July 16, 2009

Indians in suits = white wannabes?

In response to Stereotypical "Eskimo Cutie," someone wrote:If a Native chooses to wear clothing that reflects what the majority of 'white people' wear, say jeans and a shirt or a business suit (male or female), does that make the Native a "wannabe white person"?My response:

No, because suits and jeans are worn by everyone throughout our culture. They don't "belong" to any particular ethnic group.

In contrast, the "Eskimo wear" belongs primarily to Eskimos. When others wear it, it's almost always because they're stereotyping Native people. And not because it's the natural or "right" choice for the situation.

By the way, I never said the woman in the outfit was a "wannabe." That would imply she wanted to be an Eskimo. That she wasn't just a model wearing clothing in order to sell it.

But you have a bit of a point. Suppose casino-owning Indians dressed exclusively in rich Italian suits to show off their wealth. In that case, I might say they were stereotyping themselves as "fat cats" and "wannabe white people."

But I'd probably say the same about anyone who went around wearing rich Italian suits to show off their wealth. This isn't a natural outfit; it's an artificial attempt to look rich. Since rich people often don't look this way...yes, I'd say it was stereotypical.

For more on the subject, see Rich Indians and Eskimos:  The Ultimate Aborigines.


Stephen said...

Also I have to wonder what the person means by 'white' it isn't as if it refers to a single culture, do the 'whites' in the photos below look as if they belong to one culture?





And white has class implicatons, after all in order to be truly 'white' one must have enough money, if you don't you're 'white trash'.

Anonymous said...

Nothing with "Eskimo" in the name should show so much leg.

And yes, expensive suits are cheesy.