Racist 21st Birthday Party Gleefully Documented on Facebook (Participation)

Racist 21st Birthday Party Gleefully Documented on Facebook

A young white Australian woman turned 21 and decided to have an “African” themed birthday party. After the festivities, she posted photos to Facebook. Ignorance, insensitivity and racism ahoy!

As Heben Nigatu writes on Buzzfeed, Tumblr user Black in Asia posted the shots, incredulous: The girl posted the pictures proudly and flatly refused to take them down when confronted by another individual about how they were racist apparently. Pictures were reported to facebook weeks ago and they still have not been taken down The elephant is okay. Gorilla? Fine. If you must. Everything else is revolting and offensive. (WTF with the KKK getup? WHY.)

Racist 21st Birthday Party Gleefully Documented on Facebook

Racist 21st Birthday Party Gleefully Documented on Facebook

Racist 21st Birthday Party Gleefully Documented on Facebook

Racist 21st Birthday Party Gleefully Documented on Facebook1

Africa is HUGE, a vast continent. Large enough that you could fit the United States, China, India and Eastern Europe inside of it and have space leftover.

Racist 21st Birthday Party Gleefully Documented on FacebookExpand

Are there jungles? Yes. But there are also bustling metropolises. Downtown Lagos, Johannesburg, Cairo. There are eight million people in New York; there are nine million in Kinshasa (11 million in Lagos). Dressing up in cheetah skin and beads in order to look “African” reduces an entire continent — which contains 54 countries, including Arabic-speaking countries like Morocco, Egypt and Libya — to a horrible stereotype of a “native.” An image pervasive in a less-enlightened age, one we supposedly left behind decades ago. And yet! These images depict smiling white people painted brown, wearing Hollywood-style Tarzan clothes, as well as weird face paint. Worse, the young woman took to Tumblr and posted an explanation of sorts (which has since been deleted):

Okay don’t even know how to use tumblr but wanted to clarify this.

It was my ‘African themed’ party and it was honestly made that theme because I have always wanted to go to Africa (to teach english) but haven’t made it there yet. In no way was this party intended to hurt anyones feelings or upset anyone at all. In fact as you can tell from the photos I dressed up as cleopatra, whilst MAJORITY of my guests came as animals, that can be found in africa or wore traditional african clothes or even dressed up as famous people who come from africa. If anything this was to celebrate the amazing country and people. However, some guest did decide to paint themselves, although this was in no way my intention or encouraged in the slightest. I understand that this has offended some people and I have no idea how these photos have even been seen, they were simply put on facebook for my guests to see the photos of themselves. I am 100% sure that parties would be held that would be ‘Australian themed’ or American themed or even countries of the world, and in that instance I don’t believe anyone would be offended. People wear oktoberfest cotumes to parties and no one cracks it that they are not German? So what I am saying is I do understand the people who have painted themselves have offended people, although none of them intended that…. but how can people be annoyed that the majority of the people at the party were celebrating another countries culture. Also one of my friends who is Mauritian painted himself white, but that photos didn’t make it to this page along with the MAJORITY of people who were amazingly detailed costumes that no one could take offense to!! I am sure that not one person at my party felt upset that said guest painted himself white as it was not meant in that way at all. Also, I have NEVER been asked to take these photos down, however if I had of course I would have done so, as I had no idea that anyone other than friends and guests could see these photos, and to be honest I am not a racist person at all so I didn’t think anyone could possibly take it that way. I intend to spend 2 months teaching english in cambodia in January, and cant wait to do the same in Africa. If you will still have me. To reiterate, I was cleopatra and did not encourage my guest to wear anything racist simply to come as something African Inspired, much like if you went to an australia day party (Which I am 100% sure people of all races and cultures do every year!!!) Again I am sorry for those I have offended and the photos have now been removed now that I have eventually been made aware people were upset. For those who know me at all you would know the last thing in the world I would want to do would be to offend people.

A FEW THOUGHTS:

1. This is NOT the same as wearing Oktoberfest costumes because that is a specific holiday and country, not an ENTIRE CONTINENT of people, many of whom were routinely enslaved, colonized and oppressed by white people for centuries.

2. AFRICA IS NOT A COUNTRY.

3. You’re 21 and you can’t spell.

4. God help Cambodia.

For her birthday, this woman is getting a talking-to from the internet. Many happy returns!

I hope she actually does get to go travel to some African countries, to be honest. Fighting ignorance with education is the only hope we have.

