightened horses while alive mind you, while alive. I’m sure we could go back to the Jews and their troubles in my ancestry if records went that far back for my family tree, or perhaps to the cultural abortions of the Greek tribes by democracy, or the Egyptian nomads by oligarchy, or the Babylonians… well you get the point. Every group of people alive has suffered as you have suffered. Their pain has simply been alleviated by time and cultural assimilation. In 1,000 years, your blood line will not even exist. It will be destroyed by absorption into the HUMAN gene pool. Cultures serve an evolutionary purpose. Ultimately they exist to help humans breed and survive when you wade through everything else. They only last until they are no longer able to compete against other cultures. You don’t even have a pure culture anymore and it would be impossible anyway. You go to “white” universities. You eat “white” food. You drive “white” cars. You read “white” books. You live in “white” buildings. You protest with your “white” constitutional rights on your “white” computer with your “white” electricity on your “white” blog. You already forsook your culture. You would be dead if your ancestors had not done the same because the culture you had could not exist next to and independently from this repugnant culture that beat it through shear ruthlessness. Ruthlessness cultivated through generations of being treated ruthlessly. Beaten cultures often beat other cultures just as abused children often abuse their children. We humans stick to what we know. Even now, as your culture is assimilated, “white” culture is altered by its tenants. Conservation and sustainability have been revisited thanks to your contribution. (this of course was practiced by my tribal ancestors in Europe and Mesopotamia before, but prevailing cultures devalued such a practice as my people were subjugated into slavery and thus made extravagance and excess economically viable). Simply put, you will hold on to you culture, and you will die, or you will evolve and you will die. Of course you have already began evolving the very second you were born at a hospital. Stop being hurt. Be flattered that your culture is even remembered and that your identity is the subject of subjugation. It won’t last forever, and when it’s over no one, including your progeny will even remember it existed. Does your native heritage ever lament the Asian culture it lost when it came to the new world all those thousands of years ago? Did your culture stand up for the subjugated Asians on the west coast in the 1800′s and 1900′s? No, you didn’t, because your link to Asia vanished and your people didn’t even know about it because your culture devoured that part of itself long ago. Your culture is beautiful but it is not special and it is not timeless. Neither are your people. If I have said even one thing you did not know, you are ignorant of my culture, a culture that will have you by surrender or by force. I do not like this, but I am human and so are you. All cultures are a part of Human culture and the collective consciousness of the human race. Anger over our differences only fuels anger. Your culture has been carrying on in the same way for hundreds of years. It has failed you. Your strategy for equality is not working. Perhaps complaining to the prevailing culture about Halloween costumes is not the best way to accomplish cultural awareness. You are turning people off. You are not changing minds.

    • WTF White Privilege!!

      Are you freaking kidding me? WTF is wrong with you? What are you even talking about? Seriously. Are you trolling? Are you mentally ill? She’s not turning me off AND I’M WHITE. I stand with every single thing that she is saying and the only thing that is fueling my anger is the total idiocy of the ignorant dismissive racist trolls that have insulted the REAL CURRENT DAY PEOPLE WHO ARE TELLING YOU ABOUT THEIR ACTUAL EXPERIENCE, not pontificating on some family tree from 200 years ago or making disgusting assumptions about shit you know nothing about.

      • Tigersarebetter

        She is talking about HER family tree from 200 years ago and further by invoking her cultural experience. She is a part of a cultural loop. That is my point. Your ancestors have been apart of this cultural loop but more readily assimilated, or faded away as she and her ancestors will. The human historical cycle in a nutshell is: bondage to power to bondage. This is pretty much every culture that has ever existed. You or your progeny will eventually be in bondage again, as you were before you gained “power.” White people have not “ruled the earth” since the dawn of time. They have been ruled by other cultures. Egyptians who are now mistakenly slurred as “towel heads” had white slaves. Romans who would later be considered “wops” or “Without Papers” had “white” slaves. Babylonians had “white” slaves. Even Greeks had “white” slaves. It’s not a white trait to oppress. It is a human trait. Even native cultures subjugated each other, and they certainly sold each other out to “white culture.” For Halloween, don’t dress up at all, or dress up as whatever the hell you want. Native Americans are not an exception to the rule of cultural offense. This only causes division. What I’m trying to say is their is no profit in being offended by cultural stereotypes. We are all human and we should unite under the fact that we all share common pain and triumph. I deplore racism, but through my study of history I understand it is a HUMAN trait. Our culture will fall too. One day we will be subjugated as we once were. That’s the cultural cycle. We will assimilate or we will perish.

        • WTF White Privilege!!

          She is not talking about her ancestors from 200 years ago. She is talking about how the actions of people TODAY interact with her experience in the world TODAY. Again, I would like to see if you still find that your position is defensible after reading the most recent post.

          • Tigersarebetter

            Talking about your current cultural struggle relates to all human history which in turn relates to her ancestors. Without all of the human history and her ancestral struggles she has no struggle. I find it quite relatable. I act today how I act because I am a product of thousands of years of culture leading up to this point. I have a big picture view because I study big picture trends. Allow me to be more succinct with my stance:

            Racism: BAD

            Subjugation: BAD

            “Sexy Indian Costume”: BAD (and not just because of racial significance but gender roles as well).

            All Halloween costumes based on stereotype: YES

            A product of “white culture”: No

            A product of human culture: Yes

            A solvable problem: No

            Are their problems this culture faces like poverty and alcoholism and civil rights that deserve more attention than halloween costumes: YES

            Are there problems the entire human race faces that deserve more attention than halloween costumes: YES

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

              You flatter yourself to think your perspective on history is more valid than thousands of other peoples’ who have actually lived it.

              And I guarantee your “perspective” would fly out the window if you spent a year in the life of basically anyone who grew up in a “subjugated” group.

              You’re just another person trying to sound tough (who probably isn’t) and no-nonsense, when in fact your entire argument is that no one should ever fight injustice or people should just learn to accept millions dead, raped, or crushingly poor.

              There’s part of humanness your perspective seems to have ignored, which serves us more ably as a species than your malfunctioning amydala and faux-logical disenchanted arguments: Compassion, decency, and empathy.

              And even logically, if you want to ignore the moral outrages as you have so psychopathically done, then ponder this: Native Cultures survived for at least 12000 years in a multitude of environments and lifestyles. You think all cultures fade? Native cultures, it seems to my Middle Eastern eyes, have particularly potent staying power.

              • Tigersarebetter

                Just a guess… under 25? I make no assumptions my perspective on history is more valid, but I would wager it has a broader scope than yours. I base this on averages and I would be tickled to find you were an exception. What history did you live? Also, I’m going to assume you just got bored and stopped reading. Oh wait, look at your comment, you did. You formed an entire opinion based on half the information. Subjugated group? what color am I? Did you automatically assume I was white? How very general of you. (When I write “WE stole your land” I refer to Americans, not a race). What moral outrages do I ignore? What part of my post states that one should accept injustice? I speak of picking battles. I do not condone Allowing atrocities of any sort to happen. I do not condone knowingly offending someone. I believe the two not equal offenses. I have very passionately invested a multitude of time in studying this country and her native peoples. This began when as a boy I read bury my heart at wounded knee. I have a great deal of respect for native culture, but no more than any other culture. I see far reaching trends across the entire spectrum of the human experience. The hurt is real. I understand and lament it. The author is talking about being offended because an entire culture is not thinking about how she feels when they caricature a part of her heritage, a heritage she was born into and cannot change and I assume does not want to change. I don’t like it. I believe her experience is just like anybody else who is human. We all have parts about us which make us unique and are made fun of or exploited by the majority. Perhaps we have “inferior genetics.” Perhaps we are fat. Perhaps we were raised in an extremely religious household and have trouble relating to a secular world. Perhaps we were born into a country that destroyed our birthright and murdered our ancestors (ie Jews, Palestinians, Romas, Native Americans, ect). The point I have attempted to make and have apparently failed at may be better suited by other peoples words, namely Plato’s: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I just feel like anger over the way somebody dresses is unproductive. The same amount of energy it would take to convince a grown adult how wrong their garb is could be better spent on an issue that has a more direct impact on one’s immediate happiness.
                And about your absurd assertion that native cultures survived for 12,000 years… Name a native culture that lasted unchanged for 12,000 years. Name one. Name any culture from 12,000 years ago that still exists unchanged. Name even a language that a native speaker today could use to speak to a native speaker 12000 years ago. Hell, I’d give you a medal if you could accurately translate middle English without a reference book. It’s only 800 years old. I hope people stop wearing “indian” costumes for this woman’s sake, but I find that ridiculously unlikely. I’d rather hear her elegant writing voice used for something bigger.

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

                  If you acknowledge and lament the hurt, that’s all you needed to say.

                  As for her blog, and its direction and focus, it’s hers. And so far, she has raised awareness and drawn attention to Native American issues in at least one multinational news agency.

                  Under 25? No. And as for your age:

                  One of the signs of passing youth is the birth of a sense of fellowship with other human beings as we take our place among them.
                  - Virginia Woolf

                  And on a related note to your age, of course no culture is the same as 12000 years ago. Are you the same as when you were a toddler? Teenager? Just because you changed doesn’t mean you’re extinct.

                  As for “everybody faces stuff,” the point made by anyone who has seen what Native Americans deal with, is that Native Americans face ALL the things you listed all the time, which presumably is why even Halloween costumes are frustrating. It’s not that there aren’t bigger battles, it’s that sometimes you hope the little things will just stop reminding you of the big shaft you’ve been getting all along.

                  • Tigersarebetter

                    I wish they weren’t frustrating. It sucks. I wish she knew the innocent joy the holiday has for some, but she won’t unless she decides to not let it bother her. A little easier said than done I know. We all “face stuff” all the time though and I won’t concede this. Nobody truly knows if their suffering is as bad as another’s. That’s why I believe no one really has the right to say they suffer more than anybody else. It’s not quantifiable. There are no units of suffering. I’ve known a few “spoiled rich kids” who couldn’t deal with “being white” (and all the privileges that entails). and killed themselves. That’s two in the lower middle class neighborhood of my youth. I also know a holocaust survivor that believes he’s had just about the greatest life possible. Some people learn to be content, some learn to change things. Some give up. She seems like the middle to me. I just get frustrated that energy is channeled towards something that my experience has shown won’t change. Never underestimate the inability of your fellow man to walk in your shoes, no matter what their lot in life. Empathy has thresholds which must be crossed before it works in most human beings and clothing does not trigger this threshold for most people. That’s all.

                    • nucl3arsnke

                      Your cynicism (not saying that as an insult) isn’t truly realistic though.

                      Your proposed solution: just get over it and embrace the dominant culture DOESN’T WORK for A LOT members of oppressed groups (or even a lot of members of privileged groups!). Once you see how the competitive aspect of human nature works by raising some up at the expense of others, quite a lot of compassionate people simply can’t stand by and “get over it.” We feel compelled to work against that aspect of human nature.

                      As you said yourself, change happens. And, with luck, in time, we as humans will grow past brutal competition to a more cooperative way of life. It’s happened some already- the atrocities you described in your original comment are no longer enjoyed as entertainment by the masses.

                      And more subtle societal changes ARE happening as a result of the discourse among social justice activists, including bloggers.

                      For example, the idea that it’s okay to use “gay” or “retarded” as insults used to only be known among social justice activists, but this knowledge is spreading quickly- these words are no longer acceptable in professional writing, public speaking, and I am more and more often seeing them challenged in casual situations.

                      The same is happening with rape jokes.

                      The same will happen with racially-stereotyped costumes.

                      So please, don’t waste your own time telling Adrienne not to waste hers. She’s a smart person, and can decide very well without your help what social justice work to devote her time to.

                      PS- You said at one point that all Halloween costumes are based on stereotypes, but this is not true. More importantly, tons of Halloween costumes are not based on HARMFUL STEREOTYPES OF REAL PEOPLES. That’s truly the problem here.

                • GreenEightBall

                  God this just gets better lolol. I wish I could express myself like this. Unfortunately 90% won’t understand what you’re saying at all.

              • GreenEightBall

                That was the biggest piece of poetic garbage I’ve ever read.

                “There’s part of humanness your perspective seems to have ignored, which serves us more ably as a species than your malfunctioning amydala and faux-logical disenchanted arguments: Compassion, decency, and empathy. ”

                Yes lets just go with emotion over reason.
                Emotion/Empathy says: Do what the blogger says because she says it has something to do with racism.
                Reason says: I know the difference between a costume and a respectable native person and their traditions.

                The last paragraph is too utterly stupid to even comment on. 12000 years the same? lol.. “Staying Power”. You’re a babbling arrogant.

            • GreenEightBall

              At first I thought you were a massive troll. But I see exactly what you’re saying. Agreed completely.

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

      TLDR

    • dscokween

      nice troll, strawman.

  • Mina

    I am not white, I am part native. I believe anyone is going to be offended if their culture is ridiculed. But all cultures are represented on this crazy holiday because most of us are intrigued by other cultures and Halloween gives us the opportunity to play. What about those that feel it is an honor to dress up as a person of another culture, respectfully connecting to their roots by representing another. Peace and Blessings.

    • WTF White Privilege!!

      Hey Mina, please take a look at Adrienne’s more recent post and let me know if you still feel like your position is defensible.

    • GreenEightBall

      Why did it take over 25 comments to find one that agrees with me. THANK YOU MINA. I feel like everyone else is insane now that you reiterated my comment and thoughts at the top exactly. Marry me? :)

  • Mohnish

    Your point about wanting seemingly ‘entitled’ to just realize how offensive they are being sounds awfully entitled to me.
    I would love to see how statistics on how people dressing as Native Americans on Halloween is contributing directly to the problems you cite with Native American communities. Or how it is even negatively affecting perceptions of Native Americans. You have provided no such statistics. In fact, on your point about the Washington Redskins, a quick Wikipedia search pointed me to an Annenberg Center poll from the University of Maryland that shows 91% of Native Americans find nothing to complain about in regard to their name.
    So until I see real statistics I am forced to conclude that your complaints are not “well reasoned” as you claim they are. They are simply a long, emotional diatribe, albeit a well written one.
    By the way, I am Indian. Like, from India. Should I be offended that the word ‘Indian’ has been appropriated to describe native or indigenous people of all stripes?
    And if I am, so what?

  • M. Specialfxlady

    Hurrrr. I was having a conversation this week about blackface, intentional or unintentional as an artform and whether or not it was ok. I really had this conversation, just this week, here in 2011. Really.

    So this post is right on time. Thank you.

  • Mohnish

    What about people dressing like hillbillies? That’s not an occupation.
    Or the homeless?
    And cowboys are more a culture than an occupation. I can only assume you have never been to Texas.

  • Samantha Nock

    “Ignorance? It thrives on the incestuous mating of indifference and bigotry and in turn breeds more of the same.” – Harold Cardinal, Cree author of “The Unjust Society”

  • Mohnish
  • Diamond C. Moebus

    Pssst…. your racism is showing….

  • http://www.facebook.com/zfulwilder Zoar Fulwilder

    Ha! this reminds me of the Halloween some of my friends(girls) decided to dress up like AIM and ended up pissing off a bunch of Chicana girls who misunderstood the costumes. After a lot of discussion about who was more oppressed we all reconciled, had a laugh and later more drinks over the misunderstanding. I was, however, disappointed that the passionate discussion didn’t end in any open mouthed kisses.

