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Thread: The (Mis)Appropriation of the Native American Headdress

  1. #1
    Aporia Dysphoria Dirac's Avatar
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    The (Mis)Appropriation of the Native American Headdress

    So I read this today. I can't figure out what to think of it. On the one hand it seems like crass plundering of history, and adding insult to genocidal injury - on the other hand it just seems like people wearing cool hats at festivals.

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    Senior Member Thoth's Avatar
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    The Native American culture is rapidly diminishing in the US and systematic shaming of use of its legacies only hastens the eventual demise of its presence.

    Rather than join the politically correct bandwagon on decrying any use of Native American iconography by anyone who isn't themselves Native American or an institution owned/run by Native Americans, why don't we, as people seek, to educate others on what those images and icons mean?

    Am I justifying the past? No. But if you erase it from the greater public consciousness, it will disappear forever.

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    fhtagn Rhu's Avatar
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    The process of creating fashionable clothing has always been akin to repeating an Internet meme whose origin you don't understand. Its reason for being is to present a novel and memorable configuration of a thing. The original thing has no known practical use to the one borrowing it. Its reconfiguration has no practical use. Deep symbolism doesn't come into play with memes. So too it is with fashion.

    It is a pleasantly retarded noise designed to add a little variety to social interaction. Most people just like the pretty colors. Some people find its lack of depth irritating. Some find a drive in this irritation to create deeper, more divisive meanings a pleasant diversion from what was intended to be a pleasant diversion.

    These last are called trolls or art critics, and they are the most blessed creatures to inhabit the Earth.

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    libertine librarian sandwitch's Avatar
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    Great article. I like this-

    "Unfortunately, we run into resistance when we try to say: 'Can you please not do that,'" agrees Bear Witness. "People are telling us it's just fun, or get over it. On the festival scene, people are giving us a 'don't ruin our good times' attitude. I would love to say that it's as simple as informing people about what's wrong, but it's also about people being able to accept that information."
    If you "appreciate" someone's culture, don't be offended when they want to talk to you about it.

  5. #5
    Tawaci ki a Gnaska ki Osito Polar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoth View Post
    The Native American culture is rapidly diminishing in the US and systematic shaming of use of its legacies only hastens the eventual demise of its presence.


    This is Brule. The whole concept of the project is reconciliation of Native American and mainstream American cultures. The founder is an interesting guy. If you're interested in this subject, I recommend his biography.

    I don't agree that the Native American culture is rapidly diminishing in the U.S.

    However, it is the smallest minority group in the U.S. by a large margin. A lot of the population tends to be concentrated in geographically isolated places -- Alaska, South Dakota, New Mexico for example. There is already a lot of Native American culture that's been thoroughly appropriated in the States so much that it's not even acknowledged as having once been Native American.
    "I don't have psychological problems." --Madrigal

    "When you write about shooting Polemarch in the head, that's more like a first-person view, like you're there looking down the sight of the gun." --Utisz

    David Wong, regarding Chicago
    Six centuries ago, the pre-Colombian natives who settled here named this region with a word which in their language means "the Mouth of Shadow". Later, the Iroquois who showed up and inexplicably slaughtered every man, woman and child renamed it "Seriously, Fuck that Place". When French explorer Jacques Marquette passed through the area he marked his map with a drawing of a brownish blob emerging from between the Devil's buttocks.

  6. #6
    Member El D.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwitch View Post
    If you "appreciate" someone's culture, don't be offended when they want to talk to you about it.
    Understandable, but informing someone about something and asking them to change their behavior/form of self-expression are much different.

    I can understand how an authentic native american would see some drugged out party-goer in a headdress as some phony hack poser idiot, and that's perfectly fine, but to try to prevent non-natives from wearing headdresses is insane.

    There are an infinite number of things that people can choose to be offended by, but seriously I think people should be focusing on real issues that the various subcultures face in modern society and not be so easily distracted by shit that doesn't matter. What difference does it make if some kids are wearing headdresses? What is the real effect of it? How does banning headdresses really make things better for anyone?

    We've had this argument I think at least three times now, and I still do not get how walking on eggshells is solving any problems.

