Slog Comments

 

Comments (54) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Lew Siffer 1
Whatever. She is smoking hot.
Posted by Lew Siffer on November 8, 2012 at 12:32 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 2
They don't look any whiter than Elizabeth Warren.
Are you sure their not Native American?
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on November 8, 2012 at 12:39 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 3
I mean "they're"...
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on November 8, 2012 at 12:40 PM · Report this
4
What @1 said.
Posted by I Got Nuthin' on November 8, 2012 at 12:42 PM · Report this
yelahneb 5
It's racist and she's too damn thin.
Posted by yelahneb http://www.strangebutharmless.com on November 8, 2012 at 12:47 PM · Report this
6
She's no Chunk Chippewa.
Posted by HerryPecker on November 8, 2012 at 12:51 PM · Report this
7
I don't like this grammatical construction: "White people dressed up like Native Americans in old movies are being racist."

Are we talking about the filming of old movies? We have no evidence that the old Italian American who played the crying Indian in the anti-litter ad was a racist. You can't reasonably attribute a mental state retroactively.

Do you mean the practice of white people dressing like Native Americans (as they did when they filmed those old movies all those years ago) is a racist practice? Is it racist if contemporary white people dress as Native Americans on Oct 31?

Clearly you mean something and you feel it quite adamantly; I'm just not sure if it's the practice you're condoning or some dead Hollywood actors.
Posted by JAT on November 8, 2012 at 12:54 PM · Report this
8
VS is still in business? And they still have a fashion show on TV? Quaint! Too bad it's too late for Mitt Romney to advertise on it. A big buy there could have changed everything for him.
Posted by Prettybetsy on November 8, 2012 at 12:54 PM · Report this
9
I'm Native American.
This is a stupid and distracting non-issue only cared about by knee jerk activist, overly sensitive Native Americans with way too much time on their hands, and overly sensitive white people (also with way too much time on their hands).

Please stop. The affected parties dont give a fuck.
Posted by we dont care what No Doubt fans wear to indie rock shows. on November 8, 2012 at 12:55 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 10
Looks like she just escaped from Dachau.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on November 8, 2012 at 12:57 PM · Report this
GlibReaper 11
Is a sticker that says "whitey hipster gentrification" on a stop sign, racist?
Posted by GlibReaper on November 8, 2012 at 12:58 PM · Report this
12
Her middle name's Korinne, right?
Posted by Prettybetsy on November 8, 2012 at 1:03 PM · Report this
The Max 13
Gotta say, I disagree. I don't see a 20 year old American girl of presumably Dutch ancestry wearing (very small) bits and pieces of at least four traditional Native American costumes as any more racist than a girl of Native American heritage wearing (German) Lederhosen with a (Basque) Beret. Questionable taste? Yes. Mockery of other people's ethnic legacy? Just don't see it. Maybe if that was a _real_ Lakota War Bonnet, an actual artifact held sacred by the people we continue to treat unfairly. But it's clearly an imitation (real Warriors made their from eagle feathers, not turkey) so what's the fuss?
Posted by The Max on November 8, 2012 at 1:13 PM · Report this
14
It's a pretty cobble-together outfit, anyway. They could have left it out of the show. The inclusion of the cheetah print in a Native American theme is the most disrespectful act, in my opinion. Fashion is so superficial and frivolous that I can't get too angry.
Posted by Space_Magic_5 on November 8, 2012 at 1:17 PM · Report this
15
Jesus, the white liberal guilt here is overwhelming, as usual. Get over yourself, kemosabe.
Posted by catsnbanjos on November 8, 2012 at 1:45 PM · Report this
16
Can white people wear kimonos? How about a Hawaiian lei? I'm pretty sure tattoos originated in the south Pacific - are they racist too?

