“Stop being so sensitive!” I have heard a variation of this phrase countless times. When our governor’s daughter wore a Native American headdress as a prop, I didn’t think it was cute. But I was told I was being too sensitive for finding it offensive– that the cultural appropriation was being blown out of proportion. She later offered a pseudo- apology by stating, “Please forgive us if we innocently adorn ourselves in your beautiful things. We do so with the deepest respect.” She then went on to mock protesters at a local music festival by performing a tribal dance. If anyone is making a larger problem out of things, it is Miss Fallin for not simply apologizing. When you, of your dominant privilege, choose to wear a headdress just because you think it looks “beautiful”, it is your responsibility as a person of privilege to recognize and understand that this was offensive to Native American culture. Why do your feelings trump their feelings on the matter? You are trivializing the significance of something they hold sacred just for the sake of a photo shoot.
Do we draw the “PC” line somewhere? Sure. This just unfortunately isn’t one of those times. When a marginalized group’s culture gets picked through and meaningful parts of their culture are plucked only to be exploited, I think it is time to step back and recognize your position of power. Please, admire the headdress. Just admire it from a distance. As in, not on your head. Learn about it. There is power in knowledge, something I believe Christina could stand to gain. And before you dismiss someone for being “too sensitive”, maybe listen to their reasons. Maybe it isn’t just about sensitive. Maybe it is about respect for other human beings.