Cristine Prosperi dressed up as Pocahontas? YOU MUST BE A RACIST MONSTER.

So the Degrassi cast decided to enjoy Halloween by having a party, where those who attended of course dressed up.  Annie, Cristine, Jessica and Melinda dressed up as several of the Disney princesses:  Snow White, Pocahontas, Cinderella and Jasmine.

A few days later, someone on tumblr posted this “secret” on the fuckyeahdegrassisecrets tumblr:

“I absolutely LOVE Cristine.  But seeing her in this blatant example of cultural appropriation and racism definitely made me love her a little less.  And Halloween is really no excuse for it.”

One of the people who replied to this posted links to these sites:

http://mycultureisnotatrend.tumblr.com/

http://bitchmagazine.org/post/costume-cultural-appropriation

Now, my question to you is do you find Cristine Prosperi’s outfit to be offensive, even if she is just dressing up like a character from a VERY WELL KNOWN children’s movie?

For me, the answer is no.  I wanted to post a really long, thoughtful response to this, but I can’t.  The words aren’t there.  For years I feel like I’ve suffered from “race fatigue.”  If you haven’t noticed, I’m a black guy.  I grew up in a community where black people would constantly talk negatively about white people (my parents DID NOT though, but other black adults would).  There’s nothing the “white man” could do right because everything they did was considered offensive.  In no way does that mean one should overlook the existence of racism/sexism, etc., but sometimes I feel like some people are literally just sitting there, looking and waiting for a reason to be offended so they point to people and say “See!! I told you they’re prejudiced against our group!!”

I don’t know.  I just don’t think I could ever see myself dedicating my existence to getting worked up over every example of cultural appropriation of black people,  over analyzing every action of everyone else  instead of actually going out and living my life, making myself a shining example of how my culture should be represented.  Was Cristine’s outfit BLATANT cultural appropriation and racism? In my opinion, absolutely not.  She thought it’d be fun to dress up as a Disney princess with her friends, and that’s it.  I can guarantee you the idea that the Native American community would be up in arms over her costume would come to mind.  But when it comes to anyone who has a high level of sensitivity to any issue, the intent of others is considered irrelevant when you feel like people are out to get you or take you down…everyone against you is considered equally horrible.

Advertisements

Posted by Kary

23 Comments

  1. I think she made Pocahontas sexier. It is not racist I think many people are either jealous of her beauty or they are just way too sensitive

    Like

    Reply

  2. I’m sensitive to racial issues, and I do recognize the privileges afforded to me because I am a white man, but really, some of this is bordering on ridiculous and over-reaching. And that’s not even taking into consideration the fact that they took the photo of Christine out of context.

    But with that said, her costume really doesn’t look much like Pocahontas at all.

    Like

    Reply

  3. so what? its halloween. ppl get mad over the dumbest things.

    Like

    Reply

  4. It almost seems prejudice to think someone dressing as a character who is of minority descent is racist. I mean, why are the girls dressed as their matching ethnicity princesses not racist and she is? That’s just taking the time to cause problems that aren’t there. Also I think it’s important to consider her intentions. She was having fun and in no way was trying to make a joke.

    Like

    Reply

    1. I thought the same about their costumes. But hey, it’s Halloween. (neither sensitive, no insensitive)

      Like

      Reply

    2. What’s even more interesting is that is it culture appropriation for Melinda to dress as someone who is Middle Eastern?

      Like

      Reply

  5. I liked their costumes… but I agree with Dirk that Cristine’s outfit doesn’t really look like Pocahontas. Anyway, I don’t think anyone should take a Halloween costume that seriously. It’s just for fun.

    This is completely off-topic but I didn’t know where else to post it. I was watching ABC Family and I saw a commercial for Desperately Seeking Santa. Paula Brancati (Jane) is in it. I don’t know why but I got excited to see her again on my tv. It looks like a cute holiday movie. I’ll definitely be watching it.

    Like

    Reply

    1. I saw that too! I got so excited. I’m usually not a fan of their original Holiday movies but i might watch it for her

      Like

      Reply

  6. The most offensive part to me is that she looks nothing like Pocahantas.

    Like

    Reply

  7. Is it wrong to want to dress like the Princess she most resembled? I mean, if. Me & my friends we’re ALL dressing as the princess’ if pick the 1 i fit best to. I mean it’d, look a lil rediculous having her and jessica switch costumes. And as previously stated if that’s racist why isnt melinda’s?