Maybe we should just declare everything white people do to be racist - there, settled. We're all racists who stole the Injuns' land and brought the Africans here in chains.
Posted by catsnbanjos on November 8, 2012 at 1:48 PM · Report this
17
@15 damn straight. My gf and I dressed up as Indians for Halloween and no one gave a shit. It's no more racist than dressing up as a cowboy or a cartoon character.
Posted by Keenan C on November 8, 2012 at 1:53 PM · Report this
18
I don't see anything wrong with it. Guess I'm in the minority, is wearing kimonos or hawaiian shirts or dressing up like a viking on halloween or wearing a sombrero whatever else supposed to be bad too?
Posted by Conrad McMasters on November 8, 2012 at 2:10 PM · Report this
19
not racist, just stupid.
Posted by cb on November 8, 2012 at 2:16 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 20
@ 13 and others, it has to do with history. Minorities NEVER forget their history, especially the indignities and worse they've suffered at the hands of whites. It's why casting Johnny fucking Depp as Tonto was such a bad move.
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 8, 2012 at 2:23 PM · Report this
yelahneb 21
I would argue that these aren't fair comparisons re: Native American dress vs Hawaiian, or Japanese, or German dress. It's as much or more about where the power dynamic lies as it is about the intent of the wearer.

The members of any culture that's not the one I grew up in might correctly accuse me of inappropriate cultural appropriation if I adopt their style of dress for the sake of humor and/or a "costume" - the degrees of offensiveness are objective, but real and ought to be considered and discussed.

But it's another thing entirely if that culture happens to be one that's historically been exploited... especially if I'm a member of the culture that did/does the exploiting.

So no - me as a white American middle-class male wearing suspenders and lederhosen is *not* the same as me wearing warpaint and a headdress on Halloween.
Posted by yelahneb http://www.strangebutharmless.com on November 8, 2012 at 2:35 PM · Report this
22
Of all the challenges facing Native American groups today (voter disenfranchisement, high dropout and suicide rates among teens, higher unemployment rates, etc...) I don't understand why this issue is consistently getting the most coverage.
There is another level of folklorization going on here that I am surprised Paul, Kelly, etc.. haven't picked up on.
Posted by SAM FANTASY II on November 8, 2012 at 2:36 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 23
I missed the No Doubt thread so I'll add this here:

No Doubt borrowing the aesthetic of Native American garb is no more racist than Nicki Minaj borrowing the aesthetic of Celtic/Anglo garb in her new video for Va Va Voom.

These videos are not racist. They are cultural remixes. And both Gwen Stefani and Nicki Minaj look hot doing it.

As a person of Irish heritage, I think Miss Minaj makes a sexy Irish lass.
Posted by Ipso Facto http://therealnews.com on November 8, 2012 at 2:49 PM · Report this
Simone 24
Native Aboriginal Americans in my view are not a Race. They are a people with a culture but not a race. I'm with the other half of the scientific community that suggest that the idea of race is often used in a simplistic way. We all belong to the same species, Homo sapiens and sub-species Homo sapiens sapiens.

Horrible taste? Definitely Yes. If someone wants to call this racist, Ok I guess. But don't go calling Native Aboriginal Americans a race. They have a different culture but are not a different race. Just like Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, etc are not different races.
Posted by Simone on November 8, 2012 at 2:50 PM · Report this
bedipped 25
Yes, racist. Ask Gwen Stefani why No Doubt pulled their racist video. Um, because it was racist. Native Appropriations is a good educational site for racists and those attempting not to be.
Posted by bedipped on November 8, 2012 at 3:24 PM · Report this
26
@7: "We have no evidence that the old Italian American who played the crying Indian in the anti-litter ad was a racist."

Cultural appropriation IS racism. Blackface is racism. Jesus Christ, it's not like they've got to go around beating up the ethnic group to be counted as "racist".
Posted by the act is what's racist on November 8, 2012 at 3:28 PM · Report this
27
Definitely racist. And for those trying to make comparisons to Hawaiian or Japanese dress or tattoos, here's a little guide as to why some things can be ok (ie buying moccasins from a native artist to wear) and others (wearing ceremonial attire who's cultural relevance you don't understand or particularly care about) aren't. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/chelsea-vow…
Posted by lone locust on November 8, 2012 at 3:40 PM · Report this
venomlash 28
The thing that jumped out at me was how she was wearing a bunch of pseudo-Pueblo/Zuni turquoise jewelry with a knockoff Plains feather headdress. To compare it to European culture, you might as well wear an ushanka with lederhosen.
Posted by venomlash on November 8, 2012 at 3:48 PM · Report this
29
Is it racist?

