Cultural Appropriation invades H'ween - Debate over Moana Costume

samcraig

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Thoughts?

http://www.delish.com/food/a56223/moana-halloween-costume-racist/?src=socialflowFB

"If your kid wears a racist costume … you're kind of wearing it too."

The New York Post recently highlighted an article on raceconscious.org about how that's probably not a good choice if your kid is white, and revealed that "moms are freaking out" over the culturally appropriative costume. Needless to say, the Post's coverage has only amplified the debate around what does, and doesn't, constitute cultural appropriation.

The original article, written by Sachi Feris, discusses how her white daughter was torn between dressing as Elsa, from Frozen, or the titular character from Moana. Feris expresses concern that while an Elsa costume might reinforce notions of white privilege, dressing up as Moana is essentially cultural appropriation — the act of reducing someone's culture to stereotypes, and thereby belittling it. Though Feris puzzles over how one might wear a Moana costume respectfully, she ultimately decides it just isn't a good idea.
 

samcraig

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So basically you cant dress up as ANYTHING on Halloween because there is always someone butt-hurt about something. Always. Un freging believable.
I get the point. I understand the issue.

But in my opinion, girls aren't dressing up in Polynesian garb - they are dressing like a specific fictional character from a movie they love. And for a holiday where we encourage kids to pretend they are someone else. Now if you're darkening your skin or other things - that I wouldn't support. But most children see the girl - and a hero. They do not see color, race, or religion.
 

oneMadRssn

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So, I've ranted before about people not posting the original source, but this here is an extreme example. OP posted a Delish.com blog post, about a New York Post article, about a blog post on raceconscious.org. This is like a game of media telephone. As you can see, each source added their own spin and sensationalism to the piece while taking away all context.

The original piece is a blog post on a website that bills itself as, "a resource for talking about race with young children." The post is summary of a long conversation between a girl who just discovered Disney princesses and her mother who obviously finds the whole Disney universe objectionable, where the mother tries to let her daughter do what she wants while also (making an attempt at) educating her about why some Disney princesses may not be so great and finding a way to learn about the history behind the stories. For example, the mother considered the Moana costume as an opportunity for her daughter to learn about real Polynesian culture.

Yes, there are some cringe-worthy lines in the blog post. But overall, nothing in the post is particularly objectionable, especially if you see it as one of hundreds of small stories in the "resource for talking about race with young children."

TL;DR - Op's post was a story about story about story, sensationalized and devoid of context. Please post original sources to avoid this pitfall.
 

samcraig

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So, I've ranted before about people not posting the original source, but this here is an extreme example. OP posted a Delish.com blog post, about a New York Post article, about a blog post on raceconscious.org. This is like a game of media telephone. As you can see, each source added their own spin and sensationalism to the piece while taking away all context.

The original piece is a blog post on a website that bills itself as, "a resource for talking about race with young children." The post is summary of a long conversation between a girl who just discovered Disney princesses and her mother who obviously finds the whole Disney universe objectionable, where the mother tries to let her daughter do what she wants while also (making an attempt at) educating her about why some Disney princesses may not be so great and finding a way to learn about the history behind the stories. For example, the mother considered the Moana costume as an opportunity for her daughter to learn about real Polynesian culture.

Yes, there are some cringe-worthy lines in the blog post. But overall, nothing in the post is particularly objectionable, especially if you see it as one of hundreds of small stories in the "resource for talking about race with young children."

TL;DR - Op's post was a story about story about story, sensationalized and devoid of context. Please post original sources to avoid this pitfall.
I respect and agree with your post - however - I think people can comment and debate based on the blog post I linked (and also read the source as well). The "issue" is debatable - even if I had no source and just wrote "do you think it's appropriate for white girls to dress as Moana"
 
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samcraig

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Yes. Heroes, even fictional ones, have no color. I watched the movie once, and I if I remember it correctly I think she was a good example for all kids.
Should black girls prevented from being Cinderella, Belle, or Amelia Earhart? No.
No

But some of the arguments on social networks has been that for black girls, they finally had their own princess, Tiana. They finally were represented. So white privilege or whatever label you want to throw on it is an issue because a white girl can take the dress off and go back to being white. But here's where I don't agree because the child was likely not of any mindset that she was black when she was in the costume - but rather a princess, chef, etc...

