I have never been considered a hipster and if you knew me in person I’m sure you’d all agree.
I have a purely innocent obsession with Native American life, culture, and style; to the point at which I believe I was a Native in my past life. I love everything about their ways of life now and in the past, everything they stand for, and the respect they have for the world.
I had just recently come across a few memes you depicting all the hate and anger the Native population has towards the pictures of obviously white/european people in headdresses and face paint, for being racist towards the Native American culture. As ignorant as it sounds I was shocked these photos could be taken as an insult… Here I am re-blogging them thinking they’re all so creative and beautiful and supporting a culture i love, not knowing that these very pictures had been taken offensively.
The point of this post is just for me to apologize for taking part/ encouraging (in a way) the ‘hipsters’ to continue they’re racism I will do my best to avoid re-blogging pictures of this nature, although I cannot make promises it won’t happen.
I believe the best way anyone of any culture could look at these pictures is to just take it all in as a compliment; They obviously like the way the Native culture is and are trying to be a part of it, unaware of how their actions can be interpreted.
That’s my take on the whole thing— Sorry for the rant.
Your first problem is that you seem to think Native American cultures are homogenous, or singular. There are over 50 distinct indigenous linguistic groups in Canada alone, and within each linguistic group can be found extreme variations in regional culture. So which Native American culture do you have this purely innocent interest in? All of them? Wow, that’s a huge amount of diversity to start looking into.
Your second problem is related to the first. When you discuss Native American style, what are you talking about? The inaccurate and romanticised idea of what ‘natives wear’, with all the fringes and dreamcatcher themes and silly headbands that only very few indigenous nations actually use? (Headbands as an ‘Indian’ thing became popular because of westerns, where they helped keep the wigs on the non-native actors portraying natives) Produced in mass quantities by corporations who cater to stereotypes, selling products that in no way benefit actual native peoples?
Or are you talking about the vast variety of styles that we actually wear, both modern and traditional? Would you actually even recognise these styles? Would they fit your mental image of what we look like? It’s unlikely.
Some of the things we wear are not just ‘fashion’. They mean something very important, and if you do actually have an interest in our cultures, you will respect those items by not wearing them unless you have earned them.
Other items actually made by us, are available to you. Again if you are interested in our cultures, you should make an effort to learn about these items and purchase them from our artisans rather than from big box stores that have nothing to do with any Native American nation.
Your third problem is that you don’t actually seem to know anything about any of us, which suggests that the ideas you have about our ‘ways of life’ past and present, are probably extremely inaccurate. It is very frustrating to have people believe stupid things about us, or make things up about us, and then have them tell us they are respecting us. No, if you valued our cultures, you would learn about them, and stop doing the disrespectful things that add up to systemic discrimination against us.
Do not tell us to ‘take it as a compliment’ when someone disrespects us. Do not tell us to ‘take is as a compliment’ when someone profits off stereotypes about us, while so many of our communities struggle with the kind of extreme poverty you aren’t supposed to see in a ‘developed’ nation.
And do not tell us to excuse ignorance as though it is innocent. It is not. The kind of ignorance surrounding who Native American peoples are, is responsible for some of the most horrific massacres, sexual and physical abuse of children and cultural violence ever seen. You probably don’t know much about that, but it is a part of your history too, and if you want to honour us…ANY of us…then you need to start learning about it.
When you do, you’ll no longer be confused about why these images are so fucking offensive.
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