As a person of Native American Ancestry - what we call Indians around our house - I'm going to go ahead and say "It depends."
Posted by tkc on November 8, 2012 at 4:36 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 30
Talk about Nicki Minaj (@23), dumb-dumbs. Examples like that are relevant to this discussion.

Is it "completely different" when a person whose race/culture was historically oppressed appropriates cultural imagery of a historical oppressor?

What about Minaj appropriating Irish (-ish) imagery? The Irish were often oppressed themselves.
Posted by Ipso Facto http://therealnews.com on November 8, 2012 at 4:58 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 31
@16- " I'm pretty sure tattoos originated in the south Pacific"

The Old Testament outlaws them, mummified Europeans are covered with them... Seriously, Where the fuck did you get that idea?
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on November 8, 2012 at 5:02 PM · Report this
McGee 32
@30. There is nothing specifically celtic/anglo about Minaj's costuming in that video. Your example is false and wrong-headed. In fact she is clearly riffing on Snow White which is Bavarian in its origins.
Posted by McGee on November 8, 2012 at 5:59 PM · Report this
33
I saw Graham Greene play Shylock at the Stratford Festival, is that anti-semantic cause he is First Nations rather then Jewish?
Posted by j2patter on November 8, 2012 at 8:00 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 34
@32: Way to completely dodge the point.

Even if you believe the imagery (yes, the full imagery, including but not limited to the costuming -- i.e. the European cottage, the blonde and red haired wigs, the trappings of the domestic scene) is more "Bavarian" than Celtic/Anglo, this does nothing to change the point:

Nicki Minaj's video appropriates the aesthetic of another culture.

If you don't find Nicki Minaj's video racist, but you do claim the No Doubt video is racist, you need to explain your double standard.

Personally, I don't find either video to be racist. Like I said, I think they are both examples of what I'll term "cultural remixes".
Posted by Ipso Facto http://therealnews.com on November 8, 2012 at 8:21 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 35
What most of us think here doesn't matter. As a white person, I don't have a say in deciding whether or not this is racist.

You know who gets to make that call? Indians. If Indians feel like this is insulting to their heritage or culture, then it is. If they are fine with it, then I'm fine with it. Straight people don't get to tell me if something is homophobic or not. I get to make that call. The effected minority gets to make the call whether or not something is racist, not the dominant culture. Always.

Regardless of whether or not it's racist, the outfit is tacky as hell, and she looks like a toothpick. Burn the horrible costume, and feed that model a cupcake.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on November 8, 2012 at 8:42 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 36
OK, No Doubt probably shouldn't have made their video without the participation of Native Americans.

I only saw that video once before it got removed. My impression was it only started with a broadly Native American aesthetic and then got pretty abstract.

I remember Tony Kanal shredding his guitar in a big mohawk. I didn't get the sense the video was belittling Native American culture, rather that it was drawing from the Native American aesthetic as a stylistic inspiration.

But I take your point @35.

Still, I think the comparison with the Nicki Minaj video might be valuable. Any more thoughts?
Posted by Ipso Facto http://therealnews.com on November 8, 2012 at 9:12 PM · Report this
37
Hey y'all. If you want to know why this is wrong, read this stuff.

http://www.racialicious.com/2008/09/18/c…

http://mycultureisnotatrend.tumblr.com/
Posted by Luckier on November 8, 2012 at 9:20 PM · Report this
Y 38
Are people who dress up as ninjas racist?
Posted by Y http://facebook.com/ymarksthespot on November 8, 2012 at 10:35 PM · Report this
Simone 39
Culturally offensive? Yes. Just as I find stereotypes that portray all Germans as mindless beer drinkers during Oktoberfest offensive. I'm German and I don't drink beer to that party level (also I now have a wheat allergy so most beer is off limits). I also would never wear Lederhosen.

I also find stereotypes that portray all French as wine drinkers who know the differences between wines offensive. But I wouldn't call any of that stereotype German stuff racist.

So, are we going to call 8 year olds who play one game of Cowboys and Indians racists now? Oh, and the child Indian won by the way.