  • Itacawin

    The fact that this still needs to be addressed is ridiculous. And the sheer number of racist, apologist, and blatantly ignorant comments floating around the internet is incredibly depressing. I cannot for the life of me see how this can be construed as anything but wrong.

    Why can’t Native Americans just “get over it?” Because the Indian Wars never ended. The horrors of the US government’s genocidal/assimilation policies are still fresh. Why? Because they are ongoing. NPR just did an investigation on Native kids in South Dakota being taken away from their families in huge numbers and placed in foster care, all for the sake of more government funding: http://www.npr.org/2011/10/25/141672992/native-foster-care-lost-children-shattered-families. Diane Sawyer’s crew spent 18 months filming on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/hidden-america-children-plains-14708439#.TpRwMXWGwYl.facebook), and it wasn’t because life for Native Americans today is a barrel of laughs. The fact that a place like Pine Ridge exists in this country should throw these faux-headdress apologists for a loop, and yet I am told that I should “move on,” to “take a joke,” or worst of all, to be “flattered” by it.

    I am the great-granddaughter of a woman who survived the Wounded Knee Massacre by crawling along a creek bed with her little sisters as her parents were shot and killed. She later died of tuberculosis. My grandfather was raised in a missionary orphanage and enlisted in World War II so that he could support his siblings. My father also went to a missionary school and was told in kindergarten that he was not allowed to speak Lakota and would have to cut his long hair. Those that refused to assimilate were punished, humiliated. During my father’s childhood, a Native American man was beaten to death in a border town and his murderer’s sentence was a day in jail. His cousin was unknowingly sterilized by Indian Health Services when she went in for a simple operation. A Lakota man was sent to prison for holding a traditional Sundance. This was the norm. There are a thousand other stories like these.

    So, yes, why can’t I move on? Because what happened to my parents and grandparents affected the way that I was raised, the community that I was raised in. Why can’t I move on? Because I grew up in horrible poverty on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, lost more friends and relatives to suicide than seems plausible, and was raped and left to die in a field when I was 20. My rapist was sentenced to 3 years in a low-security prison (thank you, US Department of Justice). Do I believe his sentence would have been harsher had it happened to a white woman? Hell yes. Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to be raped than other ethnic groups. This means that 1 in 3 Native American women will be sexually assaulted/abused in her lifetime. Why can’t I laugh along with the hipsters? Because what has kept me going, what has kept my father going, is the strength found in our family, our spirituality, and in our culture.

    Native Americans have fought hard to be allowed to have cultural identity — a basic right that was outlawed by the government until relatively recently. So yes, seeing a spray-tan sexy Pocahontas raising her hand in “hau” is more than an annoyance. It trivializes the fight that my parents and grandparents devoted their lives to. It trivializes my life and my sense of self. And I refuse to believe that any decent person would tell me to move on, to get over it, or to be flattered by it. My great-grandmother is not a Halloween costume. This shouldn’t be so hard to understand.

  • Whoatheboo

    I don’t like being called “Indian” and I know a lot of Natives that don’t like being called or labeled as “Indian” either. When people ask me what ethnicity/race I am, I say “Osage, White Mountain Apache, Pani, Euchee”, not Indian. I know the vast majority of the U.S. and the world still call us “Indians”. I never understood why, even in school- SCHOOL of all places- I never understood why? Why should we still be victims of a sociopaths mistake? Thats why when people ask, “What are you?” I don’t tell them I’m “Indian”, I reply with the respective tribes that I am descended from.

  • Anonymous

    Your comment inspired me to speak up about a similar issue that I had been avoiding for a long time. I was hesitant to approach this person, but I knew I had to given my roles. Last night, I finally hit “send” on an email I had been avoiding for months. Within minutes, the sender acknowledged that she should have known better and would be removing the offensive language from the presentation. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • guest

    Wow, there are some really stupid and racist people posting comments here.

  • Isla

    Wow, so subversive.

  • Metis Modernist

    A sober, thoughtful, open-minded and generous person would read this article and at least think about it. They wouldn’t need to agree with everything the author is saying, necessarily, but they would at least consider it. An angry, close-minded, bigoted, reactionary kind of person, someone who is frustrated with their life and who blames others for that, would read this woman’s article and respond to it by telling her to “leave the reserve” and letting her know that she’s “retarded”. It’s too bad, LeRequin, that you’ve chosen to be the latter kind of person.

  • Whoatheboo

    That sounds like bullshit! I highly doubt “91% of the Native American population” polled in on that. You really believe in these stupid polls? You can’t base facts off of polls because a lot of them are corporate sponsored, govt sponsored, or they’re done to show a misleading figure.

  • 10100111001

    Hill Billys, white trash, homeless costumes are not racist, but classist and tacky. Oh yay! Lets make fun of poor people!

    And there is an occupation called a cowboy. And I lived in texas.

  • Whoatheboo

    WTH? How long did it take you to write this? Kinda reminds me of Hunter S. Thompson…

  • RondellWatson

    Not that I 100% agree, but, coming off the reservation to the University of Wisconsin I was amazed how “oppressed” I was. Until then I really didn’t even know about all the issues that were supposed be eating away at my self esteem and hindering my success. And, as a Native from a reservation, i am not offended by these articles, but do feel in trivializes some of the real issues i had growing up like decent jobs being available, good teachers and having access to decent doctors and dentists.
    I think what one has to keep in mind is that most of the Natives that write these posts are usually English/Native American Studies grad students. Its kinda their thing to write about these issues. Sort of goes to that “if you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail” analogy. I don’t fault them for doing their job and being vigilant in protecting our image and exploring these issues. However, I just wish the Ivy League and higher education in general was turning out more MD’s, CFO, COO, CEO and Entrepreneurial types. Our economies are changing for the better and we need a more diverse talent pool so that we can truly assert control the businesses and industries that our forefathers/mothers fought for us to have.

  • Mohnish

    I wholeheartedly agree!

  • Mohnish

    They have given us the polling methodology. If you find something to criticize there, by all means do so. But do so based on fact. Not just because you happen to doubt it. Polls are a perfectly scientific way of gathering statistical data. The accuracy of polling can only be in doubt if the methodology is faulty. So again, if you think the poll is wrong I invite you to question it based on fact.
    However, until then it seems that the majority of Native American peoples do not care about issues such as Halloween costumes and the Washington Redskins. There are real problems out there, as RondellWatson pointed out. I will fight alongside you for your right to a better life. However, I will not fight for you to not be offended, since that is not a right.

  • 10100111001

    Carry a beer with me? Am I missing my beer? OH RIGHT, Im mohawk so I MUST BE AN ALCOHOLIC. Bite me.

  • MG

    I agree with your argument, but please don’t assume that just because someone is “white” they aren’t faced with the same issues you are faced with. Poverty, alcoholism, domestic violence, etc are problems that every person within this country faces, no matter what their socially constructed “race” is. I also think your argument would be a LOT stronger if you were to personalize it instead of pushing white people out, therefore Othering yourself. Yes, we might have different cultures, but instead of saying “I face these things, you do not”, maybe open your mind up a little and see that every “race” has fictionalized stereotypes.

  • 10100111001

    I just thought of an example of dressing liking a specific person who happens to be indigenous that shouldnt piss anyone off: Ira Hayes. WW2 usmc fatigues and an american flag with a name tag “HAYES”.

    I lean Dont put any feathers, or spray tan, or anything else stereotypical that he wouldn’t be wearing for the reasons he became famous…

    That would be cool.

  • Mohnish

    So start a blog complaining about that then. Jeez. You do not have a right to not be offended!!

    And I like how you are campaigning against supposedly offensive Halloween costumes, but have no problem saying the phrase “white trash”.

    I recommend a good look in the mirror.

  • SaxyScrabbleBoard

    > You are (most likely) a white person.

    I agree with you 100%, but you undermine your argument against stereotyping by stereotyping your audience.

    And if I was A) a white person and B) remotely concerned that I would be offending somebody with my possibly racist Halloween costume, I would have stopped reading after you presumed to know everything about my life.

    That said, I’m totally going as the sexy scrabble board.

  • 10100111001

    I was incorporating my responds to you with another poster who used the term white trash. And I said that dressing in thoses “costumes” are a BAD IDEA. Incase you didn’t understand the sarcasm of “yay! let’s make fun of poor people.”

    You lack critical reading skills.

  • Erikakharada

    “Pocahontas was probably the best portrayal of first nations people in a long time”

    Lol wat

  • Erikakharada

    “If geisha is offensive I’d expect that ninja, samurai, matador, mariachi etc etc would also be beyond the pale. Do you think they should be? “

    If they’re caricatures, like that shitty “geisha” costume example? I think that is pretty gross.

  • PhotoJoe

    I feel the same about the term “white man”. I decended from Swedish, Welsh, and German and find the term “white man” to be ignorant. Sadly, stereotypes are here to stay, on both sides of the fence.

  • Frida?

    Question: I’m planning on going as Frida Kahlo, basically just colorful clothes, lots of flowers and jewelery, paintbrushes, and enhanced eyebrows. It’s not hyper-sexualized or exaggerated in any way. Racist?

  • Manicbranic

    Interesting that you make the assumption that anyone who disagrees with you cannot be a critical thinker. Nobody owes your undergrads a good ‘college experience’, especially if your definition of what that is requires people to limit their choices based on what you choose to interpret their action to mean. Your choice of interpretations, that is, your refusal to discern harmless actions from oppressive ones, is what is dangerous about your opinion, and trivialises what your people, as well as other colonised people over the world experienced, more than any white girl wearing a dress.

  • Demian

    And by writing this letter, you managed to piss off everyone wearing an Indian costume. Shock and Dismay!

    The fact is, other people are going to (again, shock) live their lives in a way you disapprove of. If you really care about your suffering native community so much, why don’t you do something for them besides writing a racist blog?

  • Deiter

    I completely support what is being asked for here. I also know that in writing an open letter saying, essentially, you’ve already proven yourselves too ignorant and insensitive to understand my message but I’m going to write it anyway if only to show you how angry I am” should prove to be a failure of diplomacy. “You have the luxury of ignorance from your position of deluded white supremacy” isn’t much better. May I suggest another tactic? A call for respect and sensitivity always works better from an open hand rather than a fist.

  • Paleoethnobotanist

    Wow, there is a lot of sludge here. I felt the need to respond to balance some of that out.

    Besides what should be obvious (the powerful majority, in this country, White Americans, are not aware and cannot be aware of how our actions affect others without listening to them and taking a moment to understand what they’re saying and why they are saying it), I noticed at least one, maybe two people dismiss your post because of your education.

    This is exactly what Ethnic Studies, Women’s Studies, Gender Studies, Anthropology (especially sociocultural anthropology focused on issues in our own country), etc. is meant to do! Question the status quo, look for the deep and not-so-deep causes of social inequality and racism (overt or otherwise), develop answers to problems, and so on. Carry on! We need as many strong Native voices as possible to combat anti-indigenous bias here!

  • http://twitter.com/amandamcneil Amanda McNeil

    I honestly was not allowed to celebrate Halloween growing up, so didn’t even start dressing up until college. When I got to college, there were just SO MANY costume ideas that I steered clear of any that seemed iffy purely because there are so many options, can’t you just be a decent person about it? You can be a pirate, vampire, robot, etc…. And if you really want to do something “historical,” then choose a figure from your own genetic past or a historic figure you respect and admire. It sucks that people can’t put two seconds of thought into their fun to make sure they don’t ruin everyone else’s fun.*hugs*

  • http://twitter.com/itacawin Cheryl Hute’ete

    “Writing a racist blog?” Seriously? Have you actually read the blog?

  • Sunwheel29

    Let me get this straight. My grandfathers mother was Blackfoot and his father was half Blackfoot. So I am supposed to be offended if somebody dresses up like Tonto?
    Lets look at the bigger picture. My grandmother’s family is Irish. So I am supposed to be offended and outraged over the Boston Celtics?
    Yes I understand the realities of unfair racial behavior in the past. …But White is not a “race” White is a color. Generations off Irish folk were told , when they got off the boat, ‘workers needed, blacks accepted, Irish need not apply.”
    I suppose I could wallow in the unfairness of it all. I suppose I could let the stupidity and venality of people in the past wound me. But were I to do so,I would be giving those words and those images power over me that they do not have.
    A big percentage of North America is Scots-Irish. Should they feel offended when somebody wears a Utilikilt???
    I take it logic does not enter into the picture…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jules-McWyrm/1662074906 Jules McWyrm

    I have a son so I was anticipating Kocoum more than Pochantas but you never know.

    A more appealing scenario – to me, anyway – would be if he requested to dress as a specific historical figure, not some character he encountered in a movie. And then – yeah, I’d research the appropriate costume with him and so forth.

    In all honesty, while I’ve been aware of asshole college students for some time this is the first season I’ve ever given this issue any thought at all as it relates to my son’s costumes.

    Thank you for your input on this. I’ve read through the comments on this thread and there’s obviously a great deal of emotion and a whole bunch of assholes weighing in. Thank you for taking the time to respond to me. I really liked your Ira Hayes idea.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jules-McWyrm/1662074906 Jules McWyrm

    Tell me, please – how do you caricature a ninja? A matador? A mariachi?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Lynch/100002230585526 Patrick Lynch

    I cannot hurt you. Believe it or not, your feelings are you own. You choose to evoke emotional responses as all stimulation can, but we elect to respond. I can hear your sentiment and empathize with you about the degradation of the Native peoples’, and all oppressed people and individuals from certain walks of life whereas grief and sadness weave one’s history and soul, however I had to say something because I felt you may be able to benefit from my point of view. I know all about the foster-care and dependency court systems, so that point is more of a problem that really needs National attention, I do commend this comment. But empathy is not a demand one can make on another. The desire to facilitate the learning process that curtails the seeming degradation of any culture by the ‘main-stream’ culture is a form of intolerance. Emerson once said that ‘To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, —that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost,— and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment.’ So my advise, dear Bard on whom many revel in your comforts and efforts, endure. Your heart is your sacred canvas that on which all our hopes are painted. Lest not of our own accord, but onto which we can accept your truth as our own, as election, through auspicious demonstration of human dignity and fullness of spirit.

  • Dracula

    I am a vampire and I find it highly insulting that you would suggest a “decent” person could dress as me.

  • RondellWatson

    I think we natives have a lot in common with the Irish.. We are both Tribal cultures that love to drink, sing, dance and fight (usually in that order). On a serious note I have always had a difficulty understanding why some take so much offense to this stuff. That is not to say i don’t doubt it, its just that it seems like a lot of work. If some girl wants to wear a short faux buckskin skirt, bra and wear a head band with a feather in it while she gets loaded at a Halloween Party its none of my concern if she wants to look like an idiot. This is America and with freedom we have to have thick skin because more likely than not there is going to be someone out there who will offend us. My only hope is they at least look hott while they do it!

  • Parsons1al

    Stick to your “own genetic past” and someone “you respect and admire”? To me this just further pushes the idea that we have to be the skin color we were born and idolize thinking from the past that in turn reflect that race. Is it truly impossible to think of halloween as a day when we can dress up as anyone we want to be? I do not support racism of any sort, and am probably not educated enough in areas of oppression (so please do not attack me), but I find native american women to be beautiful. Their hair, complexion, and eyes are gorgeous to me and if there is one day a year where I can try to look Native American, I find myself to be very lucky.

