How the hell is wearing native clothes/ dressing up as a native american racist?
Because dressing redface, in offensive caricatures that are called ‘Native American’ but have jack-all to do with actual NDN folks and which perpetuate harmful stereotypes, IS HURTFUL.
Check out some links:
Whether you mean it or not,
DEPICTIONS LIKE THIS HURT ME.
They hurt PEOPLE WHO ARE LIKE ME. The especially hurt CHILDEN WHO ARE LIKE ME. They hurt me because they are part of a cultural narrative that erases the reality of my existence.
Throughout my childhood I got bombarded with deliciously conflicting images about What Makes the Red Man Red and how apparently I’m supposed to care about the fucking Colors of the Wind (and about having to sing that song in middle school chorus, and feeling icky about it but not having the wherewith to confront authority about it because at 13 I couldn’t articulate why it felt so icky). It’s about how I’m supposed to be wearing Braids, Beads, And Buckskins 24/7 OR ELSE I AM NOT REALLY NATIVE (And yet wearing moccasins around the dorm and/or campus is SO WEIRD!) and how I should be happy that at the the image has changed from the 1950’s Scalpin’ Savages to the clearly superior Magical Native American. It’s about The Great American Indian Novel. It’s King Phillip’s War never having been taught in any of my American History classes despite my schools being built on the goddamned battlefields where it took place. It’s having been taught throughout my childhood that The Wampanoags Helped The Pilgrims and they Ate Together at the First Thanksgiving! Yay! And then never having indigenous folks mentioned again until they were bothering the poor heroic homesteaders as they braved their way out west. It’s having been told point-blank that the Wampanoag people -died out- (Unless said teacher knows about the group at Marthas Vinyard, in which case ‘Oh they live on reservations now’ might be mentioned). It’s about having been told time and time again that I don’t exist, that I’m not a person, that I don’t matter and that I don’t have a voice.That NDN people are archaic and strange and look a certain way that is VERY DIFFERENT from how other people in America look.
When you are dressed up as a busted-ass offensive caricature, that sends a hurtful message. That is not what NDN people are.