About that Nicki Minaj video. I didn't know what the hell was going on for the fist minute or so. Too many "special" effects from the early 90's happening all over the place. Terrible video and couldn't understand what she was singing about.
Posted by Simone on November 8, 2012 at 11:24 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 40
Here is a beautiful video that appropriates elements of Japanese culture (Nicki Minaj dressed as a geisha, Michael Jai White dressed as a samurai):

Nicki Minaj - Your Love

Is it racist?
Posted by Ipso Facto http://therealnews.com on November 9, 2012 at 5:17 AM · Report this
TortoiseTurtle 41
Just. Fucking. Stop!

Here's the handy guide to 'is it racist?' that you can use for yourself.

1) Is it intended to mock, belittle, or insult a specific race?

If 1 is true, it's racist. If it's false, it's not. All this 'historical context' and 'cultural hegemony' bullshit is ridiculous.

Stop telling people what's "not okay." That's not okay.
Posted by TortoiseTurtle http://slog.thestranger.com on November 9, 2012 at 10:24 AM · Report this
McGee 42
@34 I didn't dodge the point. You don't have a point. There is nothing eurocentric being co-opted in that video. It is based off of fairy tale, something that has never been ie fiction, and thereby is able to be appropriated for interpretation by all. She is not appropriating a culture that actually existed and using it for a clownish purpose. Saying the using a fairytale motif is appropriating anglo-celtic culture is like saying using a X-Men motif is appropriating anglo-celtic culture.
Posted by McGee on November 9, 2012 at 1:46 PM · Report this
elissa 43
I am a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, and I do not think this is okay. The No Doubt video is not okay, either. Native people deal with a range of actual, contemporary problems--environmental, legal, medical, etc. Representations of Indianness as a costume, and of Indians as characters in games and fantasies, can turn us into caricatures rather than real people. When the word "Indian" brings to mind a cartoon "savage" with a warbonnet and the mention of "Native American" calls up images of Kevin Costner playing Indian with a group of olden-day Lakota in their best dress, it can be difficult to adjust to the thought of Indians as office workers, PhD students, or baristas. I teach American Indian Studies at the college level, and I am constantly amazed and motivated by the amount of work that needs to be done to correct the harm done by these problematic stereotypical representations.
Posted by elissa http://washuta.net/blog on November 9, 2012 at 3:10 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 44
@42: What unadulterated horseshit. The imagery in the Va Va Voom video is clearly derived from European culture. If you deny that you are simply prevaricating.

Whether it was for a "clownish purpose" is subjective. Again, I don't have a problem with the video.

But by your logic, any culture's mythos is up for grabs, just not their garb. So if Gwen Stefani had been acting out some Native American traditional story (even in the most broad way), then it would be just peachy for her to be dressed like that. But if she wasn't acting out such a story, then she's a racist.

No, that totally makes sense, guy.

(You're trying too hard. Let it go.)
Posted by Ipso Facto http://therealnews.com on November 9, 2012 at 3:29 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 45
I want to clarify that I recognize that cultural appropriation and imitation can absolutely be disrespectful and even racist.

But are all examples of cultural appropriation necessarily racist?

To wear a crude facsimile of another culture's dress and mock a stereotype of their behavior is surely racist/culturist.

But I didn't see that happening in the No Doubt video. And I suppose I bristled at the term "racism" being so bluntly applied to a band I appreciated in my youth.

Is it "racist" for Gwen Stefani to wear dress inspired by a Native American aesthetic?

Is it "racist" for Tony Kanal (whose parents were from India) to wear dress inspired by a Native American aesthetic?

Is it "racist" for Nicki Minaj to dress as an archetypal European maiden? Is it "racist" for her to dress as a Japanese geisha?

Why or why not?

(These questions are meant for the whole class. McGee can go fuck a cactus.)
Posted by Ipso Facto http://therealnews.com on November 9, 2012 at 3:30 PM · Report this
sissoucat 46
@Simone

I also have problems with how widely the "race" concept is used in the US. I was raised with people who told me that we were all of the same race and that racists were people who denied that - and who took exception with other's looks and ascribed them a "race". It's illegal in my country to ask any "race" question on any forms.

It was really hard on me, when I came to Austin in the 90s as an exchange student, and was faced with a school form where I had to declare whether I was "caucasian", "native-american", "hispanic", "african-american" or "other". I found it profoundly immoral. Since Spain is closer to my birthplace than the Caucasus, America or Africa, I was going to check "hispanic" or "other" when the adult helper told me none of those were the correct answer for me...