  • 10100111001

    :-)

  • RondellWatson

    Hey, Mohnish.. If you have ever been “outdoors” for any extended period of time you’d find it is an occupation. I mean there are a lot of logistical and sanitary issues to deal with along with safety and securing of whatever property you do have to protect. Although, i would have to agree that there is an element of a culture to it.. definite do’s and don’ts. I reluctantly beat an old man with a car antennae while panhandling on the I-10 in downtown Phoenix. I did not want to, but had to since he took my spot in the rotation. If i didn’t i risked losing my spot to anyone who wanted it. Its the way of the streets. I have since incorporated that hard lesson into the corporate environs i now find myself in.

  • RondellWatson

    I dressed my daughter up this year as an Ewok in SRPMIC.. People kept mistaking her for a Hopi medicine man.

  • Helga

    While I agree with you about the general inability of stop being native being very important, I can’t say I agree with the white people have the optional ethnicity in the States bit.
    You know, I am not sure that I have the optional ethnicity, as you put it. I have an accent you see. While in normal situations I do sound vaguely British (which already puts me on “Oh, a Foreigner” list in the States), I really go into the foreigner mode when I am feeling uncomfortable. I can’t pretend I am you average “Standard-God-bless-America” American.
    I am afraid of “Where are you from” questions because I feel like I am being moved from being a person to being a foreigner, a stereotype, a subject to stupid questions (The thing I suppose any person from any minority have felt at least ones).
    It’s kind of sad that people don’t understand that those things hurt, just like sexist jokes and you can’t “lighten up” and dismiss them forever, no matter how much you try.

  • RondellWatson

    Do it with Defiance and Grace!

  • Drina

    This is an interesting post for me. All of my ancestors were European, but I’m not attached to, say, German or Norwegian culture the way Indian people grow up with theirs. I don’t care if you want to be a Viking for Halloween – I’m not one.

    If somebody dressed up in a callous way as the shy girl who always reads, I’d be offended and feel mocked – because that is who I am. (I can’t imagine anybody doing that, as it would be a stupid costume, but you get my point).

    That being said, if a girl of any race admired Pocohontas and wanted to dress like her because she admired her so much, I don’t think it would be any different than dressing like Freida Kahlo or Audrey Hepburn. As long as the costume is meant respectfully and admiringly, I don’t think it would be fair to be offended. Just don’t dress up as a tacky Indian – have respect for the culture.

  • http://twitter.com/america_q America

    Totally wished I had a copy of this with me this weekend. Some girl was dressed like an “Indian” at a Halloween event….although I was totally annoyed by it, I didn’t say anything to her. I told my sister-in-law, who was not so annoyed, it’s like someone was dressing up like a “Mexican”, she got it after that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kaliane-Moloch/100000708838432 Kaliane Moloch

    Given the behaviour of priests to little children at least in Ireland…I’d say dressing as one to be scary is spot on!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kaliane-Moloch/100000708838432 Kaliane Moloch

    I’m so sorry you and those you care about went through all this.

    A day in jail for beating a man to death? What in the name of….?

  • LissaGarhart

    It is lucky that you are not impacted by the hypersexualization of Native American women. Hooray for you, proceed with you racism and privalege, after all, no one you care about is going to be raped and/or mistreated because of your actions.

  • LissaGarhart

    What’s wrong with you? Don’t you know true genious when you see it? If you’re having trouble, let me translate:”Bla bla bla if it’s racist for me to shit on your stupid culture then every man, woman and child is racist by default. There, happy now?”

  • LissaGarhart

    When I read your post the voice in my head is whiny.

  • WTF White Privilege!!

    Are you freaking kidding me? WTF is wrong with you? What are you even talking about? Seriously. Are you trolling? Are you mentally ill? She’s not turning me off AND I’M WHITE. I stand with every single thing that she is saying and the only thing that is fueling my anger is the total idiocy of the ignorant dismissive racist trolls that have insulted the REAL CURRENT DAY PEOPLE WHO ARE TELLING YOU ABOUT THEIR ACTUAL EXPERIENCE, not pontificating on some family tree from 200 years ago or making disgusting assumptions about shit you know nothing about.

  • Mina

    I am not white, I am part native. I believe anyone is going to be offended if their culture is ridiculed. But all cultures are represented on this crazy holiday because most of us are intrigued by other cultures and Halloween gives us the opportunity to play. What about those that feel it is an honor to dress up as a person of another culture, respectfully connecting to their roots by representing another. Peace and Blessings.

  • WTF White Privilege!!

    Hey Mina, please take a look at Adrienne’s more recent post and let me know if you still feel like your position is defensible.

  • Tigersarebetter

    She is talking about HER family tree from 200 years ago and further by invoking her cultural experience. She is a part of a cultural loop. That is my point. Your ancestors have been apart of this cultural loop but more readily assimilated, or faded away as she and her ancestors will. The human historical cycle in a nutshell is: bondage to power to bondage. This is pretty much every culture that has ever existed. You or your progeny will eventually be in bondage again, as you were before you gained “power.” White people have not “ruled the earth” since the dawn of time. They have been ruled by other cultures. Egyptians who are now mistakenly slurred as “towel heads” had white slaves. Romans who would later be considered “wops” or “Without Papers” had “white” slaves. Babylonians had “white” slaves. Even Greeks had “white” slaves. It’s not a white trait to oppress. It is a human trait. Even native cultures subjugated each other, and they certainly sold each other out to “white culture.” For Halloween, don’t dress up at all, or dress up as whatever the hell you want. Native Americans are not an exception to the rule of cultural offense. This only causes division. What I’m trying to say is their is no profit in being offended by cultural stereotypes. We are all human and we should unite under the fact that we all share common pain and triumph. I deplore racism, but through my study of history I understand it is a HUMAN trait. Our culture will fall too. One day we will be subjugated as we once were. That’s the cultural cycle. We will assimilate or we will perish.

  • Clementine

    Entitlement = the official right to have or do something.

    As a person Indigenous descent (from this continent) I believe Adrienne has the RIGHT to speak her mind about the offensive “Indian” costumes individuals wear on Halloween. She is entitled to stand up against and obviously acknowledges her own privilege.
    As from your “poll” from wikipidia (which was probably written by a nonnative person), I find to be inaccurate. There have been RECENT studies done by Indigenous scholars about the negative influences of mascots. Please look over Stephanie A. Fryberg articles titled “Of Warrior Chiefs and Indian Princesses: The Psychological Consequences of American Indian Mascots” that clearly states these mascots ARE negative. Now, it’s not exactly Halloween costumes, but it’s practically the same thing.

    http://psych.stanford.edu/~mcslab/PublicationPDFs/Of%20warrior%20chiefs%20and%20Indian%20princesses.pdf

  • WTF White Privilege!!

    She is not talking about her ancestors from 200 years ago. She is talking about how the actions of people TODAY interact with her experience in the world TODAY. Again, I would like to see if you still find that your position is defensible after reading the most recent post.

  • WTF White Privilege!!

    Gross.

  • Whoatheboo

    I agree with you. I don’t like that term either, its so corny….

  • lexsswu

    I’m afraid I don’t understand the last part of your comment – ‘I will not fight for you not to be offended, since that is not a right’. Do you mean that Whoatheboo and others do not have a ‘right’ to be hurt by this issue and/or your (and others’) reactions to it? Please do clarify – but this portion is incidental to your overall argument, which is that objective statistics are somehow prerequisites of objection to racial caricatures in Halloween costumes.

    The argument that hurt must be backed up by facts or logic is, frankly, horrifying. When a member of an oppressed community makes a claim that a practice like this hurts them, the response should never be ‘prove it’.

  • Tigersarebetter

    Talking about your current cultural struggle relates to all human history which in turn relates to her ancestors. Without all of the human history and her ancestral struggles she has no struggle. I find it quite relatable. I act today how I act because I am a product of thousands of years of culture leading up to this point. I have a big picture view because I study big picture trends. Allow me to be more succinct with my stance:

    Racism: BAD

    Subjugation: BAD

    “Sexy Indian Costume”: BAD (and not just because of racial significance but gender roles as well).

    All Halloween costumes based on stereotype: YES

    A product of “white culture”: No

    A product of human culture: Yes

    A solvable problem: No

    Are their problems this culture faces like poverty and alcoholism and civil rights that deserve more attention than halloween costumes: YES

    Are there problems the entire human race faces that deserve more attention than halloween costumes: YES

  • im_a_horsegirl

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Q58nTiZrJ0 ” Help, help, I’m being repressed!!!”

    • Anon

      That was funny

  • im_a_horsegirl

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Q58nTiZrJ0 ” Help, help, I’m being repressed!!!”

  • Whoatheboo

    I didn’t need help in understanding Milemanners comment…. I pretty much summed it up by reading the first paragraph.

  • Whoatheboo

    You said and wrote all the things that I couldn’t…. You conveyed a message that I could not find the words nor patience to express about this issue and to the people that write the stupid “GET OVER IT!!” comments.

  • Capandwich San

    This severely affects me. It shouldn’t be that hard to understand. Halloween is so entirely misunderstood (thanks, consumerism) as the holiday it is supposed to represent, never mind what egotistical, vain, or horrific atrocities people want to don on themselves. It is supposed to be an anniversary to honor those that have passed on; to honor the spirit of life which brings about death and rebirth. I forget what it must be like for other cultures… even cultures I happen to be related to by blood. I am mostly Irish, descended from an Irish king who followed (pre-christian/pagan rituals)….. But, I am also descended from the Iroquois nation, by six generations. My great-great-great-great-great grandmother was of full native descent. That is something I am extremely proud of (I wish I weren’t so far away in the family tree), though I have been trying to trace that part of my family for a few years now and have had no luck. Regardless, there is too much ignorance when it comes to what is portrayed through our actions. People easily get too caught up in the hype of what seems to be the thing to do, not realizing the detriment of their actions on other people or groups of people. Your great-grandmother is certainly not a Halloween costume, neither should any one race or stereo-type of any particular kind of person. Unfortunately, these humans we find ourselves living with are still naive and ignorant in their understanding. None of us are really truly exempt. Forgiving mankind in their shortcomings is hard, especially when every which way you look there is narrow-mindedness, but remembering the roots that have made each one of us unique keeps that vitality alive. I’m not trying to discount what you are saying in any way. It is completely valid, I’m just relating it to the pile of things that “should be” easily understood. Even though I want to know every hardship the native side of my family endured in the scheme of this country’s political and money-hungry rise to control, I know I can’t ever know what it was like truly for any of the many of them. But, the roots are there within me… they always will be. Those are things that the spirit can’t forget…my spirit can’t forget. Roots dig deep for a reason…. Someday, people will understand one another again…. and we will all wake up and remember to be kind to each other.

  • Snow81257

    Please join the 21st century and assimilate, just like every other conquered peoples on earth

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

      Please fall down the stairs, just like every other mindless idiot.

      • GreenEightBall

        Yet another bored troll remark. Get off of here if you’re not even going to discuss anything and just make death wishes because someone left their statement. You’re a child sayan. You’re wasteful.

  • Snow81257

    Please join the 21st century and assimilate, just like every other conquered peoples on earth

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

    Please fall down the stairs, just like every other mindless idiot.

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

    If someone punches you in the face and blames your pain on the fact that you chose to have a nervous system, it will be poetic justice and absolutely hilarious.

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

    TLDR

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

    You flatter yourself to think your perspective on history is more valid than thousands of other peoples’ who have actually lived it.

    And I guarantee your “perspective” would fly out the window if you spent a year in the life of basically anyone who grew up in a “subjugated” group.

    You’re just another person trying to sound tough (who probably isn’t) and no-nonsense, when in fact your entire argument is that no one should ever fight injustice or people should just learn to accept millions dead, raped, or crushingly poor.

    There’s part of humanness your perspective seems to have ignored, which serves us more ably as a species than your malfunctioning amydala and faux-logical disenchanted arguments: Compassion, decency, and empathy.

    And even logically, if you want to ignore the moral outrages as you have so psychopathically done, then ponder this: Native Cultures survived for at least 12000 years in a multitude of environments and lifestyles. You think all cultures fade? Native cultures, it seems to my Middle Eastern eyes, have particularly potent staying power.

  • Prielle

    I am half Japanese, and while I am coming from a different cultural background, I know I share the same offence when I see all the ‘geishas’ in the bars and parties… This tradition is a beautiful part of Japanese culture, a cultural history I am proud to be a part of. in my mind, costumes are for halloween. If these people understood what they were wearing, the meaning behind the things they make mockery of, perhaps they would realize that these are not costumes, my culture is not a costume, and that maybe they should go and get an actual costume. Do your research people, i’m sure if you learn about what your portraying, you will se that it should be portrayed in a respectful and decent manner.

    • GreenEightBall

      Wow. Do you know how much the Japanese make fun of ‘American white trash’? You’re pathetic to be standing up for your culture if you can’t even understand that it misrepresents white people and American stereotyping WAY more than Halloween in Arkansas could ever.. How the fuck could you really misrepresent a geisha anyways? You should be lucky it’s someone enjoying themselves as a geisha and not another movie depicting that they were whores.

  • Prielle

    I am half Japanese, and while I am coming from a different cultural background, I know I share the same offence when I see all the ‘geishas’ in the bars and parties… This tradition is a beautiful part of Japanese culture, a cultural history I am proud to be a part of. in my mind, costumes are for halloween. If these people understood what they were wearing, the meaning behind the things they make mockery of, perhaps they would realize that these are not costumes, my culture is not a costume, and that maybe they should go and get an actual costume. Do your research people, i’m sure if you learn about what your portraying, you will se that it should be portrayed in a respectful and decent manner.

  • GermanGal

    Hi thx to Krista Wise posting your article on facebook, I just read it. And to be honest I have never thought about it this way, so thank you very much for such an eye opener. And I happen to be German (not American fake- German, but truely German) and I do get offended by super drunk Americans wearing Lederhosen contemplating that they know everything about Germany. I hate being stereotyped, if it is so unreflected. But anyway my point is, if I get somewhat annoyed by those people, I can at least begin to understand what you must feel like. I will post (hopefully with your consent) your article on my facebook wall as well and I will try and raise this issue in my Native American literature class.
    Thank you very much, I truly learned something today.

    • GreenEightBall

      Wow stay inside if you’re offended. “super drunk Americans wearing Lederhosen”.. You usually have that hanging around you?

  • GermanGal

    Hi thx to Krista Wise posting your article on facebook, I just read it. And to be honest I have never thought about it this way, so thank you very much for such an eye opener. And I happen to be German (not American fake- German, but truely German) and I do get offended by super drunk Americans wearing Lederhosen contemplating that they know everything about Germany. I hate being stereotyped, if it is so unreflected. But anyway my point is, if I get somewhat annoyed by those people, I can at least begin to understand what you must feel like. I will post (hopefully with your consent) your article on my facebook wall as well and I will try and raise this issue in my Native American literature class.
    Thank you very much, I truly learned something today.

