Saturday, October 27, 2012

"This is Not Who I Am, And this is Not OK"

Last year, students in Ohio University's S*T*A*R*S (Students Teaching About Racism in Society) student group launched a campaign to push back on Halloween costumes of cultural groups. They created a series of posters, including this one, in which the people (in the photo) are wearing feathered headbands, in what they believe to be Indian costumes.

The campaign got some national media attention from CNN. Dressing up as an "Indian" is not ok. Though it is often well-intentioned, its outcome is generally one that puts ones ignorance on display. Will you say anything to students you see dressed like Indians this Halloween? I hope so.


Anonymous said...

So it's not okay for someone to wear lederhosen or a dirndl because they are cultural clothes. I don't see the difference.

Kenneth John Odle said...

Anonymous commenter: the difference is that lederhosen and dirndls do not come from a culture (or in this case, cultures) that has been conquered, marginalized, trivialized, and almost exterminated. Would it be okay to dress up as an Auschwitz survivor, or a black slave from the antebellum south? No, it wouldn't, because it would be a kick in the teeth to people who have been getting kicked in the teeth for a long time. It's no different in the case of people dressing up as American Indians.