In cultural appropriation news, Christina Fallin, the 26-year-old daughter of the Governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, thought it would be a great idea to tweet a picture of herself wearing a Native American headdress. Blegh.
The state’s population is approximately 8.6 percent Native American, and it seems like every Oklahoman with a social media presence is justifiably pissed to see a white woman claiming a cultural symbol that doesn’t belong to her. The story has reached the rest of the internet now, too– resulting in a cacophony of biting tweets.
We’d love to say that this was one stupid mistake made by one person one time– but, unfortunately, Christina has issued a pathetic non-apology on her band’s Facebook. If you love eye-roll-inducing open letters written by people who don’t understand why they’re being criticized, this one will make your day:
Growing up in Oklahoma, we have come into contact with Native American culture institutionally our whole lives– something we are eternally grateful for. With age, we feel a deeper and deeper connection to the Native America culture that has surrounded us. Though it may not have been our own, this aesthetic has affected us emotionally in a very real and meaningful way. Please forgive us if we innocently adorn ourselves in your beautiful things.
So you appreciate their culture so much that… what? You understand it better than they do? You know what’s best for them? Yikes, girl. I love Jezebel’s commentary about the whole situation:
When hundreds of people are telling you that what you did was racist appropriation, then how can you continue to assert the right to “adorn” yourself with the signifiers of a culture that’s not your own, that your racial group has oppressed in the past?
Well, here’s hoping that this public discussion will discourage other people from doing potentially offensive things without considering the weight of their actions. And here’s hoping that all the articles and tweets floating around with her name in them will teach Christina Fallin how to write an actual apology.