  • Tigersarebetter

    Just a guess… under 25? I make no assumptions my perspective on history is more valid, but I would wager it has a broader scope than yours. I base this on averages and I would be tickled to find you were an exception. What history did you live? Also, I’m going to assume you just got bored and stopped reading. Oh wait, look at your comment, you did. You formed an entire opinion based on half the information. Subjugated group? what color am I? Did you automatically assume I was white? How very general of you. (When I write “WE stole your land” I refer to Americans, not a race). What moral outrages do I ignore? What part of my post states that one should accept injustice? I speak of picking battles. I do not condone Allowing atrocities of any sort to happen. I do not condone knowingly offending someone. I believe the two not equal offenses. I have very passionately invested a multitude of time in studying this country and her native peoples. This began when as a boy I read bury my heart at wounded knee. I have a great deal of respect for native culture, but no more than any other culture. I see far reaching trends across the entire spectrum of the human experience. The hurt is real. I understand and lament it. The author is talking about being offended because an entire culture is not thinking about how she feels when they caricature a part of her heritage, a heritage she was born into and cannot change and I assume does not want to change. I don’t like it. I believe her experience is just like anybody else who is human. We all have parts about us which make us unique and are made fun of or exploited by the majority. Perhaps we have “inferior genetics.” Perhaps we are fat. Perhaps we were raised in an extremely religious household and have trouble relating to a secular world. Perhaps we were born into a country that destroyed our birthright and murdered our ancestors (ie Jews, Palestinians, Romas, Native Americans, ect). The point I have attempted to make and have apparently failed at may be better suited by other peoples words, namely Plato’s: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I just feel like anger over the way somebody dresses is unproductive. The same amount of energy it would take to convince a grown adult how wrong their garb is could be better spent on an issue that has a more direct impact on one’s immediate happiness.
    And about your absurd assertion that native cultures survived for 12,000 years… Name a native culture that lasted unchanged for 12,000 years. Name one. Name any culture from 12,000 years ago that still exists unchanged. Name even a language that a native speaker today could use to speak to a native speaker 12000 years ago. Hell, I’d give you a medal if you could accurately translate middle English without a reference book. It’s only 800 years old. I hope people stop wearing “indian” costumes for this woman’s sake, but I find that ridiculously unlikely. I’d rather hear her elegant writing voice used for something bigger.

  • 8mph Ansible

    So let me get this straight. You ain’t payin attention to anything, are you? No one is saying you must be offended, yet there are those of us who legitimately are and what such bullshit to go noticed and be stopped.

    If you don’t find a problem with something Natives or some Irish would feel offended by (and yes there are those that get offended by the Boston Celtics and the mockery they see/feel on St. Patrick’s Day) then you don’t have too.

    By the by Native American experience =/= Irish experience =/= Scottish experience.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Lynch/100002230585526 Patrick Lynch

    With respect, I am speaking about the cultivation of sentiment rather than a response to violence. Violence begot violence. Wherefore is there a claim in which to justify that which is unjustifiable. Further, insofar as to construct the dialectics which are necessary to aim of cultural awareness, how then, is your artfully worded criticism pertinent?

  • 8mph Ansible

    Well if you want statistics as proof then you can, I dun know, use something called the internet and look it up for yourself rather than have someone do it for ya. And while you’re at it maybe try something a little harder than ONE wikipedia link that you neither supplied a source to and somehow applies to all Natives, mr. evidence.

  • 8mph Ansible

    Agreed. If that is what he means then that’s some seriously heinous bullshitery right there.

  • Whoatheboo

    Let me clarify the reply I posted earlier: Nobody should do polls like that unless they go around and interview every single Native or whatever issue or ethnicity/race you are. You should never publish a poll like that unless you take the general consensus of the entire group of whatever race/issue, because otherwise it taints the results and they aren’t correct whatsoever. Just because joe blow decides to pull a ballpark figure out of his asshole doesn’t mean we need to take that as gold.

    “There are real problems out there, as RondellWatson pointed out.I will fight alongside you for your right to a better life. However, I will not fight for you to not be offended, since that is not a right.”

    I know “there are real problems out there” what this article talks about happens to be a REAL PROBLEM. The fact that the vast majority of the American population thinks that this type of crap is “FUN” and acceptable is a real problem. An the fact that you’re telling me that I don’t have a right to be offended or that someone needs to provide a link to a poll, to make that persons opinion/eye-witnessed experiences accurate, believable or true, is just wrong. An I just realized that I’m wasting my time replying to someone who doesn’t and probably won’t understand what I or anybody else is trying to say or convey…. But if it was conducted in a poll you’d believe it. How dumb.

  • 8mph Ansible

    Really not seeing much here beyond some abstract.

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

    Don’t forget the Roma. Being racist against them is still a political position, and the ‘exotic gypsy’ image isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

    Ugh. PocaHotties and sexy gypsies…they both turn my stomach.

  • 8mph Ansible

    Hey dumbass, many of us Natives don’t have a “feeling” of being oppressed when we actually ARE being oppressed.

    There is no sort of “perceived” mass hallucination when its often there in front of us. The Halloween costume mockery we have to put up with every year is also part of the problems we deal with along with poverty, struggling with alcoholism, domestic violence, hunger, and unemployment. Even the little things add up on the scale.

    And perhaps you’re aware of the non-natives who also shake down our communities with and without government string pulling? And I’m not just talking about past history.

  • 8mph Ansible

    I call bullshit wannabe poet who can’t realize that’s its possible to chew gum and walk at the same time. It’s more a matter of holding someone down and forcing them to hit themselves with their own hands.

    If you don’t give a damn about us then just say so instead of hiding behind impotent purple prose.

  • 8mph Ansible

    The sad part is this cycle gets repeated EVERY YEAR around the same time. Fuckin decade into the 21st century and white folk still dun know how to act! Even after you tell them or explain it to them, again.

    Really makes me wonder where the heck the sewage swell of comments suddenly came from on this blog. Amazing how it often happens when a bunch of (mainly white) people feel threatened or offended by something you posted. Keep up the good work. =)

    • GreenEightBall

      Fucking right I feel threatened. My freedom and peace of mind feels threatened. You’re comments more fucking racist than anything to do with Halloween costumes. Disgusting.

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

        You sound like a great human being. I wish we were friends.

        • GreenEightBall

          You’re a troll sayan. Say something relevant to the post above you. I dare you.

  • 8mph Ansible

    The sad part is this cycle gets repeated EVERY YEAR around the same time. Fuckin decade into the 21st century and white folk still dun know how to act! Even after you tell them or explain it to them, again.

    Really makes me wonder where the heck the sewage swell of comments suddenly came from on this blog. Amazing how it often happens when a bunch of (mainly white) people feel threatened or offended by something you posted. Keep up the good work. =)

  • http://twitter.com/itacawin Cheryl Hute’ete

    It is concise, to say the least.

  • dscokween

    nice troll, strawman.

  • Whoatheboo

    Wait a minute, what I meant to say is IT IS IGNORANT!

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

    Did you hear that wooshing sound? That was the sound of the point going right over your head.

  • Milesmanners

    I said the part of Indian culture that is derived from feeling perpetually oppressed, not Indian culture in it’s entirety. Read before you rant.

    “being oppressed does often create a sense of solidarity among the oppressed…”

    I know, that’s what I said.

  • Milesmanners

    Listen, dumbass. When you tell me that I can’t dress up as a famous historical character just because of the colour my skin, I feel hurt and offended. Do you want to know why? Because it’s racist!

    Now that you know that I feel offended and oppressed by your racist demands, I demand that you cease and desist. If you refuse, you will be causing me great emotional distress which will exacerbate ALL of the other problems in my life.

    Once you have stopped oppressing me in this manner, the crime rate in my community will drop as a result. In the meantime, I will be busy taking liberal arts courses, watching TV, and inventing new and creative ways to browbeat Indians.

  • Milesmanners

    What do the rape statistics say about the race of the perpetrator?

  • Milesmanners

    I don’t see why you have such a hard time understanding this:

    You do not have the right to not be offended.

  • Milesmanners

    “The Halloween costume mockery we have to put up with every year…”

    Gosh it must be awful. Grow up you baby,

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

    If you acknowledge and lament the hurt, that’s all you needed to say.

    As for her blog, and its direction and focus, it’s hers. And so far, she has raised awareness and drawn attention to Native American issues in at least one multinational news agency.

    Under 25? No. And as for your age:

    One of the signs of passing youth is the birth of a sense of fellowship with other human beings as we take our place among them.
    - Virginia Woolf

    And on a related note to your age, of course no culture is the same as 12000 years ago. Are you the same as when you were a toddler? Teenager? Just because you changed doesn’t mean you’re extinct.

    As for “everybody faces stuff,” the point made by anyone who has seen what Native Americans deal with, is that Native Americans face ALL the things you listed all the time, which presumably is why even Halloween costumes are frustrating. It’s not that there aren’t bigger battles, it’s that sometimes you hope the little things will just stop reminding you of the big shaft you’ve been getting all along.

  • Beckstah

    Great post, Adrienne. I hope people take this to heart.

  • Beckstah

    Great post, Adrienne. I hope people take this to heart.

  • Tigersarebetter

    I wish they weren’t frustrating. It sucks. I wish she knew the innocent joy the holiday has for some, but she won’t unless she decides to not let it bother her. A little easier said than done I know. We all “face stuff” all the time though and I won’t concede this. Nobody truly knows if their suffering is as bad as another’s. That’s why I believe no one really has the right to say they suffer more than anybody else. It’s not quantifiable. There are no units of suffering. I’ve known a few “spoiled rich kids” who couldn’t deal with “being white” (and all the privileges that entails). and killed themselves. That’s two in the lower middle class neighborhood of my youth. I also know a holocaust survivor that believes he’s had just about the greatest life possible. Some people learn to be content, some learn to change things. Some give up. She seems like the middle to me. I just get frustrated that energy is channeled towards something that my experience has shown won’t change. Never underestimate the inability of your fellow man to walk in your shoes, no matter what their lot in life. Empathy has thresholds which must be crossed before it works in most human beings and clothing does not trigger this threshold for most people. That’s all.

  • Shinaabikwe

    At least 88% Non-Native. Source: “US Dept of Justice Study, Maze of Injustice” Also read, Bruce Duthu’s NYT opnion piece, Broken Justice

  • 10100111001

    90% of rapes of native americans are committed by someone that is NOT native american

  • Be_Be

    Wow, real mature, yourself, there, Milesmanners.

    Did it ever occur to you that most people understand THEIR OWN experiences better than you?!

  • Be_Be

    Because it’s racist

    No, it’s not. Racism = prejudice + (power and/or privilege)

    That’s like, social justice 101.

    Clearly you haven’t been taking as many liberal arts courses as you think.

  • Rob Schmidt

    FYI, the Annenberg poll on “Redskins” is obviously bogus. The question asked was: “As a Native American, do you find that name offensive or doesn’t it
    bother you?” These aren’t parallel choices. The first calls for making a negative moral judgment. The second is merely neutral. It’s much easier to choose the second option and imply you don’t impose your judgment on others.

    A proper survey design would make the choices perfectly parallel. For instance, do you consider the “Redskins” nickname good or bad? Do you consider it a slur or not a slur? Something along those lines.

    Then there’s the whole question of doing phone surveys and relying on people who self-identify as Indians. You’re going to get a more conservative population and fewer traditionalists who might be offended. Again, bogus.

    • Whoatheboo

      Yes!! Thats what I was trying to convey. Hopefully Mohnish will see yours but he/she probably won’t care….

  • Rob Schmidt

    FYI, the Annenberg poll on “Redskins” is obviously bogus. The question asked was: “As a Native American, do you find that name offensive or doesn’t it
    bother you?” These aren’t parallel choices. The first calls for making a negative moral judgment. The second is merely neutral. It’s much easier to choose the second option and imply you don’t impose your judgment on others.

    A proper survey design would make the choices perfectly parallel. For instance, do you consider the “Redskins” nickname good or bad? Do you consider it a slur or not a slur? Something along those lines.

    Then there’s the whole question of doing phone surveys and relying on people who self-identify as Indians. You’re going to get a more conservative population and fewer traditionalists who might be offended. Again, bogus.

  • Rob Schmidt

    Funny to hear white people tell others to get over it when they’re still mooning over Columbus, Thanksgiving, the Boston Tea Party, the Founding Fathers, the Alamo, the Wild West, the Civil War, the gangster/Prohibition era, the two World Wars, etc. Talk about a group of people who are fixated on the past…!

    • GreenEightBall

      Like 2% of retired white America cares for that bullshit. You’re delusional.

    • Tigersarebetter

      I think the gist is less get over it, and more ignore it, but “get over it” is just a much more prevalent “ready made no thought required colloquialism” in the American lexicon. This still appears to be much more insensitive than I originally thought because I don’t generally get to gauge native reactions to my viewpoints on these issues. And I think “white people fixation” is inaccurate. The understanding of these things is unbalanced because curriculum is unbalanced. High school Textbooks are big business. They are almost exclusively written to be approved by the school board of Texas because Texas has the one of the largest populations of students in the country. Printing two different versions of textbooks is not as profitable as printing just one. Therefore if it doesn’t fly in Texas it doesn’t fly.

    • Dicky

      Yeah. As a white, I get offended when people dress up in gangster/prohibition era costumes.

  • Rob Schmidt

    Funny to hear white people tell others to get over it when they’re still mooning over Columbus, Thanksgiving, the Boston Tea Party, the Founding Fathers, the Alamo, the Wild West, the Civil War, the gangster/Prohibition era, the two World Wars, etc. Talk about a group of people who are fixated on the past…!

  • GreenEightBall

    Wait. Does this mean I can’t be Antoine Dodson? Also: If I were to dress in traditional native costume, would this really be racist or just me genuinely wanting to be a traditional/pre-settlement native for Halloween? Maybe that era and culture of people fascinates me. Similar to when people dress up as a firefighter or police officer. These aren’t races, but they are cultures and according to the article above everyone should be offended for the drunken/hilarious portrayal of those professional civil servants. The fact that someone looks at another who’s dressed up as a native and automatically thinks they’re trying to portray them as savages is pretty closed-minded and cynical if you ask me. Halloween is a time for scare and comedy and re-enactment and most important an open minded community. If you’re too offended by this then stay indoors and don’t turn your outside lights on for one evening like many others do.

    I’m not gonna say “get over it” like all the other comments, but I will say “ignore it if you please”. It’s just Halloween. And if this is considered downright ‘racist’ then we’re all destined for war and misery throughout a life filled with little laughter and an abundance of aneurism.

    Nobody’s going to take into account the kid who dressed up as a native ‘hunter, warrior’, the next time they make a decision on the appearance and respectability of a native person. I’m part Native. If I hear anyone say shit to me when I wear what I believe to be a native headdress and a bow & arrow I’ll legitimately be able say to whoever that fellow native is in their ghost costume that they’re just plain embarrassing to our culture on Halloween.

    • http://twitter.com/itacawin Cheryl Hute’ete

      What Native with any respect for their culture wears a headdress for Halloween?

      • GreenEightBall

        ME? Did you not read I’m fucking native. You people are so contradicting. If I feel that represents native culture (WHICH IT DOES BY THE WAY) in a amazing and maybe even comedic way then so be it; it’s my choice. I have rights as a native and as a Canadian to do so. (and not comedic like haha look at that savage -that’s your prejudice thoughts not the worlds- but like HAHAHA LOOK AT THAT HE’S A REAL NATIVE WAR HERO AWESOME) Stop being concerned with others perceptions and work on your own. Good health and happy thoughts will arise. Time will become free. ‘Look on the bright side’ sounds cliche, but the more you focus on non-issues and the utter unrelated correlation between racism/oppression and Halloween costumes the better off your life will become.