As for stereotypes - portraying French as consumate wine tasters is not offensive at all to French people, it's considered as a compliment, and I do know several French people who are really good at wines - and who consider my own indifference to it as a let-down.

What is offensive is when the BBC yaps about French lack of hygiene. How long ago was WWII ? Yep, at that time Frenchies had no soap, no hot water and not much to eat. Hygiene is not easy when you're being nazi-occupied... time to let that bone drop, England ?
Posted by sissoucat on November 9, 2012 at 3:53 PM · Report this
sissoucat 47
@35 I totally agree with you.

The BBC (and many Englanders) manifest a persisting anti-French bias. The Scottish, Irish and Welsch people behave more naturally towards France. It's French people who can say whether the BBC crosses the line with its French-bashing, not the BBC.

Accordingly, I didn't find the video costume offensive, but if Native-Americans say it is, then it is.

@41 I don't agree. People can say and do insulting things without being aware of their meaning to the offended party. Refusing to hear the offended party, and to stop what you've been doing, on the ground that you "didn't mean to mock" is unacceptable. The music group of the emaciated girl did the right thing in pulling the video.
Posted by sissoucat on November 9, 2012 at 3:55 PM · Report this
sissoucat 48
@47 I think Nicky Minaj dressing as a European maiden would be racially offensive if European maidens, or their descendants, found it racially offensive. Since they don't, it's not. Besides, there never was segregation in Europe as far as I know, so any maiden of Nicky Minaj's ethnicity would have dressed like that if she had lived in Europe at that time.

As far as I remember, some Japanese found it offensive to have geishas portrayed by an all-Chinese cast of actresses in a recent film. Those sensitivity problems are not limited to so-called "white" people.
Posted by sissoucat on November 9, 2012 at 4:24 PM · Report this
49
Nope, not racist.
Posted by PanWhale on November 9, 2012 at 11:52 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 50
Is there any racial significance to a Japanese model wearing a Native American headdress?

(Model Mizuhara Kiko photographed by Ninagawa Mika for a book titled Girl.)
Posted by Ipso Facto http://therealnews.com on November 10, 2012 at 2:37 PM · Report this
51
What does this article have to do with old movies? These aren't fans of "Broken Arrow" showing up at Western film conventions in character garb. This is about a modern-day corporation, Victoria's Secret, creating a new look from whole cloth and putting it on a white model.

And they took one huge precaution: Everything seems less racist when it's on a smokin' hot young thing and perfectly tailored.
Posted by DRF on November 11, 2012 at 1:15 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 52
Maybe I'm wrong, maybe the No Doubt video is not as innocuous as I thought.

I don't believe any of the members of No Doubt intended any disrespect. I've seen a high def version of the video (it's kicking around the intertubes). It is interesting that the roles of the "cowboys" and the "Indians" were shuffled among people of various ethnicities (two Sheriffs are played by the band's African American horn players), and the fashion is quite a melange (Stefani in high heeled boots, Kanal in a T-shirt with the words "Sky Earth Fire" printed on it). It was directed by a woman named Melina Matsoukas, who is of Greek, Jewish, Jamaican and Cuban descent according to her Wiki entry.

But maybe it is all about the historical power dynamic like @21 says. Maybe the aesthetic cannot be separated from the history. I don't know.

Though I think the word "racist" is far too strong a word to describe the No Doubt video.

I still haven't seen any adequate responses to the other examples I've mentioned.

And McGee can still go fuck a cactus.
Posted by Ipso Facto http://therealnews.com on November 11, 2012 at 4:42 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 53
Correction: sissoucat responded. Thanks sissoutcat.
Posted by Ipso Facto http://therealnews.com on November 11, 2012 at 4:45 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 54
OK, now let's watch another of Melina Matsoukas' videos, this one for Solange's "Losing You".

I'm starting to get the sense that "cultural mashups" are Matsoukas' specialty.

I think this puts the the video for No Doubt's "Looking Hot" in a new light. Maybe we shouldn't throw the "racist" accusation around so haphazardly.

"Losing You" is a beautiful song and a beautiful video, by the way.
Posted by Ipso Facto http://therealnews.com on November 11, 2012 at 6:46 PM · Report this

Add a comment