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October 31 2016

How did Hillary Duff’s Costume Become Target for a Pipeline Protest?

Patrice L. Onwuka

Hillary Duff, one of the rare Republicans in the entertainment world, is in hot water this Halloween morning for being a Pilgrim alongside her boyfriend who was dressed as –gasp- an Indian. Not only did they offend Native Americans, but apparently they are insensitive to protesters of a South Dakota pipeline.

When hitting up a Beverly Hills party this weekend, the former teen star donned a short sexy Pilgrim costume complete with nude stockings and a flat topped pilgrim's hat.  She even toted a woven basket full of corn, pumpkins, and veggies. (For what it’s worth, she was completely covered from thighs to her neck. She just showed some leg.)

While her costume might not meet standards of the original Puritans, it wasn’t the sexiness of her outfit that drew ire but that of her boyfriend, who wore a red and white feathered headdress complete with red face paint and Indian-inspired shirt and pants.

Twitter didn’t think the two were welcoming fall’s bounty and the coming Thanksgiving season, which brought peace between natives and settlers, in the appropriate manner. Instead, they were called out for appropriating the Native American culture:

Liberals all over Twitter were shocked about the costumes Duff and her boyfriend wore to a Halloween party Saturday night. Brittnany Packnett, a black activist who has endorsed Hillary Clinton, tweeted out a photo of the couple and wrote, “WHITE FOLKS, GET YOUR PEOPLE.”

Another tweet included by Twitter was, “Cool pic of Hillary Duff and her boyfriend dressing up for Halloween as ‘What White People Thought Was Appropriate in the 1950’s.'” Twitter included no Tweets in their moments article that disputed the notion that dressing up as a Native American and a pilgrim for Halloween is offensive.

Duff was quick to apologize in a tweet:

I am SO sorry to people I offended with my costume. It was not properly thought through and I am truly, from the bottom of my sorry.

Duff and her boyfriend have every right, however, to wear Pilgrim and Native American costumes.  

The idea of cultural appropriation has picked up steam over the past few years as a tool to silence freedom of speech and displace cultural appreciation. Just because someone gets offended doesn’t mean it’s a crime. In addition, what is perceived as offensive is purely subjective –changing from generation to generation.

The Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech, not freedom from offence. For example, while the Supreme Court has not taken on offensive costumes, an appellate court invalidated a university’s sanctions against fraternity students for offensive costumes that included black face at a party (Iota Xi Chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity v. George Mason University). The costumes and behavior was odious, but didn’t warrant a crackdown by the university.

What’s most strange about Duff’s faux pas though is how the PC trolls used their costumes to highlight the standoff between police and protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Huh?

Many on Twitter were offended in light of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The standoff over the Dakota Access Pipeline is heating up. This week law enforcement raided a protest camp and arrested 141 people on Thursday. Protesters maintain the pipeline threatens water resources and will destroy sacred Native American sites. The Standing Rock Sioux Native American tribe is suing to stop the pipeline from crossing next to their reservation, according to USA TODAY.

The protesters argue that the pipeline will destroy Native American sites. What a way to use an innocent opportunity for political ends!

Native Americans may face many economic woes today--Halloween costumes aren't among them.

Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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