  7. #7
    Tawaci ki a Gnaska ki Osito Polar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El D. View Post
    I still do not get how walking on eggshells is solving any problems.
    Perhaps if you made a sincere effort to understand what other people are telling you instead of engaging with the straw man version of this argument that you've constructed in your head, it would make it easier for you to understand. It's about being considerate and respectful of other human beings. Do you understand why African Americans objected to white people wearing black face and performing minstrel shows?
    "I don't have psychological problems." --Madrigal

    "When you write about shooting Polemarch in the head, that's more like a first-person view, like you're there looking down the sight of the gun." --Utisz

    David Wong, regarding Chicago
    Six centuries ago, the pre-Colombian natives who settled here named this region with a word which in their language means "the Mouth of Shadow". Later, the Iroquois who showed up and inexplicably slaughtered every man, woman and child renamed it "Seriously, Fuck that Place". When French explorer Jacques Marquette passed through the area he marked his map with a drawing of a brownish blob emerging from between the Devil's buttocks.

  8. #8
    Member El D.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osito Polar View Post
    Perhaps if you made a sincere effort to understand what other people are telling you instead of engaging with the straw man version of this argument that you've constructed in your head, it would make it easier for you to understand. It's about being considerate and respectful of other human beings. Do you understand why African Americans objected to white people wearing black face and performing minstrel shows?
    OK, would you expand on the straw man in my head? I think you may be arguing a straw man. I didnt say that I didnt understand why they are offended. I said I know people can and will be offended by an infinite number of things. Did you not read that part?

    And is Dave Chappelle performing skits as a white person ok? Im just waiting for someone to admit there is a double standard.

  9. #9
    Amen P-O's Avatar
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    It's interesting how the internet has made people beholden to the harsh feelings of even the smallest minorities. The majority doesn't give a shit but if even .00001% of the world cares a lot, it's going to seem like a lot of people when you look at the internet.

    The public meaning of symbols is naturally going to evolve in time. I think it's a fool's errand to try and preserve the sacredness. When people tell other people what to wear and what not to wear, that offends me.


    Even if I were to care "why" these people are offended at other people stealing their fashion symbol, when I see something like this, how can I even take it seriously:

    "When you're in a world that sees you as a mascot with warpaint and feathers, issues of representation become of extreme importance," says Bear Witness. "We dress and live like everyone else. We don't live in teepees, we don't hunt buffalo. All those things that are part of the stereotype are ways of dehumanising us."
    Nobody thinks you go out and hunt buffalo. Who thinks that? I doubt I've ever met a single person who believes that a mascot is an accurate representation of native americans today. Maybe I'm out of touch but it just strikes me as an absurd way to characterize anybody.
    This person justifies restricting the use of the headdress by making the ignorant and sweeping generalization that "the world" makes ignorant sweeping generalizations about native american people.

    It's just a political power play... which is fine but I'm not going to lose sleep over it.
    Violence is never the right answer, unless used against heathens and monsters.

  10. #10
    Tawaci ki a Gnaska ki Osito Polar's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=El D.;52618]I said I know people can and will be offended by an infinite number of things. Did you not read that part?

    We regularly outlaw people doing things to other people that are antisocial, disrespectful or just grossly inconsiderate.

    For example, would you stand in the middle of your cousin's wedding and shout:

    "BUTTS BARFING SQUIRTING COCKS! RED SWOLLEN ANGRY COCKS! AND POO! RUNNY SMELLY DIARRHEA POOP!"

    If you did, how would you expect your family to react? Why?

    What if you did that after seven or eight jager-bombs in the middle of a wild frat party? Same reaction, or different one?

    And is Dave Chappelle performing skits as a white person ok? I'm just waiting for someone to admit there is a double standard.
    Of course there's a double standard, if you want to interpret it that way. If you're a rapist who does a "funny" impression of the person you just raped it's different than if they make a similar joke at your expense. Morality does not exist completely absent from context.

    [godwin]This is the precise reason that Germany is so harsh on people who try to display swastikas over there.[/godwin]
    "I don't have psychological problems." --Madrigal

    "When you write about shooting Polemarch in the head, that's more like a first-person view, like you're there looking down the sight of the gun." --Utisz

    David Wong, regarding Chicago
    Six centuries ago, the pre-Colombian natives who settled here named this region with a word which in their language means "the Mouth of Shadow". Later, the Iroquois who showed up and inexplicably slaughtered every man, woman and child renamed it "Seriously, Fuck that Place". When French explorer Jacques Marquette passed through the area he marked his map with a drawing of a brownish blob emerging from between the Devil's buttocks.

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