        Also you ignorant dummy who likes to dribble from the keyboard without intelligence or reason: Feathered war bonnets (also called warbonnets or HEADDRESSES) were worn by honored Plains Indian men, sometimes into battle, but most often for ceremonial occasions, and were seen as items of great spiritual and magical importance. HOW THE FUCK WOULDN’T I HAVE RESPECT FOR WEARING THIS. Explain to me in even the slightest how your comment makes any valid sense. Am I supposed to be completely ashamed of our past and never re-enact anything to do with this great history? Or are you just completely lacking the definition of headdress in your pea-sized nogan? Please respond I am actually interested. Thanks

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

          Way to answer the question and make yourself look smart at the same time.

          Wow, my socks are damp–I must be sitting in a puddle of the dripping sarcasm from my above sentence.

          • GreenEightBall

            Oh you’re so witty. So do you just roll through all the lengthy comments you can’t understand and criticize others on how ‘smart’ they sounded? Because I scroll down and that’s all I see. You don’t have the right to say shit about how I feel on this. You don’t have the right because you don’t have input. I made more valid points in that last response than you have on this whole page. What because the majority of retards here are on your side of the issue you can just bear no reason for comment and spill your comedy out on what’s supposed to be a “serious racial issue”?. This makes me sick. This is a hobby for you guys. Blog about something that could never have any importance just to blow it out of proportion. You’re sad and disheartening sayan. Grow a brain.

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

              In terms of my input, all has been said before. Logical, reasonable arguments preceded my discovery of this post. Many people wrote eloquent, reasoned arguments as to why it is harmful and disrespectful to mock Native culture on Halloween. You ignored them and crapped all over dozens of posts on this page like an incontinent mutt.

              As for intelligence, your stunted diction and disjointed syntax belie the inherent weakness of your arguments and your dearth of analytical thinking skills. The length of your rambling and incoherent posts is not an endorsement of your perspicacity but rather stands as an emblem of your own asinine inadequacy. The wise man says in a sentence what the fool can’t in a page.

              Insult me all you want, but the fact is, the readership here absolutely decimates your arguments with their reasonable call for compassion and empathy towards an already marginalized minority.

              • GreenEightBall

                I crapped on them all because they’re all the fucking same. By the ay, beautiful poetry. How it must feel to always be the most politically correct dysfunction. You speak in vain. You’re great with words; I can tell it took a little while to compose such spew. Of course you refuse to say anything of validity towards the argument at hand once again; hence you are vain. You enjoy blogging your thoughts away and twisting them into repetitive shit that sounds like you actually have something to say. You’re bored. I’m upset. I made comments about the issue at hand and how I felt about them. You said something below about how versatile natives have been over the past 12,000 years. that was you’re best piece of irrelevant fact and reason behind wanting to close out any stereotyping at Halloween. You’re not intelligent. I can translate the garbage you just wrote into something legible and sensible. This is how an engineer would see your troll scrolls opposed to another fantastical poet like yourself:

                “As for intelligence, your stunted diction…”

                =Your use of English is not as elaborate as mine. It shows how weak my analysis and argument are. The length of my post makes shows my inadequacy.

                So who’s the wise man here? The man that could summarize your terrible and illogical insult in a couple pieces of information; or the man who’s filled with nothing but emotion and uncalled adjectives and dribble? Answer: Please say something worth while next time or just shut your poetic narrative.

        • http://twitter.com/itacawin Cheryl Hute’ete

          For one, GreenEightBall, your response is the most ridiculous thing I have read today. In my experience as a Lakota raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, I have never seen a member of my tribe don a headdress for anything other than ceremonial purposes. You mention this also, and then bash me for saying that no Native with any respect for their culture should wear a headdress, something worn by chiefs and great warriors, for fucking Halloween.
          Wearing a faux-headdress on Halloween does not show respect for Native American culture, it trivializes it. And it is absurd for anyone who understands the meaning of the headdress to wear it when they are not a chief, not a warrior, not honored in any way. It shows a supreme lack of respect on your part. And as far as who the “ignorant dummy” is in this thread, I’d say that your post pretty much settles the question.

          • GreenEightBall

            I never asked who the ignorant dummy was. There’s no question. Wow you grew up in Lakota. Amazing. I’m not gunna divulge my background or status to you at all. You know why? Because that’s about as relevant here as the notion that dressing up at Halloween promotes stereotyping and racism. I don’t care if you’re brown as bark or light as day or if you grew up in Nebraska or Nunavit. If I said I was on a reserve right now and I’m 85% Cree-Matis would it have any meaning here? No. Your sheer arrogance and this thread promotes the very essence of what you rave about. It’s self propelling because people would of never come to this conclusion or felt poorly about it if it weren’t for Adrienne’s tale of oppression. The fact that you take someone wearing a headdress somewhere other than the reserve as negative makes you exclusive to others ideas and choice. I don’t give a fuck what you think it should be worn for. I’ve been to pow wows and there’s nothing more wrong or blasphemes than getting together with friends on Halloween and listening to music dressed up. In many people that’s a spiritual and ceremonial event. There’s no disrespect and if there is then thank god it’s not an ACTUAL headdress which should be used for traditional ceremony and meeting. Do you really classify everyone but yourself and other upset people like you as an ignorant asshole that doesn’t have the sense to know the difference between a Halloween get up and the real fucking deal? You think I went as a pregnant nun one year because my favourite Aunt who IS A NUN would be offended? Obviously not she thought it was great because she’s not an inherently obnoxious person and knows the difference between subject-related fun and the subject itself. Just because it’s a formal costume doesn’t exclude it from reenactment by anyone. You’re making it racist and stereotypical by exploiting the small percentage of slutty bimbos that overdue EVERY outfit they wear. Why don’t you attack their slutty prerogatives instead of the general public who, believe or not, are mostly just trying to recreate a rich part of history. Listen to yourself. “It trivializes it”. Bitch you’re trivializing the issue. There really isn’t one, yet everyone’s gonna stick up for poor Adrienne because supposed trolls are pointing out the obvious: This is a troll in itself. A drama thread. A provoked revolution of reverse thinking. If you just relax, take a breath, and forget the word stereotype ever existed, I’ll agree to not to be “racist, stereotypical or disrespectful” to any Native person or their actual traditions because of Halloween outfits. Oh wait that’s what I do anyways because it’s fucking common sense. If there’s anyone giving the people of Lakota and Pine Ridge a bad image it’s you, Adrienne, and every other person who’s making this a real issue.. It’s true: People, as in the general public, (the white man as you would put it) really don’t care what you or any Native thinks on Halloween. But at the end of the night they don’t wake up instantly retarded and stereotypical in the future. If someone does, it’s because it’s been drilled into them by this blog that they were extremely racist and a bad person for doing it. Do you know what you should really try to work on when you stop blogging about Halloween on this horrible thread? Discussing some real fucking issues that would help our native people: Like hunger, sexual abuse, jobs, affordable houses. You’re blatantly ridiculous and selfish. People’s view on the history and tradition of reserves are not going to change because of costumes; I suppose all movies depicting any stereotype should be banned as well? Seems even worst that they made a profitable product out of the spiritualism and honour; again misusing the costumes WITH the intention to change the look to ‘hollywood standards’ instead of just a fun annual night with friends.. But of course no one cares about that. Ya know why? —-Cuz it’s just as pointless and meaningless as this issue.

  • GreenEightBall

    Wait. Does this mean I can’t be Antoine Dodson? Also: If I were to dress in traditional native costume, would this really be racist or just me genuinely wanting to be a traditional/pre-settlement native for Halloween? Maybe that era and culture of people fascinates me. Similar to when people dress up as a firefighter or police officer. These aren’t races, but they are cultures and according to the article above everyone should be offended for the drunken/hilarious portrayal of those professional civil servants. The fact that someone looks at another who’s dressed up as a native and automatically thinks they’re trying to portray them as savages is pretty closed-minded and cynical if you ask me. Halloween is a time for scare and comedy and re-enactment and most important an open minded community. If you’re too offended by this then stay indoors and don’t turn your outside lights on for one evening like many others do.

    I’m not gonna say “get over it” like all the other comments, but I will say “ignore it if you please”. It’s just Halloween. And if this is considered downright ‘racist’ then we’re all destined for war and misery throughout a life filled with little laughter and an abundance of aneurism.

    Nobody’s going to take into account the kid who dressed up as a native ‘hunter, warrior’, the next time they make a decision on the appearance and respectability of a native person. I’m part Native. If I hear anyone say shit to me when I wear what I believe to be a native headdress and a bow & arrow I’ll legitimately be able say to whoever that fellow native is in their ghost costume that they’re just plain embarrassing to our culture on Halloween.

  • Whoatheboo

    A poll that was conducted 7-8 years ago!!

  • http://twitter.com/itacawin Cheryl Hute’ete

    What Native with any respect for their culture wears a headdress for Halloween?

  • 8mph Ansible

    Thanks for not understanding or paying attention to a damn thing in the slightest.

  • GreenEightBall

    Like 2% of retired white America cares for that bullshit. You’re delusional.

  • Whoatheboo

    Yes!! Thats what I was trying to convey. Hopefully Mohnish will see yours but he/she probably won’t care….

  • GreenEightBall

    ME? Did you not read I’m fucking native. You people are so contradicting. If I feel that represents native culture (WHICH IT DOES BY THE WAY) in a amazing and maybe even comedic way then so be it; it’s my choice. I have rights as a native and as a Canadian to do so. (and not comedic like haha look at that savage -that’s your prejudice thoughts not the worlds- but like HAHAHA LOOK AT THAT HE’S A REAL NATIVE WAR HERO AWESOME) Stop being concerned with others perceptions and work on your own. Good health and happy thoughts will arise. Time will become free. ‘Look on the bright side’ sounds cliche, but the more you focus on non-issues and the utter unrelated correlation between racism/oppression and Halloween costumes the better off your life will become.

    Also you ignorant dummy who likes to dribble from the keyboard without intelligence or reason: Feathered war bonnets (also called warbonnets or HEADDRESSES) were worn by honored Plains Indian men, sometimes into battle, but most often for ceremonial occasions, and were seen as items of great spiritual and magical importance. HOW THE FUCK WOULDN’T I HAVE RESPECT FOR WEARING THIS. Explain to me in even the slightest how your comment makes any valid sense. Am I supposed to be completely ashamed of our past and never re-enact anything to do with this great history? Or are you just completely lacking the definition of headdress in your pea-sized nogan? Please respond I am actually interested. Thanks

  • GreenEightBall

    Fucking right I feel threatened. My freedom and peace of mind feels threatened. You’re comments more fucking racist than anything to do with Halloween costumes. Disgusting.

  • GreenEightBall

    Wow stay inside if you’re offended. “super drunk Americans wearing Lederhosen”.. You usually have that hanging around you?

  • Milesmanners

    Okay. I will help you understand my own experiences with Indians:

    1) Assault

    2) Theft

    3) Public Intoxication

    I wish Indians would stop engaging in antisocial behaviour, but… oh yeah, Halloween costumes undermine their self-esteem and cause them to act like this. So it’s white people’s fault.

  • GreenEightBall

    Wow. Do you know how much the Japanese make fun of ‘American white trash’? You’re pathetic to be standing up for your culture if you can’t even understand that it misrepresents white people and American stereotyping WAY more than Halloween in Arkansas could ever.. How the fuck could you really misrepresent a geisha anyways? You should be lucky it’s someone enjoying themselves as a geisha and not another movie depicting that they were whores.

  • Anon

    That was funny

  • Milesmanners

    Oh yes, and since white people have all the power and privilege, they are the only ones that can be racist.

    It’s one of the special extra abilities we have that makes us The Supreme Race.

  • GreenEightBall

    Why did it take over 25 comments to find one that agrees with me. THANK YOU MINA. I feel like everyone else is insane now that you reiterated my comment and thoughts at the top exactly. Marry me? :)

  • Milesmanners

    Okay, back to the original topic. If white nerds stop having cowboys and indians parties at college, the amount of indians raped each year will decrease by half. Makes sense to me.

  • GreenEightBall

    At first I thought you were a massive troll. But I see exactly what you’re saying. Agreed completely.

  • GreenEightBall

    God this just gets better lolol. I wish I could express myself like this. Unfortunately 90% won’t understand what you’re saying at all.

  • Be_Be

    Halloween costumes undermine their self-esteem and cause them to act like this. So it’s white people’s fault.

    No one is saying this.

    The whole point of this post was that dressing up as Indians perpetuates stereotypes that are both harmful and hurtful.

    Perhaps you should also “read before you rant?”

  • Be_Be

    since white people have all the power and privilege, they are the only ones that can be racist.

    Again, no one is saying this.

    However, it is very unlikely that an Indian person could wield racism (as an institutional tool- we’re not just talking about personal prejudices here) against a white person.

    At this point, I’d like to point out that your repeated misinterpretations and leaping to conclusions are and accusations of “playing victim” and playing at being a victim of racism yourself are all CLASSIC trolling techniques, and fit neatly into “anti-(social-justice-movement-of-your-choice) bingo squares”

    What I’m saying is that the people responding to you and telling you you’re wrong have heard your arguments many, many times before from others like yourself. We have considered them and refuted them to our satisfaction, as well as to the satisfaction of our intellectual peers. If you are being outright dismissed,it’s because eventually,it becomes not worth our time to deal with you on an intellectual level, because let’s face it, you haven’t invested the time, energy, and open mind required to really understand what you’re talking about.

  • ConsciouslyFrugal

    Preach! Beautifully stated.

  • ConsciouslyFrugal

    Preach! Beautifully stated.

  • http://slates.wildfireweb.com/1744527638 Jack Skye

    on my last year of trick-or treating (I was 12) I dressed up as a “sexy elf” with fake pointed ears, a green mini dress, a crown of oak leaves and a bow. People kept asking me if I was an Indian princess. I started saying “yes, but I’m dressed as a elf”.

  • http://slates.wildfireweb.com/1744527638 Jack Skye

    actually I think your refusal to see when actions are harmful and oppressive, even after those harmed by them explain it to you, is doing the most to trivialize the experiences of colonized peoples.

  • http://slates.wildfireweb.com/1744527638 Jack Skye

    If you’re going as a specific person and not doing the black/brown face thing or contributing to racist stereotypes than I don’t think it’s racist at all. I’ve thought of going as Firda Kahlo before, I love her work, and learning about her in highschool helped me embrace my mustache.

  • RachelB

    Yes. I pretty much interpret all the “stop being offended!” responses as “I have the right to be an asshole to everyone who has told me that my behavior is hurtful!”

    Well, people have the legal right to be assholes who act as if sexism, racism, and colonialism are solved problems (news flash: they’re not). But it doesn’t say much for their decency if that is the particular right they are most excited about defending.

  • http://twitter.com/Leo_Godin leogodin217

    Thanks for laying your heart out there in this post. While I don’t fully understand your position, I would not dress as an “Indian”, nor would I let my sons. Your pain, and that of others, should be enough for caring people to agree.

    I think a large part of the problem is that most of us know very little of modern Native American culture. I’m fortunate to have friends who live or lived on reservations, but that is rare.

  • http://twitter.com/Leo_Godin leogodin217

    Thanks for laying your heart out there in this post. While I don’t fully understand your position, I would not dress as an “Indian”, nor would I let my sons. Your pain, and that of others, should be enough for caring people to agree.

