Stop Selling Racist Costumes
This petition made change with 132 supporters!
As of October 19, 2016, McCulloch's has pulled all headdresses and Indigenous themed costumes from their shelves, and we would like to applaud them for this demonstration of leadership.
This petition will stay active in the hopes of encouraging other London, Ontario businesses to follow suit this Halloween season and pull similar costumes from their stores as well.
McCulloch's costume shop in London, Ontario currently sells Indigenous headdresses as well as other other costumes and accessories that appropriate Indigenous culture, and make for incredibly racist costumes.
Please sign this petition calling on McCulloch's to pull all items that are appropriative of Indigenous culture from their shelves.
Want to know why these costumes are so harmful? The following is re-posted from http://nativeappropriations.com/ by Dr. Adrienne K. (Because she says it better than I could).
So why can’t I wear it?
- Headdresses promote stereotyping of Native cultures.
The image of a warbonnet and warpaint wearing Indian is one that has been created and perpetuated by Hollywood and only bears minimal resemblance to traditional regalia of Plains tribes. It furthers the stereotype that Native peoples are one monolithic culture, when in fact there are 500+ distinct tribes with their own cultures. It also places Native people in the historic past, as something that cannot exist in modern society. We don’t walk around in ceremonial attire everyday, but we still exist and are still Native.
- Headdresses, feathers, and warbonnets have deep spiritual significance.
The wearing of feathers and warbonnets in Native communities is not a fashion choice. Eagle feathers are presented as symbols of honor and respect and have to be earned. Some communities give them to children when they become adults through special ceremonies, others present the feathers as a way of commemorating an act or event of deep significance. Warbonnets especially are reserved for respected figures of power. The other issue is that warbonnets are reserved for men in Native communities, and nearly all of these pictures show women sporting the headdresses. I can’t read it as an act of feminism or subverting the patriarchal society, it’s an act of utter disrespect for the origins of the practice. (see my post on sweatlodges for more on the misinterpretation of the role of women). This is just as bad as running around in a pope hat and a bikini, or a Sikh turban cause it’s “cute”.
- It’s just like wearing blackface.
“Playing Indian” has a long history in the United States, all the way back to those original tea partiers in Boston, and in no way is it better than minstral shows or dressing up in blackface. You are pretending to be a race that you are not, and are drawing upon stereotypes to do so. Like my first point said, you’re collapsing distinct cultures, and in doing so, you’re asserting your power over them. Which leads me to the next issue.
- There is a history of genocide and colonialism involved that continues today.
By the sheer fact that you live in the United States you are benefiting from the history of genocide and continued colonialism of Native peoples. That land you’re standing on? Indian land. Taken illegally so your ancestor who came to the US could buy it and live off it, gaining valuable capital (both monetary and cultural) that passed down through the generations to you. Have I benefited as well, given I was raised in a white, suburban community? yes. absolutely. but by dismissing and minimizing the continued subordination and oppression of Natives in the US by donning your headdress, you are contributing to the culture of power that continues the cycle today.
- London Free Press (October 19, 2016): http://www.lfpress.com/2016/10/19/mccullochs-costume-co-pulls-racist-costumes-with-native-or-indian-on-label
- Blackburn News (October 19, 2016): http://blackburnnews.com/london/london-news/2016/10/19/costume-shop-stops-selling-native-headdresses/
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