This post has to do with the picture I posted a while back of my girlfriend and I dressed as Native American Indians. Out of nowhere, the picture started to get reblogged left and right, and more and more people saw it.
Let me give you the backstory first. Every year my family, friends, and neighbors, a group of around 25 men, women, and children, take a canoeing trip in northern Michigan, and every year we decide to do a themed trip for when we go down the river. One year we did a “Hawaiian Luau” theme, another we did a “Crazy Hat” theme, and next year there is talk of a “Pirate” theme. This year we decided to do a Ole’ Western theme (Cowboys, Indians, ect). Being myself, I like to go above and beyond when it comes to things I am interested in. While most of the people in our group wore cowboy hats and bandanas or face paint and some feathers, I wanted to really feel the part and have fun doing it. With that in mind, I spent time deciding what I would do to dress the part. Being an upcoming college freshman at the time, and a full-time entry level mechanical engineer I knew money was precious as tuition takes a toll on students. I knew I needed to spend my money wisely and and my time efficiently. I found a $10 headdress and paint at Party City, some fabric at Joann Fabrics, a dream catcher from the dollar store, and a speedo from Dunhams. I spent time making the outfit the best I could. I was proud with my results as they were the best I could do given the circumstances. On the river, my girlfriend and I were a hit. People loved the passion we had and our creativity. Word spread throughout the river that “There is a guy dressed as a Native American on the river” and people waited for us to pass by. I was able to make adults awe and the kids smile. We went through the whole trip making people nothing but happy and we ended with smiles on our faces.
Shortly after the trip, I posted this picture of my girlfriend and I with the caption “The love of my life!” on tumblr. I’m not a very active person on tumblr, but my girlfriend and her friends are, so I posted it in hopes that they would all see it. I posted the picture just as a normal boyfriend would.
After a couple months of no activity on said post I received emails, all saying that people have followed me; an unusual amount. I decided to check why and I saw that over 150 people reposted and/or favorited my picture. At first I thought “Cool!”. That was until I read some of the comments on the picture and was shocked as to the reason it was spreading so much.
Almost all the comments left on the picture showed negativity toward myself and my girlfriend. Some comments saying that we were a bunch of racists making fun of other peoples cultures. Calling us “assholes”, “faggots”, “stupid fucks” all for dressing up as Indians, some even sending death threats.
When I was reading these comments I was beyond confused. I began looking at the picture and the caption to see if I did something wrong that I did not mean to do. I began to look at the tumblr pages of some of the people who were expressing their anger toward me and I noticed that almost all people who were angry were of Native American decent or follow Native American culture. Most of those who commented on the post automatically thought the worst, slamming me and acting as if I did this on purpose just to make fun of the culture. They acted as if I had purposefully done it to offend people. However, there were some nice people who, even though they were offended, they were understanding about it, and instead of insulting me, decided to calmly explain why what I did offended so many people including them self. User ruthhopkins was one of those users who explained to me why it was offensive. I did not know that the headdresses are sacred and that wearing one was an insult or a way of calling Native Americans “not human”. I read through their whole comment and felt like shit when I finished for I had no idea what I was doing could’ve offended anyone.
I realized that the way I dressed came off as offensive to the Native American culture as if I was slamming it and making fun of it. Please know, if you were offended by that post, that I apologize from the bottom of my heart as I had no idea that it would offend anyone. I didn’t not mean for it to come of as an insult to Native Americans or their culture. When I posted it, I thought I was just posting a simple, harmless picture of a fun time my girlfriend and I had together. I in no way meant any disrespect, and I apologize, for I thought I was posting something harmless.
As of today, I have taken down the original post with the picture, not because of the many insults, death threats, or negativity displayed toward my girlfriend and I, but to prevent anyone else from seeing it and possibly being offended by it. That is the only reason I took the post down. If I knew that the post was going to be offensive to people, I would have never posted it in the first place. The insults do not bother me, this is the internet, I learned a long time ago to brush it off. It’s the fact that so many people found it offensive that bothered me. Found what I did offensive. That is the reason it was taken down.
I am truly sorry for what I did and I mean no disrespect to anyone for I did not know that what I was doing was wrong. I am truly sorry.