    I think a large part of the problem is that most of us know very little of modern Native American culture. I’m fortunate to have friends who live or lived on reservations, but that is rare.

  • Milesmanners

    Get
    Over
    It

  • Bronwynstreet

    i agree, where I am from our Maori culture is used and abused and only really wanted when there is some big event such as our recent Rugby World cup event here in New Zealand… We have been colonised for hundreds of years and like all indigenous cultures still suffer the backlash with high statistics regarding health, poverty and issues with drugs and alcohol, but still no one gets it… and they wont cos they dont walk the walk..

  • BaritGT

    By dressing as one when you are not on Halloween? All three carry historical/cultural weight, and people from those respective cultures take them seriously.
    What I mean is, if you are a clerk at a 7-11 and you dress up as a matador, Spaniards might take offence. They would have be particularly serious minded and sensitive Spaniards, but still. It is possible to caricature a ninja, matador, a mariachi, a samurai, and even a cowboy. Should people be deeply offended by it? Maybe, but not much.

  • Bronwynstreet

    i agree, where I am from our Maori culture is used and abused and only really wanted when there is some big event such as our recent Rugby World cup event here in New Zealand… We have been colonised for hundreds of years and like all indigenous cultures still suffer the backlash with high statistics regarding health, poverty and issues with drugs and alcohol, but still no one gets it… and they wont cos they dont walk the walk..

  • BaritGT

    Was the graphic meant to promote the use of snake oil elixir? What was the image trying to communicate within the the context of the speaker’s presentation?

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

    I’m going to calmly suggest you reread your balls out crazy response to a simple question.

    Also, I’m going to calmly suggest you consider the irony of you lecturing a pipe-bearer’s daughter on the significance of warbonnets.

    Why so defensive?

    Also, I will calmly suggest you not call my fiancee, one of the top Gates Scholars in America, an ignorant dummy. I also calmly suggest you sit on a sharpened stake and bleed to death.

  • Kristina

    Hey Adrienne,
    I read your blog regularly, and while I might end up buying an item from the Pendleton Portland Collection (omg so beautiful), I would never play Indian for Halloween. And I am always interested in your perspective. Sorry your blog got attacked by trolls. Keep on keeping on! :-) Kristina

  • Kristina

    Hey Adrienne,
    I read your blog regularly, and while I might end up buying an item from the Pendleton Portland Collection (omg so beautiful), I would never play Indian for Halloween. And I am always interested in your perspective. Sorry your blog got attacked by trolls. Keep on keeping on!
    :-) Kristina

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

    You sound like a great human being. I wish we were friends.

  • http://twitter.com/itacawin Cheryl Hute’ete

    For one, GreenEightBall, your response is the most ridiculous thing I have read today. In my experience as a Lakota raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, I have never seen a member of my tribe don a headdress for anything other than ceremonial purposes. You mention this also, and then bash me for saying that no Native with any respect for their culture should wear a headdress, something worn by chiefs and great warriors, for fucking Halloween.
    Wearing a faux-headdress on Halloween does not show respect for Native American culture, it trivializes it. And it is absurd for anyone who understands the meaning of the headdress to wear it when they are not a chief, not a warrior, not honored in anyway. It’s shows a supreme lack of respect on your part. And as far as who the “ignorant dummy” is in this thread, I’d say that your post pretty much settles the question.

  • Tigersarebetter

    I think the gist is less get over it, and more ignore it, but “get over it” is just a much more prevalent “ready made no thought required colloquialism” in the American lexicon. This still appears to be much more insensitive than I originally thought because I don’t generally get to gauge native reactions to my viewpoints on these issues. And I think “white people fixation” is inaccurate. The understanding of these things is unbalanced because curriculum is unbalanced. High school Textbooks are big business. They are almost exclusively written to be approved by the school board of Texas because Texas has the one of the largest populations of students in the country. Printing two different versions of textbooks is not as profitable as printing just one. Therefore if it doesn’t fly in Texas it doesn’t fly.

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

    I guess you chose to feel hurt that people didn’t view you as the next Epictetus.

  • Be_Be

    An inspired rebuttal, sir; truly, that puts the issue to bed. That is to say, I’m done here, too.

  • GreenEightBall

    Oh you’re so witty. So do you just roll through all the lengthy comments you can’t understand and criticize others on how ‘smart’ they sounded? Because I scroll down and that’s all I see. You don’t have the right to say shit about how I feel on this. You don’t have the right because you don’t have input. I made more valid points in that last response than you have on this whole page. What because the majority of retards here are on your side of the issue you can just bear no reason for comment and spill your comedy out on what’s supposed to be a “serious racial issue”?. This makes me sick. This is a hobby for you guys. Blog about something that could never have any importance just to blow it out of proportion. You’re sad and disheartening sayan. Grow a brain.

  • GreenEightBall

    That was the biggest piece of poetic garbage I’ve ever read.

    “There’s part of humanness your perspective seems to have ignored, which serves us more ably as a species than your malfunctioning amydala and faux-logical disenchanted arguments: Compassion, decency, and empathy. “

    Yes lets just go with emotion over reason.
    Emotion/Empathy says: Do what the blogger says because she says it has something to do with racism.
    Reason says: I know the difference between a costume and a respectable native person and their traditions.

    The last paragraph is too utterly stupid to even comment on. 12000 years the same? lol.. “Staying Power”. You’re a babbling arrogant.

  • GreenEightBall

    Everything trivial on Halloween jackass. It should be the name of the fucking day. Doesn’t mean I’m going to wake up the next day and feel differently towards the traditions of a Native. What about films? People that dress as Nuns? Police? All different cultures. Should we ban these too? Your thinking process is oppressive.

  • 99%

    Okay, dear blogger, you lost my sympathy in the very begining because you stereo typed me before launching into a pity-plea on how tired you are of being stereo typed – How ironic… and what a cheap attempt to strip me of my voice before even hitting the punch. So because I’m white, you automatically deem me as a European dictator? That’s quite a racist offense, where as my crime is as innocent as wearing a Tiger Lilly costume when I was ten? Everything you said about Native oppression is true; however I find it completely irrelevant to such a festive event such as Halloween, and I’m not even going to waste my breath defending the celebrators, who choose YOUR culture to exhibit because they embrace it. Fine, be annoyed, but don’t be “offended.” Man the fuck up. Yes, I think it’s dumb when people call Natives, “Indians,” and I’ve spent my share of time meditating on the tragic death of all those innocent Natives… But you personally weren’t oppressed… so get off your victim throne. The only oppression this generation knows is Occupy Wall Street… a REAL problem that is happening NOW, not 300 years ago and here you’re whimpering about a Pocahontas costume? We’re all suffering poverty right now. Cry me a river.
    American’s are so spoiled with their freedom that they abuse the entitlement to be “offended” and in turn, TURN on their fellow American, stripping them of their right to express… all in the name of being “Offended.” In North County California, it is illegal to hang an American flag in your front yard because it is considered offensive. In Carlsbad California, shop owners can be fined for hanging a “Merry Christmas” banner in their window. The Pledge of Allegiance has been banished from public schools, and some might agree that a gay man might jeopardize his job if he showed up on his first day of work wearing a “Gay pride” shirt. All because some so called American’s get offended and take themselves too seriously, play they pit card and use their rights to take away their fellow American’s rights. Wow, how un-American.
    TOLERANCE… it’s what makes an American an America. I tolerate the Jehovah’s Witness who faithfully taps on my door every Sunday, just as the African American tolerates the wigger who lopes around their neighborhood, misrepresenting their culture. How on earth does a Native costume misinterpret your culture? Did the Natives not wear face paint, feathers and leather satchels? I personally take serious offense to the meaning of Halloween, but I have the sense to focus on the fact that the present meaning of Halloween does not reflect its’ origin, no less do the celebrators mean to offend me. Yes, I am white, raised with strong German cultural values by my immigrant parents… and NO I don’t appreciate the idiot who crosses their eyes, prances around in a lederhosen and yodels – it is a hideously atrocious portrayal of my culture – a culture I take pride in. Sometimes it makes me laugh and sometimes it makes me pout. And yes, my culture has skeletons in their closet, 6 million skeletons last I checked. You say there are skeletons in the Natives closet? Would you feel better if I dressed as a drunken violent Pocahontas instead? I didn’t think so. If ya ask me, I prefer the nerd in the lederhosen over the Nazi costume – but WW II didn’t happen 300 years ago now did it? There are some costumes that I admit ARE racially offensive, such terrorist costumes, because the Muslims are CURRENTLY facing the stink-eye of America, which is wrong. But I won’t endorse you train hopping their band wagon.
    What makes your feelings more important than the next? Or mine for that matter? Who am I to point my finger at every Catholic School Girl costume and proclaim: “Offense! Offense!” I promise you, behind every costume at Walmart is a big fat pussy, like you, crying about how offended they are… but hey, most of them take it up the ass in the name of tolerance, because that’s what America is about – freedom. It’s dribble like this that will lead to enforcement of more petty laws, thus pushing this country farther and farther from freedom.
    I will tolerate this Holiday, but I will not tolerate this dribble. You can suck my dick, lick my balls, then roll me over and kiss my ass. I hope a dozen Pocahontas’s show up at your door this Halloween.

    • GreenEightBall

      ^^ Also true

    • Atrebla

      I am shocked by how angry your response is, and how full it is of sexist, racist, and imperialist narrative. You call yourself the 99%, and I respect that our movement is for everyone, however your analyses of problems must go deeper. Economic justice will not be achieved without also achieving social justice, and vice versa. How will you be able to have dialogue about solving these problems, and work together with all types of people, if you continue to do so with so little respect for people who are in some ways different from you?
      I speak as a 1/4 native woman and I share the blogger’s sentiment. Some of it I would have worded differently, but I understand her anger. You have taken her response personally (as if she were literally writing it to YOU Mr.99%) and you have responded in kind. This is your first error. I see her writing both as a way of creatively venting her anger that she may not have space to do elsewhere, as well as a place for other native people to feel camaraderie and validation, or for non-native people to get a taste of how frustrating the experience of seeing people dressed as fake ‘indians’ is. (Pardon, Ms.OriginalBlogger, if my interpretation is not what you meant to convey – but this is how I read it!)
      However, I also see your response as coming from a space of frustration and anger. You are white (and male…as is made clear in your last paragraph), and there is an odd culture especially in the United States of vacillating between white guilt and defensiveness among people who have not yet fully confronted their privilege. You clearly have not yet confronted this. I suggest that you educate yourself.
      Another issue: that of ‘tolerance.’ I, for one, do not want to be ‘tolerated,’ nor do I want to merely ‘tolerate’ anyone else. I do not want my presence to be merely suffered in spite of its offensiveness, abided in face of its otherness. As a human listening to the emotions of another human (feelings which are repeatedly validated and shared in the comments above this one), I think you should take into consideration that your position of privilege (and no, you don’t have to be rich or educated to have privilege – privilege doesn’t mean you have privilege over every person in every sense, it means that you have privilege for something at least, in some areas of your life) has a HUGE effect on your life experience, psyche, and analysis of the world around you. How you walk through every-day life, how you speak, how you are treated, how you analyze situations, how you analyze your position in society, and that of others as well.
      I would strongly suggest that you step down just for a moment, and consider that this young woman who is expressing her frustration is someone you should respect. Imagine this: what if she had made this speech somewhere public, impassioned, in front of a very diverse group. After the speech, you go up to her, and tell her angrily to lick your balls and kiss your ass. Would you? If not, then don’t do it here. YOU man up (or woman up, since in this situation, we can all very clearly see who is the more thoughtful, mature, and respectful between this blogger and yourself). You want to be heard? Engage in respectful, intelligent dialogue. Or you will get no where.
      I want NO laws telling people what to wear. I want you to listen to me, and this blogger, and respect that. Since when do we need laws to build mutual respect, and why do you refuse to foster that within yourself?

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

      The funny part is that you completely proved the blogger’s point by being a total piece of shit.

    • http://twitter.com/Lilamedusa Lilamedusa Baudelia

      You know? You’re making a mistake from the moment you start to prat about “America, America”. The United States of America isn’t America, dude. You know what America is? America is a whole godamn continent, and Brazil, Chile, Belice, Guatemala, Canad, Mexico, Peru, etc. are part of it.
      And you know what else? It is offensive.
      You know why it’s offensive? It’s offensive to see an asshole dressed as a “mexican” with a big sombrero azing around, because that’s not what mexican are. Mexican are people who work twice as hard as you do every fucking day to get less than the half of what you do.
      You know why it’s offensive? Because Asian people aren’t just people with “small eyes”. They’re different people with different culutures with different backgrounds that you don’t care to understand because you’d rather make fun of it.
      You know why it’s offensive? Because Native americans are not little whores with skimpy leather attires. They’re people with a whole set of beliefs to back up those clothes, that suffer the effects of the constant underrating to their beliefs.
      It hurts because, as minorities, we aren’t just the caricatures of ourselves. It hurts because behind our sombrero, and our make up, and our habits there’s a whole set of beliefs that are not to make fun of, because they mean something to us.
      It hurts because it’s blatant disregard of minorities as people; of our history; of our beliefs: of our hardwork; of our, past and present, pain.
      I’m sorry if I am a pussy for being hurt, but every one deserves respect, and minorities have — and had –to work harder than white people to get it.
      But it seems that all that effort is worthless to you, because you’d much rather have fun with your white friends and get drunk on a festivity you have no idea what it means, instead of manning up and be thoughtful of other people’s feelings just one fucking day of the year.
      PS: And I’m sorry for the spelling mistakes, but you see, as a mexican, I had to learn English just to be at the same level of the US citizens, never mind that they’d never even bother to acknowledge that, jeesh, spanish is a language, too!

    • lolwhitepeople

      Oh boohoohoo 99%, cry me a river. I love how people get so offended by what offends other people.
      Native culture, unlike German, is diverse, and not all of them wear headresses and feathers and look like Pocahontas. That’s hard to understand, I know, but do try. This year I’m dressing up in Lederhosen. I hope it doesn’t offend you because LULZ it’s just halloween!
      But basically what you’re saying is that it’s only okay to get offended by what you decide is offensive? I wish I had such confidence! Get on with your bad self!
      You, personally, have not been affected by this persons opinion so man up and get off your victim throne, mkay?
      And really, you shouldn’t be so upset anyway Don’t you know there are starving children in Africa? Save your upset for them. (http://www.derailingfordummies.com/#moreimportantly)
      Regardless, I’ve decided you aren’t allowed to be offended by what this person wrote so just stop being offended, okay?

  • Milesmanners

    No, that’s not it. The vast majority of whites who live amongst indians are not “racist” and are generally sympathetic to their plight. It’s just that we’re sick of the complaints.

    Put it this way: when did indians start having their feelings hurt by costumes?

  • http://slates.wildfireweb.com/1744527638 Jack Skye

    Since when is a costume of a religious order of one of the most powerful religions in the world or an occupation which regularly gives people a sense of authority and power over others, equatable to a caricature of someone’s race, particularly when tied to a history of dis-empowerment and oppression? Your analogy doesn’t make sense. You also clearly lack reading comprehension skills as people are not pointing out the triviality of Halloween as the main problem, the blog and many of the commentators have repeatedly explained why the stereotypes included in the costumes are racist and harmful. Your hostility towards me for speaking out against something which has harmed me makes little sense. It causes no harm and takes little effort for people to simply not do racist things. Dressing as a racist caricature reinforces harmful stereotypes. Or maybe you just feel threatened when women of colour get “too uppity”.

