October 11, 2011

Forever 21's Columbus Day sale

Forever 21 Sells Faux Native American Items in Their Columbus Day Sale

By Rachel KaneI've not so secretly disliked this whole "tribal" and native trend where hipsters slap on replicas of sacred prayer beads, medicine bags and all manner of clothing depicting Native Americans (or American Indians, if you prefer) in the most stereotypical form possible, and Forever 21 has been at the very forefront of promoting this trend.Take this top for example, marked down from $14.90 as part of the Columbus Day sale.

Maybe you didn't catch that ... AS PART OF THE COLUMBUS DAY SALE.
Comment:  Selling Native ripoffs on Columbus Day, a day of mourning, is an obvious faux pas. It's reminiscent of the "Party Like It's 1492" sale and outcry.

The clothing itself--at least the example shown--is stereotypical. But the real stereotyping comes from what was assumed rather than said. Namely, that nothing worth worrying about happened on Columbus Day. That it's a bland, inoffensive holiday for all Americans.

For most Americans that may be true, but not for Native Americans. For them, Columbus Day is like Slavery Day or Hitler's birthday. You wouldn't have a sale for those occasions, so you shouldn't have one for Columbus Day.

But Forever 21 didn't think or care about this. Their sale implies Indians are irrelevant, if not dead and gone. And that's a problem.

For more on the subject, see Open Letter to Urban Outfitters and Neo-Navajo Fashion Trend.

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