    Like

    Reply

  8. I don’t have a problem with Christine’s outfit, because it’s tasteful. What I think people have issues with are the costumes that exploit offensive cultural stereotypes–ie. the Geishas, the illegal immigrants, the gangstas, the terrorists. Take Shay Mitchell’s “Native American princess” costume in the PPL Halloween episode. It was trashy and campy, which is why a lot of viewers had problems with it. I’d go so far as to say that Christine’s interpretation of the Disney heroine is classier than Disney’s, which depicts her as this leggy, exotic princess. But the fact that she chose to go as a character from a film that caused such commotion when it was released, that took GREAT liberties with the source material was sort of a risky decision, so that complicates things even further…she should have just gone as Belle.

    Like

    Reply

    1. BurgundyRaccoon November 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm

      “I’d go so far as to say that Christine’s interpretation of the Disney heroine is classier than Disney’s, which depicts her as this leggy, exotic princess.”
      I responded to that Tumblr thread and I think the Tumblr OP is looking for racism in a place where there is no racist intent in the first place. If Cristine were to be true to the Disney image of Pocahontas, she would have been barefoot and wore NO PANTS – would that have mollified the race trolls? If the theme is dressing as “Disney Princesses”, is Cristine banned from dressing as a minority character if only because she is white? I tried quoting Gawker.com in that Tumblr thread, but I’ll try quoting their apt logic in this thread:

      “when the entirety of your costume is “I am a person of a different race, LOL,” that qualifies as a racist costume.”

      To anyone that still thinks Cristine’s costume is racist, is she doing anything to mock Native American culture or dress? You see racist characters like “Jim Crow” and those who get in Black face/Brown face/etc. to mock Blacks and Asians are…well…MOCKING these ethnicities. To accuse Cristine of mocking Native Americans and their culture would be unfair to Cristine given the theme of the costumes they all wore – and my stance would be exactly the same if she dressed as either Mulan or Princess Tiana from “Princess and The Frog”. Accusing her of cultural appropriation shows me a gross misunderstanding of what cultural appropriation and racism actually is.

      Like

      Reply

      1. Precisely. It’s one thing to appropriate an entire culture for the sake of a costume, but it’s another to dress up as an historical figure/character who happens to be of a different race. As a white woman, I would not dress up as some non-specific Asian schoolgirl. But that doesn’t mean I can’t dress up as Jubilee from the X-Men, a character who happens to be Chinese.

        Like

      2. Just as a side-note, Nina, that’s a brilliant costume idea. Jubilee has got to be my favorite member of the X-Men.

        Like

  9. I GUESS IT WOULD ALSO BE RACIST IS SHE DRESSED UP AS YA BOI CDAWG IN THA HOUSE. PEOPLE NEED TO TAKE SEVERAL SEATS

    Like

    Reply

  10. Its obvious theres a theme here; Annie resembles Snow White, Jessica resembles Cinderella, Melinda resembles Jasmine, and then Christine with Pocahontas. I was Pocahontas for Halloween one year and I’m not even Indian. So no racism here, thats just ridiculous.

    Like

    Reply

  11. People looking for the most miniscule of reasons to catch feelings.

    Like

    Reply

  12. Honestly, I think you have to look at it through a Canadian lens…if that image even came from a Canadian, granted. Basically issues with First Nations (as they’re known here) people are an extremely sensitive and hot button topic in this country. Is it something to get super worked up over? Definitely not. It’s a young girl having fun with her friends, in a pretty hastily made (or so it appears) costume. Am I surprised someone – or some people – did get worked up over it? Definitely not. I’ve had many friends consider the Pocahontas route for Halloween and back off because of the sensitive racial concerns in Canada. The real question is, why the heck wouldn’t Cristine rock a Belle costume instead?