  • Gah!

    Obviously the author doesn’t know any Irish or Scottish people that are constantly portrayed as drunks, or idiots, or leprechauns (if they’re irish), or kilt wearers (if they’re scottish). When was the last time you saw a scottish person write a condescending tirade about non-scotts wearing kilts? Also, if you think the Irish haven’t had a hard go at it, do a little reading before you retort.

    Oh, and not all Germans are evil Nazis, not all French are womanizers, not all Swedes are giant blondes, not all Italians are in the Mafia, not all Canadians are beer guzzling hockey fanatics and not all Americans are assholes.

    If you think that people of “colour” are the only ones that get stereo typed or made halloween costumes out of, you are sadly mistaken. Every racial, ethnic or religious group that is not in the majority in the area that they live in are subjected to the same thing, even white people who live abroad. Whining about it on the internet helps nobody, it would be better to focus your energies on making changes in your community.

    • GreenEightBall

      ^^The Truth

    • Whoatheboo

      “Whining about it on the internet helps nobody, it would be better to focus your energies on making changes in your community.” What if you do both? Is that bad? Like in your downtime you whine about crap on the internet…. But everywhere else and any other time, you try to help your community and improve life for your people/ethnicity/race?

      • GreenEightBall

        “What if you do both”… What a stupid question. People can blog in their spare time and even complain all they want. The fact is: why would someone who is focused and destined on fixing real world issues and problems within their community EVER spend their free time doing the complete negative of their former aspirations by blogging/advertising nonsense and completely closed minded, arbitrary, bias thoughts that only create problems and conflict about others beliefs? You know why no one who actually gives a shit would never post such personal garbage about implied stereotyping? Because it’s ABSOLUTELY CONTRADICTING.

        Isn’t this website supposed to be about serious subjects having to do with Native’s rights and traditions? ….”Countering Stereotypes One Cigar Store Indian At a Time”… how about countering the advertisement and connotation of the term ‘Cigar Store Indian’ on your website’s main banner!! HA..That’s actually hilarious! I’m literally laughing out loud.

        • Whoatheboo

          Well then why are you even wasting your time commenting on this blog?

          • GreenEightBall

            Because it’s something I do in my spare time.. except I’m not advocating bullshit that promotes anything but solutions to real living issues and problems when that’s supposed to be the whole basis of this site… and a friend linked it actually thinking I’d be into it. I’m glad you don’t give a fuck about anything though. I like that in a person.

            • Whoatheboo

              I’m sure you do…

        • Whoatheboo

          Like anybody really gives a shit about my comments or your own contradictive pseudo intellectual babble on this blog.

  • Gah!

    Obviously the author doesn’t know any Irish or Scottish people that are constantly portrayed as drunks, or idiots, or leprechauns (if they’re irish), or kilt wearers (if they’re scottish). When was the last time you saw a scottish person write a condescending tirade about non-scotts wearing kilts? Also, if you think the Irish haven’t had a hard go at it, do a little reading before you retort.

    Oh, and not all Germans are evil Nazis, not all French are womanizers, not all Swedes are giant blondes, not all Italians are in the Mafia, not all Canadians are beer guzzling hockey fanatics and not all Americans are assholes.

    If you think that people of “colour” are the only ones that get stereo typed or made halloween costumes out of, you are sadly mistaken. Every racial, ethnic or religious group that is not in the majority in the area that they live in are subjected to the same thing, even white people who live abroad. Whining about it on the internet helps nobody, it would be better to focus your energies on making changes in your community.

  • GreenEightBall

    ^^The Truth

  • GreenEightBall

    ^^ Also true

  • Kurt

    You’re not going to get anywhere by playing on the white man’s guilt. Likening a Halloween costume to oppression is very naive. I am offended by it, probably as much as you’re offended by the costume itself. American society is taking steps to evolve past its racist roots and you’re not helping that process by alienating people who just want to dress up as something they think is cool. I’m not saying the problems have all been solved, but I think it’s childish to get hung up on a costume instead of addressing the actual issues.

    But by all means, continue to harp the old issues instead of looking to the future.

  • Kurt

    You’re not going to get anywhere by playing on the white man’s guilt. Likening a Halloween costume to oppression is very naive. I am offended by it, probably as much as you’re offended by the costume itself. American society is taking steps to evolve past its racist roots and you’re not helping that process by alienating people who just want to dress up as something they think is cool. I’m not saying the problems have all been solved, but I think it’s childish to get hung up on a costume instead of addressing the actual issues.

    But by all means, continue to harp the old issues instead of looking to the future.

  • Whoatheboo

    “Whining about it on the internet helps nobody, it would be better to focus your energies on making changes in your community.” What if you do both? Is that bad? Like in your downtime you whine about crap on the internet…. But everywhere else and any other time, you try to help your community and improve life for your people/ethnicity/race?

  • Atrebla

    I am shocked by how angry your response is, and how full it is of sexist, racist, and imperialist narrative. You call yourself the 99%, and I respect that our movement is for everyone, however your analyses of problems must go deeper. Economic justice will not be achieved without also achieving social justice, and vice versa. How will you be able to have dialogue about solving these problems, and work together with all types of people, if you continue to do so with so little respect for people who are in some ways different from you?
    I speak as a 1/4 native woman and I share the blogger’s sentiment. Some of it I would have worded differently, but I understand her anger. You have taken her response personally (as if she were literally writing it to YOU Mr.99%) and you have responded in kind. This is your first error. I see her writing both as a way of creatively venting her anger that she may not have space to do elsewhere, as well as a place for other native people to feel camaraderie and validation, or for non-native people to get a taste of how frustrating the experience of seeing people dressed as fake ‘indians’ is. (Pardon, Ms.OriginalBlogger, if my interpretation is not what you meant to convey – but this is how I read it!)
    However, I also see your response as coming from a space of frustration and anger. You are white (and male…as is made clear in your last paragraph), and there is an odd culture especially in the United States of vacillating between white guilt and defensiveness among people who have not yet fully confronted their privilege. You clearly have not yet confronted this. I suggest that you educate yourself.
    Another issue: that of ‘tolerance.’ I, for one, do not want to be ‘tolerated,’ nor do I want to merely ‘tolerate’ anyone else. I do not want my presence to be merely suffered in spite of its offensiveness, abided in face of its otherness. As a human listening to the emotions of another human (feelings which are repeatedly validated and shared in the comments above this one), I think you should take into consideration that your position of privilege (and no, you don’t have to be rich or educated to have privilege – privilege doesn’t mean you have privilege over every person in every sense, it means that you have privilege for something at least, in some areas of your life) has a HUGE effect on your life experience, psyche, and analysis of the world around you. How you walk through every-day life, how you speak, how you are treated, how you analyze situations, how you analyze your position in society, and that of others as well.
    I would strongly suggest that you step down just for a moment, and consider that this young woman who is expressing her frustration is someone you should respect. Imagine this: what if she had made this speech somewhere public, impassioned, in front of a very diverse group. After the speech, you go up to her, and tell her angrily to lick your balls and kiss your ass. Would you? If not, then don’t do it here. YOU man up (or woman up, since in this situation, we can all very clearly see who is the more thoughtful, mature, and respectful between this blogger and yourself). You want to be heard? Engage in respectful, intelligent dialogue. Or you will get no where.
    I want NO laws telling people what to wear. I want you to listen to me, and this blogger, and respect that. Since when do we need laws to build mutual respect, and why do you refuse to foster that within yourself?

  • atrebla

    No thanks, man. No thanks.

  • atrebla

    My mom (a native scholar) wrote a paper on this. When you want so badly to be indigenous to a land, that you must kill all the indigenous people in order to become the new “natives.” A deep psychological reason for the genocide in the Americas, and continuing suppression, into the past, and into nothingness of Native peoples and their opinions. You should take some native studies courses! I think you would love them :)

  • GreenEightBall

    “What if you do both”… What a stupid question. People can blog in their spare time and even complain all they want. The fact is: why would someone who is focused and destined on fixing real world issues and problems within their community EVER spend their free time doing the complete negative of their former aspirations by blogging/advertising nonsense and completely closed minded, arbitrary, bias thoughts that only create problems and conflict about others beliefs? You know why no one who actually gives a shit would never post such personal garbage about implied stereotyping? Because it’s ABSOLUTELY CONTRADICTING.

    Isn’t this website supposed to be about serious subjects having to do with Native’s rights and traditions? ….”Countering Stereotypes One Cigar Store Indian At a Time”… how about countering the advertisement and connotation of the term ‘Cigar Store Indian’ on your website’s main banner!! HA..That’s actually hilarious! I’m literally laughing out loud.

  • Ben

    Does it actually matter? Are you looking to rationalize away how Trina felt? Are stereotypes ever acceptable?

  • Whoatheboo

    Well then why are you even wasting your time commenting on this blog?

  • Whoatheboo

    Like anybody really gives a shit about my comments or your own contradictive pseudo intellectual babble on this blog.

  • Ben

    Unfortunately, racism against Native Americans is alive and well.
    http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2011/06/native-family-attacked-by-skinheads/

  • Ben

    If you were a black person and came across a “satirically dressed” person in blackface, how would you feel?

  • JMansm

    I’m sorry but it’s Halloween. Costumes are based on cultural depictions that have nothing to do with reality (ie. Disney, etc). It is escapist but it is not condemnable and has absolutely nothing to do with the wrongs done to the Native American/First Nations people. We need to grow up a little and separate the earnest and the real from the frivolous and the invented.

  • JMansm

    I’m sorry but it’s Halloween. Costumes are based on cultural depictions that have nothing to do with reality (ie. Disney, etc). It is escapist but it is not condemnable and has absolutely nothing to do with the wrongs done to the Native American/First Nations people. We need to grow up a little and separate the earnest and the real from the frivolous and the invented.

  • Slrader

    I am a creature of unearned privilege because of the color of my skin. I didn’t even know until recently and am aware that an apology could not even begin to rectify. What I can do and have done is share your message, and I will continue to do so. That the color of ones skin and not their soul should have ever been or should ever be, a basis for anything…is inherently and fundamentally wrong on every level.

  • Slrader

    I am a creature of unearned privilege because of the color of my skin. I didn’t even know until recently and am aware that an apology could not even begin to rectify. What I can do and have done is share your message, and I will continue to do so. That the color of ones skin and not their soul should have ever been or should ever be, a basis for anything…is inherently and fundamentally wrong on every level.

  • Dicky
  • Dicky

    Yeah. As a white, I get offended when people dress up in gangster/prohibition era costumes.

  • Dicky

    pathetic.

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

    In terms of my input, all has been said before. Logical, reasonable arguments preceded my discovery of this post. Many people wrote eloquent, reasoned arguments as to why it is harmful and disrespectful to mock Native culture on Halloween. You ignored them and crapped all over dozens of posts on this page like an incontinent mutt.

    As for intelligence, your stunted diction and disjointed syntax belie the inherent weakness of your arguments your dearth of analytical thinking skills. The length of your rambling and incoherent posts is not an endorsement of your perspicacity but rather stands as an emblem of your own asinine inadequacy. The wise man says in a sentence what the fool can’t in a page.

    Insult me all you want, but the fact is, the readership here absolutely decimates your arguments with their reasonable call for compassion and empathy towards an already marginalized minority.

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

    The funny part is that you totally proved the blogger’s point by being a total piece of shit.

  • 10100111001

    “Dancing at halftime” is also a good book, deared towards mass market vs. academia.

  • GreenEightBall

    Because it’s something I do in my spare time.. except I’m not advocating bullshit that promotes anything but solutions to real living issues and problems when that’s supposed to be the whole basis of this site… and a friend linked it actually thinking I’d be into it. I’m glad you don’t give a fuck about anything though. I like that in a person.

  • Whoatheboo

    I’m sure you do…

  • GreenEightBall

    I crapped on them all because they’re all the fucking same. By the ay, beautiful poetry. How it must feel to always be the most politically correct dysfunction. You speak in vain. You’re great with words; I can tell it took a little while to compose such spew. Of course you refuse to say anything of validity towards the argument at hand once again; hence you are vain. You enjoy blogging your thoughts away and twisting them into repetitive shit that sounds like you actually have something to say. You’re bored. I’m upset. I made comments about the issue at hand and how I felt about them. You said something below about how versatile natives have been over the past 12,000 years. that was you’re best piece of irrelevant fact and reason behind wanting to close out any stereotyping at Halloween. You’re not intelligent. I can translate the garbage you just wrote into something legible and sensible. This is how an engineer would see your troll scrolls opposed to another fantastical poet like yourself:

    “As for intelligence, your stunted diction…”

    =Your use of English is not as elaborate as mine. It shows how weak my analysis and argument are. The length of my post makes shows my inadequacy.

    So who’s the wise man here? The man that could summarize your terrible and illogical insult in a couple pieces of information; or the man who’s filled with nothing but emotion and uncalled adjectives and dribble? Answer: Please say something worth while next time or just shut your poetic narrative.

  • GreenEightBall

    You’re a troll sayan. Say something relevant to the post above you. I dare you.

  • GreenEightBall

    Yet another bored troll remark. Get off of here if you’re not even going to discuss anything and just make death wishes because someone left their statement. You’re a child sayan. You’re wasteful.

  • Pinkmurex

    Interesting article. I had no idea that a Halloween costume could spark such intense feelings. I personally haven’t seen anyone dressed as an American Indian for the holiday in more years than I can remember. Adding to that, the last person I did see dressed in such a manner was of American Indian decent. That being said, I am not sure how the costume becomes a negative issue. Is it a negative portrayal of American Indians? Does it represent a negative view of American Indians? I suppose that can only be answered by the individual. But if you look to see how widely American Indian memorialbilia and craft work is collected by non – A.I., I think you will find that many people rever the culture though they may not truely understand it as you do. Certainly, your feelings and views on this matter are valid and should not be dismissed. And yes, there is cause for great concern by all Americans in the challenges that are currently facing the indigenous peoples of this country. Perhaps the focus of your outrage might be better put to use in educating others on your culture instead of being angry at a few individuals who’s crime is one of annoyance. Choose a battle really worth fighting. With all the information of impending global disaster, drastic climate change and immenent food shortages wouldn’t your histories provide a great example for the world on a better way to view this planet we all inhabit?
    However you decide to proceed with this issue, I hope that you always keep in mind that we, alone, as individuals should choose what defines us. Don’t let society, antiquated ideas and your own fears make that decision for you. I wish you only the best and brightest future.

  • Pinkmurex

    Interesting article. I had no idea that a Halloween costume could spark such intense feelings. I personally haven’t seen anyone dressed as an American Indian for the holiday in more years than I can remember. Adding to that, the last person I did see dressed in such a manner was of American Indian decent. That being said, I am not sure how the costume becomes a negative issue. Is it a negative portrayal of American Indians? Does it represent a negative view of American Indians? I suppose that can only be answered by the individual. But if you look to see how widely American Indian memorialbilia and craft work is collected by non – A.I., I think you will find that many people rever the culture though they may not truely understand it as you do. Certainly, your feelings and views on this matter are valid and should not be dismissed. And yes, there is cause for great concern by all Americans in the challenges that are currently facing the indigenous peoples of this country. Perhaps the focus of your outrage might be better put to use in educating others on your culture instead of being angry at a few individuals who’s crime is one of annoyance. Choose a battle really worth fighting. With all the information of impending global disaster, drastic climate change and immenent food shortages wouldn’t your histories provide a great example for the world on a better way to view this planet we all inhabit?
    However you decide to proceed with this issue, I hope that you always keep in mind that we, alone, as individuals should choose what defines us. Don’t let society, antiquated ideas and your own fears make that decision for you. I wish you only the best and brightest future.