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6 thoughts on “Racist 21st Birthday Party Gleefully Documented on Facebook (Participation)

  1. Reading this article and reading the comment from the women who posted the pictures and after looking at the pictures, I have mixed feelings. Personally the people who dressed up as a member of the KKK or painted themselves should be the one targeted not necessarily her. It was not her intention obviously to make it racist themed… showing as she dressed as Cleopatra… which however people could take offensively. I think that maybe on her invitations she should have made it clear that no racial costumes were allowed. Also, she said most people came as animals but the only pictures that seemed to be posted were the ones of people who were in questionable costumes. To me, it is both the faults of the Australian woman and the people who wore the costumes. And she does make a point however, that people have American themed parties and toga parties, which Greeks could take offense too. I think is depends on the intensity of the costume and the atmosphere, and yes you may personally not see anything wrong with the party but posting these pictures on social media that become public for everyone in the world to see was the wrong decision. If she really wanted to post the pictures for the party goers to see them, there is an option for a private album so that only the people she selects on Facebook can see them and it is private for everyone else. Personally, if I had a party to a theme that may be controversial then I would not post the pictures of if people came in offensive, questionable costumes I would ask them to change or leave if that was not my intention. At this point, after it already being an issue with the amount of people that saw the pictures, she should take the pictures down. She doesn’t need to say anything much more, but just taking them down and maybe she realizes that they shouldn’t have been posted to a social media site and maybe a private album or email instead? Better decisions could have been made on her part to avoid this controversy if she claims to not be racist.

  2. Even if it was not her intention to offend anyone, she should have known better than to put those pictures up on the Internet. Everyone always says even if you delete something on the Internet it is always still there. Even though she has deleted the pictures, after several people have told her to take them down may I add, the story and the images are still floating around. In these times, we have to be more conscious and cautious of what we upload to the Internet, because what we do may affect our future. The individuals that dressed up for the party ultimately stereotyped the continent of Africa to a small group of individuals living there. Like the final thought said, Africa is not a country but is made up of several countries, and it is ignorant to define such a large area with many inhabitants by only a few small groups. Even there interpretation of those small groups were horribly misrepresented and racist. In some of the pictures it looked like there were even older individuals, parents almost, that were dressed in the same racist manner. It will be interesting to see if this event and all the exposure it has gotten, buzzfeed and other news websites (after I did a quick search), will hinder her chances of traveling to other countries to teach English as she stated in her tumblr post or if she ruined her plans with one birthday party.

  3. Having a party like this one, or any other type of degrading and racist themed party is just asking to get attention. Even after being publicly bashed for her ignorance the girl who held the party still wouldn’t take down the pictures. This girl loving the attention that is being paid to her party is sickening and pathetic. The fact that she didn’t think her pictures would be seen by the world when they were posted on the internet is concerning. When people host parties like this it will come back to haunt them later on in life when it comes to finding a job. Dressing up as the KKK has absolutely nothing to do with Africa and it is sad how these people would think it’s funny. There should also be attention brought to all of the people who dressed up and contributed to this theme. Even though it was the girl who hosted the party and posted the picture it makes a huge difference that people dressed up and made this theme even more degrading.

  4. I think sometimes the worst part of these situations is that when called out on being racist and discriminatory the accused never seems to understand how serious it is. This girl goes on a rant about how she wants to visit Africa so that’s why she had everyone dress up like that, which is really not a valid or logical excuse. They seem to think that there are situations where it is okay to be racist since they may “want to visit there”. The fact that they think there are situations in which it is okay to be racist is ridiculous. We see this in a lot of other situations that are presented in lecture from Paula Dean, where people justify that it was okay that she said those comments, to parties where the theme encourages racism and mockery. People need to understand that it is never okay to participate in these offense behaviors and these “excuses” don’t justify them.

  5. This is another example of someone having a downfall because of social media. Of course that is not the main issue here but it certainly plays a big role in this case. She received a lot of heat for the pictures and party but even though she deleted them the damage had already been done.
    My problem is there are SO many possibilities that she could have chosen for a party theme and she picked a pretty controversial topic. Granted, she did not dress up as a KKK member or do some of the other racist things that her party guest did, but the theme should have been thought out a little more.
    In a way I am split on this topic. On the one hand, it is incredibly racist to generalize a huge continent and post pictures of your very racist friends. And on the other hand on her part there was not that much wrongdoing. The party could have gone smoothly if her friends would have been appropriate and I truly do not think she meant to hurt anyone judging by her Tumblr response to criticism. Obviously she is a very good person if she wants to teach English in a foreign country and if that is true good for her. She cannot control her guest costumes but she could have said, “Hey please be courteous with your costumes” or something like that in her invitations.
    In the end, the 21 year old thought she was having a harmless birthday party until she showed up everywhere on the internet for the wrong reasons. I feel bad for her but obviously she needs to find new friends.

    • I think you’re making excuses for her. You have no idea what kind of person she is and her intentions don’t matter. She obviously wasnt bothered by her guests as she posted pictures of the many racist costumes she claimed not to support. She obviously gave no thought to how her pictures would be percieved by the general public. At best her actions were inconsiderate and ignorant regardless of her intentions and she should be treated as such. Is it really so hard to acknowledge that someone can be ignorant and not make excuses for them? Who does that help in this situation? Certainly not the people offended. Innocent intentions aside the fact is a grown woman thought it was appropriate to throw a potentially offensive party and when it indeed did get offensive, she still somehow justified posting pictures of the racist costumes and thought the excuse that it was all in good fun was reasonable enough to dispel the controversy. The fact that she made an excuse shows she knew it was wrong and is trying to remove blame from herself which is exactly what we do when we play along and accept this reasoning as valid.

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