By Dominic Holden
The event billed itself as a way to "celebrate the holiday with a little sensitivity." The invitation, which was also posted to an online forum, promises a pow wow, drum circle, sweat lodge, a vision quest, and a "march down the trail of tears to ravtav [?] before a new day dawns." But some may have been rubbed wrong by the accompanying photo:
And another adds, "Despite how smart the senders of this invite THINK they are, they have only given us indication that they are at worst insensitive clods and at the very best perpetrators of a crass and sophomoric attempt at satire, which fell flat." The criticisms raged on from more students, including this one: "I can honestly say that I would NEVER find it funny for someone, particularly someone of a different race, to satirize hardships faced by my ethnic/racial group."
I hope they show the classic "What Makes the Redman Red?" number from Disney's Peter Pan. Maybe this group can host a party on the day after MLK Day. The day could be filled with forced labor, singing spirituals, frying chicken and eating watermelon. Then they can show Disney's "Song of the South."
PS ravtav is the Ravenna Alehouse.
A response like this is an occupational hazard of sending any message out on an academic listserve: there's always some miserable tight-ass out there who's looking to make their mark by being emotionally wounded, since they're too untalented to do it any other way.
Ironically enough, the girl in the picture IS 1/16th Native American, though I don't recall the tribe. It's not Cherokee.
The worst case isn't that the perpetrators are "insensitive clods." It's that they're racists.
Based on the information given, I don't see how this qualifies as a satire. Which phrases are the satirical ones? A satire of what, exactly?
No, it's nothing but cloddish insensitivity. "Indians" aren't taking back "Firewater Friday" since no Indians are involved. Drum circles, sweat lodges, and vision quests are spiritual or religious practices that have no relevance to this party.
The "Trail of Tears" line is probably the worst one. It's about like having an Auschwitz-themed beach party. "If the fire doesn't warm you up, we'll toss you in the oven until you're extra crispy!"
For a similar college party, see "Conquistabros and Navajos" at Harvard.