May 08, 2013

Debauched "Indians" on Caesarian Sunday

Cambridge's infamous 'Caesarian Sunday' passes without incident--Native American headdresses notwithstanding

By Tabby KinderThe quiet serenity of families enjoying a sunny bank holiday weekend in Cambridge city centre was punctured on Sunday afternoon as 1,000 Cambridge University students descended on Jesus Green, ignoring pleas from their colleges not to attend the riotous annual party held to celebrate the start of the summer term.

‘Caesarian Sunday’ caused embarrassment for the university last year when students were snapped fighting, stripping off, vomiting and urinating in flower beds during the outdoor party, which has become an institution for the university’s drinking societies. But while some students had tamed their behaviour since last year’s scandal, which involved people carrying a pig’s head on a spike and girls drinking port from condoms, families were still shocked by the debauchery and drunkenness on display from some of the country’s most revered students, some of whom had been drinking since the previous evening.
And:Members of drinking societies wearing nothing but underwear and native American headdresses with swear words and genitals drawn on their backs and arms partied alongside different groups people dressed as schoolgirls, cheerleaders, ancient Greeks, and groups of men wearing three-piece suits and bow ties.

The societies use the event as a bizarre initiation ritual for new members and to launch a summer of drinking parties after the end of final exams. Suicide Sunday, a garden party held in the coming weeks, is organised by the Wyverns, an all-male Magdalene College drinking society, and has been running for 80 years.
At least one organization noted the racism in this event:

Troubled Trenton Takes on Colonialist Cambridge...Again

"Colonialism and Racism" evident in Caesarian Sunday costumes says publishing company run by Trenton Oldfield.

By Will Heilpern
Myrdle Court Press--the agency in question--have claimed that the fancy dress choice of a number of students this weekend indicates that “Colonialism and Racism is Alive and Well in Cambridge.”

The publishing company were so outraged at the costumes that they uploaded an album of photos of the harmless students to their Facebook page, claiming it to be conclusive evidence of:

“colonialism and its legacies … still shaping the Great British psyche, its foreign and domestic policies and laws.”

Oldfield’s company continues by requesting those viewing the photos to “share and try to identify any of the people”, presumably to shame the Cambridge students for their behaviour.

Predictably, the photos were taken at the notorious Caesarian Sunday, which this year was actually relatively calm.

The students targeted by Oldfield’s attack are said to be “shocked and confused” by the claims being made about them.

James, a 3rd year PPS student, said: “I could understand if it were Nazi outfits but the appropriation of Native American headdresses has gone on for so long that its symbolic meaning has been totally re-appropriated.

“The cultural practice of wearing [headdresses] as costume has gone on for so long that it’s previous attachments no longer live on inside the majority of Western--and especially British--culture.”
Comment:  Wow. Let's dissect the views of James the ignorant twit.

For starters, what makes some British punk think he's qualified to address Native appropriations in the United States over a couple of centuries? More to the point, what makes him think he's qualified to address the Native position on the subject? Indians are the ones who get to say whether headdresses still have meaning to them, not him.

As every headdress controversy in the past decade has shown, many Indians remain concerned about the appropriation of their cultural beliefs and practices. They've been protesting this appropriation more or less continuously since it started. That idiots like James ignored the protests because of their white privilege doesn't mean the protests have gone away.

Besides, wearing headdresses reserved for honored chiefs is only part of the problem. If the idiots were dressed in feathers, loincloths, and warpaint but not headdresses, they'd still be imitating Indians. They'd be associating Indians with "debauchery and drunkenness." That is, the same wild, wanton behavior usually attributed to Indians.

However you slice this, the idiots are portraying Indians as savages. It's pure racial profiling. If they tried this with any other ethnic group, they'd be shut down so quickly it would make their heads swim.

Time limit on racism?

The fact that Anglo-Americans have mocked Indians for centuries doesn't mean anything. Bigoted Anglo-American have also mocked blacks, Jews, and women for centuries. There's no time limit on racist or sexist behavior--no point at which it becomes okay. Someone who said Jews are to blame for Jesus's death was anti-Semitic 2,000 years ago and is anti-Semitic today.

These cloddish children are simply more hipsters in headdresses. Despite James's weak attempt at a defense, they're as guilty as other hipsters in headdresses. When you dress as a stereotypical member of another ethnicity, you're racist by definition.

You've probably read some of my postings on this subject. You know, the ones explaining why hipster or "ironic" racism is still racism. For some primers on the subject, see Stereotypes Okay in "Cultural Commons"? and Why Hipster Headdresses Aren't Okay.

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