I get the argument. I would agree with it in other circumstances. But not Moana, not for H'ween and not for little kids.
 

yaxomoxay

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No

But some of the arguments on social networks has been that for black girls, they finally had their own princess, Tiana. They finally were represented. So white privilege or whatever label you want to throw on it is an issue because a white girl can take the dress off and go back to being white. But here's where I don't agree because the child was likely not of any mindset that she was black when she was in the costume - but rather a princess, chef, etc...

I get the argument. I would agree with it in other circumstances. But not Moana, not for H'ween and not for little kids.
Why not Moana?
 

yaxomoxay

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No - my no was the answer to your question - not in reply to YOUR no lol
Lol :)

I am just glad that some kid might’ve found some interest for Polynesian culture after Moana. I am pretty sure many parents don’t even know what Polynesia is.
Now it’s time for a good Italian princess :) (piece of trivia: they had to change the name Moana to Oceania in Italy due to the connection with a very, very famous Italian adult movie industry star from the 1980’s.

( @FatherJack1980 nice to see another Father Ted fan here! Want to go camping with Dougal?)
 
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zin

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I just ignore these people. They fight to make your life as miserable as possible by proclaiming that everything is racist and offensive.
 

VulchR

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Life is too short. The original blog comes from a site purporting to help 'raise race-conscious' children. On the one hand I get it: you do not want your kids to do something that somebody would consider rude and insensitive, particularly as it relates to any perception of racism. However, raising children who are always conscious of race will not help against racism and discrimination. Surely what we want are kids who are polite and culturally aware, but race-blind...
[doublepost=1508855861][/doublepost]
The only time I was pissed about cultural appropriation is when this English couple tried to feed me spaghetti. Method of cooking: all night, in cold water. No salt. Then heated up.
You're lucky it wasn't microwaved and served with mushy peas.
 

Mac'nCheese

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I'm pretty sure this was a thing last Halloween, too. Its a damned if you do, damned if you don't issue to me. If you make a costume, you're guilty of cultural appropriation. If you don't, you're guilty of ignoring other cultures and only making costumes for type of kid.
 

yaxomoxay

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Halloween used to be a bugbear of conservatives, because it's demonic and pagan and all that, and now it seems to be an issue of the other side, because it's racist. Why does everyone have to make something fun for kids into something negative?
Because kids have no political power. If they could they would probably exterminate us adults just to keep their candy and costume festivities, and I am not sure they would be that wrong...
 
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hmmfe

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Life is too short. The original blog comes from a site purporting to help 'raise race-conscious' children. On the one hand I get it: you do not want your kids to do something that somebody would consider rude and insensitive, particularly as it relates to any perception of racism. However, raising children who are always conscious of race will not help against racism and discrimination. Surely what we want are kids who are polite and culturally aware, but race-blind...
I think the problem has been framed upside-down. I think we should emphasize raising our children not to be so sensitive about their own ethnic backgrounds. At the same time, children should also learn to see cultural differences and understand that these differences are a part of being human. I am not sure how you raise someone so that they never offend someone else (for reasons that a particular person's emotional reaction is beyond their knowing and control). But, you can raise someone to understand and control their own emotional responses.

Clearly there is current and historical precedent for the notion that some people intend to offend due to hatred and ignorance. Wanting to dress as a cartoon character because you liked the character, cartoon and its songs is not that. A parent would do well to teach their children to appreciate the distinction.

*Just to be clear, I am not opposing anything you said. I'm just expanding on your thoughts with my own.
 
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hmmfe

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I respect and agree with your post - however - I think people can comment and debate based on the blog post I linked (and also read the source as well). The "issue" is debatable - even if I had no source and just wrote "do you think it's appropriate for white girls to dress as Moana"
I have to agree with you on this one. You were not wanting to discuss the raceconcious.org post specifically. But rather the subject generally. Any of the provided links give sufficient context to discuss the overall topic of halloween costumes and cultural appropriation. Besides, the original source is easily found via your linked article for anyone wanting to explore that avenue.

oneMadRssn does have a point. But I don't think his criticism, in this case, was warranted.
 
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