  • Whoatheboo

    ^^For real.

  • Guest

    You need to toughen up. Don’t you know imitation is the highest form of flattery?!

  • Guest

    You need to toughen up. Don’t you know imitation is the highest form of flattery?!

  • http://twitter.com/Sulien77 Old_Warhorse

    By the same token, I hope neither you, nor any of your friends or family, dress up as a “Halloween Witch”. Non-discrimination/non-marginalization works for everyone’s culture/religion/background or it doesn’t work at all.

    • Fishing Family

      Please don’t dress up as a fisherman. My family struggled in a fishing community for over thirty years before the processing plant was shut down. We had to move to a big city and abandon our way of life in order to survive. People still scoff when I tell them that my father has no education because he was a fisherman for most of his life.

  • http://twitter.com/Sulien77 Sulien77

    By the same token, I hope neither you, nor any of your friends or family, dress up as a “Halloween Witch”. Non-discrimination/non-marginalization works for everyone’s culture/religion/background or it doesn’t work at all.

  • Fishing Family

    Please don’t dress up as a fisherman. My family struggled in a fishing community for over thirty years before the processing plant was shut down. We had to move to a big city and abandon our way of life in order to survive. People still scoff when I tell them that my father has no education because he was a fisherman for most of his life.

  • Logan_krog11

    Ya all white people are the same right?
    Racist!

  • https://www.facebook.com/shannon.swimmer S.Swimmer

    I posted several articles on my Facebook page about why its not okay to dress up as an “Indian” for Halloween and when I learned that one “friend” was going to have his girlfriend dress as Pocahontas I specifically asked him not to do it. I showed him the stats of abuse and violence against Native women and explained to him why it would be offensive for his girlfriend to dress in such an insensitive costume. He ignored my request and he and his girlfriend showed up to our law school’s costume party (yes, you read that right, this was an event sponsored by the Student Bar Association at my law school) dressed as a cowboy and Indian.
    There were several other future lawyers at his event dressed in similar fashion and when I confronted them about it, all I heard were the same lame, insensitive, myopic excuses listed in this article. My classmates laughed at me behind my back. They called me crazy. They said I was making a big deal out of nothing and that I should get over it and let them have a good time.
    It honestly breaks my heart that these so-called educated individuals, soon-to-be lawyers still manage to be completely ignorant.

    • Mookmclean

      Dude, pocahontas costumes and violence against indian women are completely unrelated.

      • https://www.facebook.com/shannon.swimmer S.Swimmer

        Thanks for understanding the deep impact of subjugation and dehumanization of Native women. I thought if he saw stats he would realize that we go through enough without being made into caricatures at Halloween. But obviously he didn’t get it. And neither do you, but thanks for reading!

        • Mookmclean

          offensive. culturally appropriate. appropriation. act of privilege. stereotypical portrayals. daily discriminations. sexualization. dehumanization. patriarchy. hegemony. subjugation. etc.

  • https://www.facebook.com/shannon.swimmer S.Swimmer

    I posted several articles on my Facebook page about why its not okay to dress up as an “Indian” for Halloween and when I learned that one “friend” was going to have his girlfriend dress as Pocahontas I specifically asked him not to do it. I showed him the stats of abuse and violence against Native women and explained to him why it would be offensive for his girlfriend to dress in such an insensitive costume. He ignored my request and he and his girlfriend showed up to our law school’s costume party (yes, you read that right, this was an event sponsored by the Student Bar Association at my law school) dressed as a cowboy and Indian.
    There were several other future lawyers at his event dressed in similar fashion and when I confronted them about it, all I heard were the same lame, insensitive, myopic excuses listed in this article. My classmates laughed at me behind my back. They called me crazy. They said I was making a big deal out of nothing and that I should get over it and let them have a good time.
    It honestly breaks my heart that these so-called educated individuals, soon-to-be lawyers still manage to be completely ignorant.

  • Mookmclean

    Dude, pocahontas costumes and violence against indian women are completely unrelated.

  • https://www.facebook.com/shannon.swimmer S.Swimmer

    Thanks for understanding the deep impact of subjugation and dehumanization of Native women. I thought if he saw stats he would realize that we go through enough without being made into caricatures at Halloween. But obviously he didn’t get it. And neither do you, but thanks for reading!

  • Beth60

    In recent years, I decided that it’s inappropriate (awful, really) to dress as any kind of cultural stereotype for Halloweeen. It amazes me, as a mixed European-American, to see people continue to consider Native Americans as costume fodder! I was also struck by what you said about people justifying their behavior by claiming native ancestry. I am actually a whole 1/16th Mi’kmaq and while I value every ethnicity in my heritage, I’m also not insensitive enough to exploit this for the purpose of white privilege (unlike some members of my family!) When will people ever learn??

  • Beth60

    In recent years, I decided that it’s inappropriate (awful, really) to dress as any kind of cultural stereotype for Halloweeen. It amazes me, as a mixed European-American, to see people continue to consider Native Americans as costume fodder! I was also struck by what you said about people justifying their behavior by claiming native ancestry. I am actually a whole 1/16th Mi’kmaq and while I value every ethnicity in my heritage, I’m also not insensitive enough to exploit this for the purpose of white privilege (unlike some members of my family!) When will people ever learn??

  • Charlotte86

    Thanks for writing this Adrienne! The biggest problem with those who deny that this is offensive and say “get over it” is that they have no value for the opinions of others and think they can speak for the indigenous life experience though they are so far removed from it. People need to listen to others and realize that the people speaking know more about their own lives than the listener does.

    • It’s hard all over

      “think they can speak for the indigenous life experience”

      from the article: “You walk through life everyday never having the fear of someone mis-representing your people and your culture.” … ”
      You are in a position of power. You might not know it, but you are.”

      Wait, is your prized writer guilty of the exact same thing you’re accusing ME of? Not that it matters, because it would seem that many parts of the “indigenous life experience” are self-inflicted. How can domestic violence, poverty, and alcoholism be attributed to the white man? YOU are responsible for improving your circumstances, not anyone else. As a white man who grew up in a ghetto, I can personally tell you that neither me nor my peers received any kind of special attention or help. We were told from the get-go that we were worthless. The only people who made something out of themselves from where I grew up are the ones that refused to believe what people said, stopped whining about things, and worked their asses off to get somewhere. No one helped any of us.

      The illustrious author is naive and biased. She claims that no on knows the circumstances of the Native America, which is plain wrong. Natives weren’t the first race to be oppressed, and they weren’t the last. The difference is that almost every other group of people has learned to take theses silly little annoyances in stride, especially in America. You are not concerned with my sensitivities; you did not stop me in the street to ask. You are not concerned with my ethnic background– you did not ask. Why should I be concerned with yours? Should I feel guilty for what my ancestors did? Probably not– my family immigrated after the atrocities of old occurred. Regardless, no tolerant white person should feel guilty over what has happened when they weren’t the perpetrators and had absolutely nothing to do with it.

      Gettting uppity over a Halloween costume is just another instance of entitled Americans doing what they do best– getting indignant over nothing. It’s a HALLOWEEN COSUTME. Halloween is a holiday on which just about everything gets lampooned. It’s about having fun– it’s not about hurting. But for some reason, it needs to be turned into the latter by a few hypersensitives. This is just like how “The Indian in the Cupboard” was changed from a positive and by no means racist story into a controversy– and to no end; it achieved nothing.

      So yes. I will ask you to get over it. Not because I don’t believe that Native Americans have had an easy go of it, but because I believe that there’s a HUGE group of people in the Americas that face true adversity (read: not getting offended by a Halloween costume) EVERY DAY. Posting something as foolish as this doesn’t bring to light the marginalization of the Native people, it shifts the marginalization of people who actually suffer into the dark.

      • Charlotte86

        You do not get to define what bothers people. You do not get to define what issues they should take up. Progress was made in this country not because people took their treatment “in stride” but because they fought against it. If we are demeaned or treated in an inferior way, we should just bear it because that’s just the American way!

  • Charlotte86

    Thanks for writing this Adrienne! The biggest problem with those who deny that this is offensive and say “get over it” is that they have no value for the opinions of others and think they can speak for the indigenous life experience though they are so far removed from it. People need to listen to others and realize that the people speaking know more about their own lives than the listener does.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mollyezmerellda Jazzy Lathering

    I think it has more to do with the fact that Native American’s have been oppressed for centuries, whereas Catholics haven’t been. The same for matadors. Apart from the obvious animal rights issue, a matador costume doesn’t immediately offer a judgement on an entire culture, nor has that culture suffered the same as Native Americans. Geisha’s could be seen as offensive due to any number of stereotypes of Asian femininity, whereas Samurai/ninja’s are generally just seen as pretty awesome (like in kids programs- Samurai Jack- and loads of martial arts films.) Not to say that Asian masculinity isn’t degraded, but the image of samurai/ninja isn’t (to my knowledge) as explicitly linked to those negative stereotypes. (Of course, this is relative privilege. Samurai are not held in the same position of respect in western culture as they were originally.)

    But yeah, when the costume is linked to degrading stereotypes of real people, and is implicit in vanishing or harming the general view of a culture, then it becomes more problematic. Privilege is really the most important part of this argument. Western European culture (and it’s colonial branches) doesn’t have a problem with being taken seriously. It’s in a position of power and privilege, and so (in most cases) dressing up as some part of that isn’t an issue.

  • Mookmclean

    offensive. culturally appropriate. appropriation. act of privilege. stereotypical portrayals. daily discriminations. sexualization. dehumanization. patriarchy. hegemony. subjugation. etc.

  • Mookmclean

    Not this is offensive.

  • Mookmclean

    Not this is offensive.

  • Tyme_boi

    What opportunities do Native Canadian people don’t get that every other immigrant to this country form anywhere else in the world gets?.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Angela-McLoughlin/100002446110099 Angela McLoughlin

    I’m really disturbed by the comments on the posters against racist Halloween costumes. Are these people so damned uncreative that they can’t come up with something good without being racist? It’s really sad when asking others to act like decent human beings has them screaming bloody murder, that we are taking away their free speech, and “get over it!” What the hell?

    I don’t think the word “offended” means what they think it does. I don’t know what it’s like to experience racism, but I can imagine it can be incredibly traumatizing.

    • Kurt

      “posters against racist Halloween costumes”

      The problem is that they’re not racist. A costume can’t be racist. A person can, and because a person chose to don a particular Halloween custume does not make them racist. That’s like saying that if someone dressed up as the devil for Halloween, they’re a Satanist.

      And did you even bother looking at those posters? One of them shows an Asian girl next to a geisha costume. That makes no sense at all. It implies that all Asians are Japanese and that all Japanese people have long lines of geisha in their ancestry. Isn’t it ironic that someone who is supposedly trying to spread a non-racist message designed a racist poster? Based on that, I assert that those posters are bullshit.

  • Neptunyboy

    Let’s just cancel Halloween so that no one offends anyone.

  • Arista

    Well all right. I’m not going to read from any of the other comments because I just came from ONTD and the sheer stupidity going on there is making my brain dribble out of my ears. But I want to say you’ve convinced me. I swear for the rest of my life that I will never dress up as a “Native American” on Halloween or allow my hypothetical children to do so.

    You are very well-spoken (well written?).

  • therese

    Thank you for this post Adrienne. I provided the link to a mainly white, middle class parents e-list in the gentrifying barrio of a large west coast city – as a response to a parent asking to borrow an “Indian princess” costume. I simply requested that they read it, and consider the message they might be sending to their children. So far the response has been two thank you’s for the link. Bless you.

  • Randi

    Firstly, I don’t mean this post to be said in an argumentative or accusatory tone, by the way. It’s very easy to come off as quite serious and stern on the internet when you aren’t meaning to be. :3 Anywho, About the issue of racial stereotypes for Halloween costumes. I just think people need to think about their costumes. Being a drunk mexican or wearing a traditional ghutra and iqal over your head with bombs strapped to his chest is pretty offensive. You know it’s offensive. On the other side of the coin, I think if you’re not portraying them in an offensive way, I think it’s not done with malicious intent. Some people want to wear them because they’re pretty, like a geisha, indian, or gypsy. Again, those can also be offensive. I think if you want to be accurate about it, I don’t really see what it’s harming. It’s the same as wearing a certain era style dress. You weren’t part of it, and you’re not mocking it, you’d just like to wear it and be pretty. Would you tell an african american girl that she couldn’t dress up as an English renaissance style princess, would you tell them they couldn’t just because their race didn’t wear that? Another thing: If you’re going to make it slutty, it’s not cool. Just be a slutty bunny or maid and get right to the point. It’ll be clearer to guys that you want to have sex anyway. And if you’re going to be drunk, you’re better off not representing anyone. I understand that the risque costumes are extremely offensive. It’s offensive for many reasons, but I don’t even have to get into that. I can also understand that by dressing up as a Native America person could insinuate that all Native American peoples dressed that way. And I hadn’t really considered the latter, to be honest. So since we’ve covered those people, let’s set them aside and consider what is remaining. I think if you portray the garb in a respectful manner, it should be looked at more as a celebration of their beautiful culture, not a mockery. While I agree that this would be an extreme minority case, I believe it does deserve to be looked at. I do understand that certain things are sacred or religious, and are not, in their culture, supposed to be worn for anything other than religious ceremonies. I think people should do their research before doing anything relating to an unfamiliar culture. But, as I see it, if I were to want to wear clothing of the Native American style or Japanese style on any other day of the year, it would be less offensive, maybe? I had a lovely Japanese style dress that I liked to wear to formal events before I outgrew it. I think that people like myself don’t have the same definition of “costume” as some people. I see Halloween as an opportunity to wear something you wouldn’t normally wear. Dressing up as a role from your favorite movie, or a caricature of a favorite animal. Almost a sharing of interests and coming up with fun and interesting things to wear. Maybe that’s why I have a different opinion on this. I don’t mean to downplay or disregard anyone’s suffering by wearing something from their culture. I also, again, understand that I am in the minority when it comes to my point of view. A lot of people (including my sister) dress up in costumes of different cultures, just because it is a clever way to look promiscuous. You can play it off as dressing up as an Eskimo while still wearing an outfit that barely covers your butt, and sometimes it doesn’t, which is not pleasant for anyone. Obviously a “hot Eskimo” costume doesn’t make any sense at all, seeing as Eskimos aren’t hot. They live where it’s fairly chilly, actually, as I understand it. (Throwing a bit of humor in the lighten the mood of the post) And I believe that these costumes are mainly what this issue is directed at, seeing as how she stated several times that said people would be getting drunk and partying while wearing these costumes. Saying that could also be a generalization, though. :P Again, I don’t mean this post to be said in an argumentative or accusatory tone, by the way. It’s very easy to come off as quite serious and stern on the internet when you aren’t meaning to be. :3 I also welcome discussion on this comment.

  • http://twitter.com/itacawin Cheryl Hute’ete

    “Writing a racist blog?” Seriously? Have you actually read the blog?