Please Retire The Chief Design From Your Romper Collection.
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As a mother of two young children being raised in today's society, I would like to formally ask Rags to Raches to retire the "Chief Romper". We need to raise our children to respect other people's culture. And in order to respect the Native Americans who see this object as sacred and have repeatedly requested that their sacred object not be used in the fashion industry, it should no longer be sold.
"Cultural appropriation is “A term used to describe the taking over of creative or artistic forms, themes, or practices by one cultural group from another. It is in general used to describe Western appropriations of non‐Western or non‐white forms, and carries connotations of exploitation and dominance. The concept has come into literary and visual art criticism by analogy with the acquisition of artefacts (the Elgin marbles, Benin bronzes, Lakota war shirts, etc.) by Western museums. The term emerged during the last twenty years of the 20th cent. as part of the vocabulary of the post‐colonial critique of Western expansionism” (Oxford Reference). It can also be simply defined as the act of “borrowing” or outright stealing an element from an entire culture and utilizing it for a purpose it was not originally created for (specifically those items of religious/spiritual importance).
Cultural appropriation has many negative effects on cultures. Minorities have long been the victims of violence and injustice and as a result, those cultures have become rightfully sensitive to content that utilizes their culture and beliefs. In some cases the sharing of cultures is acceptable and positive however, it is the intent behind the desire to participate that is the deciding factor. When a person who is not a member of a culture decides to utilize an element of a culture without permission, it then becomes appropriation. That person is exercising their privilege over the spiritual/religious significance of a culture and desecrating the sacred item at issue. Most of these cultures have been in existence for thousands of years and the traditions within those cultures are still practiced today. The cultures which are being appropriated are not an ancient part of history, they are traditions which are honored and protected to this day. Appropriating cultures means disrespecting their struggle as a mass, and also belittling the hardships of the individuals." From the Coachella Petition regarding the same issue.
As cultural appropriation is quite a vast topic, and is sadly impacting multiple cultures I am including some articles on the topic to encourage further research by your staff at Rags to Raches.
Problems with this romper include
The type of headdress depicted is specific to men’s ceremonial dress.
Commodifies without contributing
The sale of these rompers does not benefit Indigenous people in any way even though the company who makes them capitalized on the popularity of Indigenous imagery.
Shows blatant disrespect for sacred elements
These headdresses play a very important role in the spiritual life of the communities from which they originate.
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