‘Thor’s’ Chris Hemsworth Picked A Great Time To Denounce Cultural Appropriation

10.28.16 1 month ago

Subscribe to UPROXX

It's that time of year again. Grown adults will be out for Halloween in costumes of a questionable nature when it comes to race. Perhaps Chris Hemsworth, who just wrapped filming on Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok, can educate some of them on why cultural appropriation is bad.

Yesterday, Taika Waititi, Tessa Thompson, Hemsworth and the crew of Thor: Ragnarok did a Facebook Live video to give fans a small look at their last day on set. A very tiny bit of interesting info was given out (sister site Uproxx has more on that), but afterward Hemsworth posted this on Instagram.

Standing with those who are fighting to protect their sacred land and water. #nodapl #waterislife #mniwiconi @taikawaititi I would also like to take this opportunity to raise something that has been bothering me for sometime. Last New Year's Eve I was at a “Lone Ranger” themed party where some of us, myself included, wore the traditional dress of First Nations people. I was stupidly unaware of the offence this may have caused and the sensitivity around this issue. I sincerely and unreservedly apologise to all First Nations people for this thoughtless action. I now appreciate that there is a great need for a deeper understanding of the complex and extensive issues facing indigenous communities. I hope that in highlighting my own ignorance I can help in some small way.

A photo posted by Chris Hemsworth (@chrishemsworth) on Oct 27, 2016 at 6:49pm PDT

Standing with those who are fighting to protect their sacred land and water. #nodapl #waterislife #mniwiconi @taikawaititi I would also like to take this opportunity to raise something that has been bothering me for sometime. Last New Year's Eve I was at a “Lone Ranger” themed party where some of us, myself included, wore the traditional dress of First Nations people. I was stupidly unaware of the offence this may have caused and the sensitivity around this issue. I sincerely and unreservedly apologise to all First Nations people for this thoughtless action. I now appreciate that there is a great need for a deeper understanding of the complex and extensive issues facing indigenous communities. I hope that in highlighting my own ignorance I can help in some small way.

Hemsworth is referencing both the current protests going on over the Dakota Access oil pipeline (which has been going on for a while) as well as the annual “tradition” of folks dressing as other cultures for Halloween. As explained by LakotaChildren.org cultural appropriation is:

In a nutshell, it is the use of icons, rituals, aesthetic standards, regalia, or behavior from one culture by another. The person appropriating often has no knowledge of the significance of the icons or regalia or any understanding of the significance or history behind the cultural traditions.

Remember when some Ohio University students put together the awareness campaign, “We're a Culture, Not a Costume?” Well, people need to be reminded of it every year because people still think things like blackface or Native American or First Nations headdresses are costumes. Many others have taken up the call as well.

And some new additions have been made considering current events:

I can't be sure what sparked Hemsworth's revelation, but I'd be willing to bet it could have been conversations with Waititi and perhaps other members of the Thor: Ragnarok cast and crew. Waititi is of Maori descent – the indigenous culture of New Zealand – a group which also went through a violent colonization period and who still face discrimination. Much like their Aboriginal neighbors in Australia. Sometimes all it takes is an open and honest discussion.

I'm so happy Hemsworth put this out there, as he's a huge star who many look up to. But we as a society shouldn't ignore that people of cultures being appropriated for “fun” have been discussing these issues at length for many years and been ignored or worse. You may not agree with being sensitive or considerate when it comes to others' cultures, but as Hemsworth put it, it's worthy of a discussion: “I now appreciate that there is a great need for a deeper understanding of the complex and extensive issues facing indigenous communities. I hope that in highlighting my own ignorance I can help in some small way.”

Around The Web