    Like

    Reply

  13. A lot of you are asking why doesnt she just dress as belle and there could be a simple answer to that. Maybe she doesnt like belle, maybe she like pocahontas better. i know that mulan and jasmine are my favorite disney princesses and i am white, and would pick to be one of them instead of belle because i cant stand belle

    Like

    Reply

  14. I think the problem that some people may have with this is the fact that this Halloween costume does not at all (not in my opinion at least) look like what Pocohontas did in the Disney movie (which she was supposedly trying to achieve). What she did was wear something that LOOKED Native American, not something that was actually in the movie and it kind of just perpetuates the stereotype of what a Native American supposedly looks like, not what they might actually wear. Disney’s version of Pocohontas may not have been entirely accurate (I wouldn’t know) but since Cristine was aiming to be Disney’s Pocohontas, it makes sense that some Native Americans are upset over the cultural appropriation.
    Also, the reason why Melinda’s ‘Jasmine’ costume isn’t offensive is because that it is eerily similar to what Jasmine actually wore and isn’t what middle eastern people are stereotyped as looking like – what Cristine is wearing is.
    I understand if people don’t agree, but this is what I think (and maybe what the secret maker thought as well).

    Like

    Reply

  15. Real talk: Had I not read she was Pocahontas for Halloween, I would have thought she was chilling at Woodstock or something.

    That being said, personally, I didn’t find it offensive. She was trying to portray Disney’s version of Pocahontas, which wasn’t even accurate to begin with, but I digress. Had she just been like, “Lawlz, I’m going to be a Sioux for Halloween and I’m pretty sure the Native American from the Village People is how they look!” then she’d be entering sticky territory. Along with that, had she decided to ACT like the stereotypical media portrayal of a Native American (for example, Tanto in the Lone Ranger), then all hell would break loose because that’s just horribly offensive. But she didn’t, so whoever wrote this needs to seriously chill and do some sudoku.

    Finally, I want Cristine’s shirt. I’m done.

    Like

    Reply

  16. old post…but i wanted to put my two cents in. She was pocahontas, everyone was a disney princess obviously. but i’m sure Cristine wanted to wear pants (something Pocahontas in the movie didnt do) and I’m sure she wanted to feel comfortable so she modernized it with clothes similar to what she’d wear in real life (over the shoulder boxy top and what looks like leggings). But she needed to make her point of her character so she added the “stereotypical” Native American accessories and tribal face paint. All she was doing was making her costume a little more 21st century. Just something cool and cute without feeling too costume-y (cuz that can get annoying and restricting with props n such, like how mindy is carrying that genie bottle or jessica with her white gloves and purse) ….All of their costumes are regular clothes that they pieced together (expect for Annie). They didnt buy it from a costume store. it looked like while Cristine looks like she just gathered some things from her closet and made it work. Comfort, casual, while still getting ur point across. I probably would have did my costume like her too.

    Like

    Reply

  17. OK, this is late, but I don’t care.

    Unless you’re Native American (actually Native American, not some 1/8th my mama was a Cherokee princess BS), you don’t know how it feels to have non-Native girls make a joke out of you again and again. Never taking our opinions about our own cultures seriously. Wearing headdresses, making Pocahontas seem romantic (she was TWELVE, and didn’t have any romance w/ John Smith, and the living members of her tribe despise that myth- Smith made the romance up in order to seem cool, when she saw him in person again as an adult, she was so angry, she wanted to slap him) when really her people were being screwed over by the invaders. The oversexualization of NDN women has given Native women the HIGHEST incidence of sexual assault in this country, bc people think we are a joke and they can do what they want to us; there’s an ongoing practice of white men going to reservations explicitly to rape Native women, and a man who serial-raped Native women in the 1970s was later elected GOVERNOR of South Dakota. Everybody thinks we’re a joke or a costume, and Pocahontas is the biggest symbol of how no one has any respect for what our various cultures actually are, they only want the BS Disneyfied version that has nothing to do with any of us. So if it seems oversensitive, it’s because it happens All. The. Time, and we are really sick of people thinking we’re costumes and long-dead relics, ignoring our realities. The mockery is in the fact that no one cares to represent us well and accurately, because they don’t value us as people. We only exist to be abused or have our cultures stolen and bastardized for Halloween or new age stores.

    If that’s “race trolling”, well, sorry, but it’s also my reality as a NDN woman. If anyone cares about that.

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s