November 19, 2010

Miami's 68th annual "Indian Party"

“Indian Party” elevates racial tension

By Julie ParkDear six young men who somehow find it acceptable to host the 68th annual "Indian Party" where participants are invited to "Get dressed up like your favorite Indian and pow wow around the keg" and "get wrecked … you know Squanto would."

I don't even know how to begin to express how immature, disrespectful and ridiculous these words are to our campus community and the Miami Tribe. I know you are fond of tradition, and yes, having anything for 68 years straight is an impressive show of dedication, but has it ever occurred to you that just because something goes on for a really long time doesn't mean that it's OK? (For instance, slavery?) I know you like to throw parties and have a good time, but do you really have to drag another racial group into it?

I realize that you alone are not at fault. After all, I see that at the writing of this letter, 222 of your friends are RSVPed to attend, another 42 are maybe attending and zero of you have commented that there might possibly be something problematic with this event. And then there are the other incidents—the trashing of the Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Ghettofest, the folks who felt compelled to inform black students uptown that Oxford is a "white person's town." That contributes to Miami University's general dismal campus racial climate.
Comment:  For the previous racial incident at Miami featuring Indians (10 days ago), see Miami Fan in Headdress Thrown Out. For the previous college party featuring Indians (9 days ago), see "Firewater Friday" at University of Washington.

Note the three incidents of prejudice against blacks that contribute to the "dismal campus racial climate." This suggests how all bigotries are similar and thus related. Note also that none of the incidents involved students dressing in blackface. This suggests how remarkable the "dressing as Indians" (redface) problem is.

For more on the subject, see Halloween Comedy on NBC and "Conquistabros and Navajos" at Harvard.

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