Costume causes controversy

Luke Garcia, Staff Writer

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Controversy has been circulating about a costume of a Polynesian character, Maui, from Disney’s upcoming movie, Moana.  When a Polynesian and native Hawaiian Chelsie Haunani Fairchild saw this, she was offended and disgusted.  She then filed a complained to Disney and claimed that the costume was cultural appropriation, racist, and disgusting, and that it is wrong for children to pretend to be another race.  I believe that she made a mistake in doing so, and what she is doing is wrong.

Personally, I think that considering that costume is cultural appropriation is a huge stretch and a jump to conclusions.  Now, I do understand how it may be offending for such an important part of her culture to be on a children’s outfit, but it represents a character that is from a movie that was designed to respect the cultures of Pacific Islanders.  Even if they do have a deep meaning, no harm was done intentionally, and they will not actually affect people’s reaction towards Pacific Islanders.  Second, there was really nothing they could do.  People are saying that “Brown skin is not a costume”.  That’s how a character looks, and then that’s how it’s going to be designed.  In my opinion, it would have been less accurate to depict Maui in the movie without tattoos and specific skin color, and it would have been strange if they had removed and/or different in the costume.

She also claims that it would be wrong since it would be pretending to be of another race. Would it be wrong if an Asian such as me dressed up as an American superhero?  No, it wouldn’t be wrong.  That is simply dressing up as a character that someone likes, and the same goes for anyone who wears the costume of Maui. Better yet, no one complains when someone is wearing a Pilgrim or a Native American costume.  If anything, it could be that they are respecting their culture by wearing it.  Instead of saying that the costume is racist, maybe she could have said that people have to be careful not to disrespect her culture while wearing the costume, instead of accusing the creators of racism.

This has also caused an eruption on social media, with many posts saying that they are very offended, similar to how Chelsie reacted.  From what I have seen, they are no more defendable than Chelsie’s claims.  While Disney may not lose a lot of money from the discontinuation of the costumes, this will definitely affect the rating and how much money they earn by a lot, and it wasn’t even their fault as stated before.

I believe that the claims jump to conclusion and that they were untrue, because the creators meant no harm and designed the costume the way it is in the movie, and in some cases, real life.  Since it has already been discontinued, nothing should really been done, but it would have been better if it never was, and I believe there should be more awareness of that fact, as no harm was intended.

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Costume causes controversy