Does anyone think that “Native American” themed parties are the most fucked up thing ever? I fucking think so! A student over at Duke agrees with me too. Nicole Daniels wrote about her experience at a “Thanksgiving” themed party hosted by the Pi Kappa Pi at Duke University. Daniels did not like what she saw at this very party:
It was very disheartening to find my own friends there, dressed in outfits that epitomized an insensitive caricature of Native Americans. Hordes of my peers had faces covered in “war paint” and wore rainbow-colored feathers on their heads. The makeup and costumes I saw were both completely inaccurate and disrespectful. Headdresses and feathers have profound spiritual significance to Native Americans, and mimicking them is extremely offensive. A massive teepee stood outside the party, serving as a photo op for the obnoxiously dressed guests to pose with. Notably, teepees are specific to tribes in the Great Plains and never even existed in Plymouth, Mass. This incorrect and stereotypical dwelling endorsed the misconception that Native Americans have a monolithic culture. It undermined the reality that there are many tribes with diverse and intricate ways of life. If students want to celebrate “giving thanks” and unity, they should not mock and belittle an important part of our community.
I can agree with what the people did at the party was horribly racist and disrespectful to Native Americans due to the colonization, imperialism and downright horror that the Aboriginals faced when the British pretty much destroyed the Native American culture while killing them and spreading disease along the way. Yet, white people expect the Native Americans to forgive them that easily? To sweep centuries of abuse and racism under the rug so the Native Americans can stop complaining about their oppression? I am not Aboriginal in any shape or form but I can understand why they suffer, why they demand justice and accountability from their oppressors. I also realize that through socialized racism, white people have never learned about their white privilege or how to analyze their privilege. I cannot blame some of the younger people for their ignorance since they are still learning and can only depend on higher authority for guidance and sometimes that guidance can lead them in the wrong direction. I, however, was seriously disappointed in the university students defending this horror show of a party. Here are a few examples of the comments that have been left, in defense of this party. be warned: Your blood will boil!
I remember when I was an underclassperson and Devils After Dark threw a Pilgrims and Indians bash in the Randolph commons room. Did anyone freak out? Were the politically correct police called? Of course not.Get off your high horse and enjoy college.
If I’m not mistaken, this party would have been just as insensitive to the pilgrims as it was to Native Americans. How do you think the pilgrims of Plymoth, Massachusettes would have felt knowing they were being portrayed drinking alcohol. Am I wrong?
I’m sorry. I am a completely open-minded person who is partial to the idea of getting rid of ignorance on our campus. But to be honest, this article and a lot these comments are just dumb. The author of the article is clearly a hypocrite who chose a night of getting wasted with her friends over “standing up against this great injustice.” No native americans were harmed in the making of this party. Stop tearing apart every aspect of Duke social life looking for something to fight about.
Oh, so being considerate of another minority’s feelings and recognizing that stereotypes against a group of people are harmful to them is an equivalent to “being on a high horse?” I have no idea what kind of white privileged kool-aid these nincompoops have been drinking but I do not want it! I recognize that I have white privilege! I also recognize the fact that the Native Americans deserve the same treatment that white people would treat each other. How long does it take until the white people realize that no amount of ignoring the problem is going to solve it? How many Aboriginal woman have to die before the white men see a problem and get off their asses to do something about it? They will never do anything about it because they get off on oppressing others, on commodifying harmful stereotypes, on prostituting Aboriginal women and dumping them on the side of the road like a piece of paper.
I believe as white people it is our duty to recognize the privilege we have in society. To realize that whatever stereotype we emulate from marginalized groups that we are continuing the oppression and harm. We also have to realize that centuries of ignorance cannot be easily forgotten because we have not experienced their oppression.