The Hipster Headdress Abounds at Coachella
A commenter on the Coachella.com forum asks: "Why was every other douchebag at this year's festival dressed in a colorful Native American Feather Headress with neon paint all over their bodies?"
Adrienne has been covering the "hipster headdress" phenomenon since she began her blog in January 2010. I'm not sure it's a trend or anything new. People have been dressing up as Indians since the Boston Tea Party, at least. Examples of non-Indians wearing headdresses abound in our culture. You can find them throughout the last decade of the Stereotype of the Month contest and before.
If there is a trend, it's part of an increasing hostility toward minorities. The evidence includes the conservative hard line toward immigrants, student parties involving blackface and nooses, English-only laws, race-based attacks on the Obamas, and the many instances of Tea Party hatemongering.
Wearing a headdress seems benign compared to these examples, but the attitude behind the act is similar. Like mascot lovers, these Indian wannabes are asserting their superiority in a socially acceptable way. "We're white, we can do whatever we want, and you can't stop us."
For more on Coachella, see "A Sight for Squaw Eyes." For more on the subject in general, see The Big Chief and Indian Wannabes.