• Fri, Mar 14 - 3:44 pm ET

The 14 Most Absurd Twitter Responses To Harry Styles Being Called Racist

Harry Styles Native American headdress photo March 2014A funny thing happened on the world wide web today – Harry Styles changed his profile picture on Twitter to a photo of himself wearing a Native American headdress, and suddenly the internet imploded.

First it imploded with a bunch of people asking him to take it down, because they felt it was an appropriation of the Native American culture. And while there were some rude responses sprinkled in there, for the most part, it was people very politely asking that he select another photo. Some people did throw out the word ‘racist’, but regardless, they were largely calm, measured responses just basically being like, “Dude, not cool, please take it down and think it over in the future.”

It happened enough times that Harry went ahead and took it down. (Probably a good move, if you ask me.) But then came the second implosion – fans who were extraordinarily pissed at the implication that Harry could be anything but perfect. And these are Directioners, so you know they’re not skimping on the caps or the invectives. Let’s take a look at my favorite of the completely absurd responses.

Okay this one’s actually kind of funny. Obviously there’s a much different context, and no historical significance for the appropriation of costume elements that are traditionally American, but h/t for the sense of humor, at least.

Apparently you don’t read Crushable.

Should we check on Harry? Only two of those is actually a word, and that’s an extremely limited vocabulary.

 So cute people can’t be racially insensitive? Nobody better tell Julianne Hough!

That is actually a really excellent reason to apologize to a dog.

Okay but don’t…do that. Now you’re just threatening violence on people who are sharing their opinion.

I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that’s not how Twitter usernames work. Or underscores.

The only thing I do faster than calling muslin a terrorist is calling cotton a Socialist.

 In fact you did. I just love this phrasing.

So casual! Maybe you should have texted this to him if you guys are on such close terms.

…yes. Yes, I think that’s right. You’ve solved it.

RUBBER DUCK LIKE WHAT? I’m on the edge of my seat here, Cora.

Is anyone else as tickled by the phrase ‘Native American hat’ as I am?

Toot? Twat? What am I looking at?

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  • CMJ

    Those fucking muslins. They will attack all the dress forms.

    http://i.perezhilton.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/giphy(6).gif

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      I’m not a racist just because I hate all fabrics regardless of their color, OKAY?!?

    • CMJ

      Muslin is white so it is inherently RACIST.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      DON’T START WITH ME.

  • Daisy

    Some of those ‘directioners’ are honestly ridiculous, but I’m glad that there were others who are aware of cultural appropriation. And I’m also glad he changed the picture fast, after seeing the comments, and didn’t act like a victim (yes, I’m looking at you, Liam. I didn’t forget that fit you threw because of Duck Dinasty). Like I’ve seeing people saying before, he’s not a bad person, it was ignorance, he probably learned from this. Too bad most of his fans can’t do the same.

    • Daisy

      So many spelling mistakes, wow. Sorry.

    • Mel_B

      What appropriation? He wore a feather head wrap! How is that in any way racist?!

  • Lara

    As obviously ridiculous as these responses are, those fans are a scary bunch because they’re so incredibly vocal and they represent the attitude that “if you’re a fan of someone you have to agree with everything they do because they can do no wrong”. Which is why I’m so glad that he actually deleted the photo after others called him out instead of letting this more vocal side coddle him. UK/European education doesn’t really cover Native American culture so honest ignorance can only be rectified by being informed that you did something wrong – which is what happened. He definitely seems like a sweet, kind guy who tries to do well
    and be a good person, but that’s exactly the point – racism is so
    institutionalised and cultural appropriation is so widely quietly accepted that
    kind, sweet, good people will make these kinds of mistakes.

  • Elizabeth Aspen

    Why is putting a headress on your head considered “racist”? Jesus, the PC people are so nuts.

    • Sri

      People (not just me, but others, too) have explained this to you multiple times. Pretty much every time a headdress story comes up. It’s clear, at this point, that you don’t want to actually know. You really want to complain about the PC people without saying outright that you think that white people wearing a marginalized culture as a costume is fine and dandy.

      For a lot of cultures that wore headdresses, the feathers were won for honorable deeds and the headdress was only to be worn for formal occasions. A white guy, who has never had to deal with the discrimination that comes along with being a Native American, comes along and decides to put on a headdress for a fun picture. He gets to wear the “cool” stuff without having to understand the history behind it or it’s symbolic meaning. It’s racially insensitive at the very least.

      Inb4 why are there headdresses for sale, then: capitalism. When you take a group of people, push them to a tiny scrap of land, don’t compensate them accordingly for said land, and then isolate them, there aren’t a whole lot of jobs to go around. Within an hour commute, some of my family members had the choice of casino, gas station, or headdress manufacturing as a way to make money. They hated doing it, but they had to make money.

    • itpainsme2say

      Just a question because I have always wanted a headdress but I’m white. If i respect the heritage and the struggle can I wear one to a special event out of a love for culturally unique dress. I also wear Japanese and Indian garb out of a love for culture am I wrong. I am honestly just wondering not trying to troll. Is there anyway for me to justify wearing a headdress

    • guest

      that’s interesting question for me !

    • Ella Lohan

      I say go ahead and wear it, forget what those PC freaks have to say.

    • Ella Lohan

      Right on!

  • Valerie

    Alexis-you truly crack me up with your writing. I always look forward to your articles. That is all. :-)

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Thank you so much, Valerie! Really appreciate it!

  • harrys not a racist!!!

    He’s not a racist!!! Ok so every who said he is fuck off he never intended as racist he made it as a joke ok so calm down

    • Lara

      Nobody is claiming he is ‘a racist’. I’m sure he isn’t. Cultural appropriation IS racist. It’s not a joke to the people who really matter here: Native Americans. A lot of great and lovely people do racist things without realising how problematic they are and without intending to hurt anyone, that’s the problem. When someone with almost 20 million followers does it then it’s important that people point out it’s wrong instead of celebrating it and idolizing him. Remember David Wong’s quote: ‘There are two ways to dehumanize someone: by dismissing them, and by idolizing them.’ He was humble enough to listen to the fans who called him out on it. He is intelligent enough to get educated. He seems kind enough to understand the problem. Don’t coddle him. He is human. Humans make mistakes. It doesn’t matter if you personally think it was wrong, it’s not your call to make.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      This is great!

    • Lara

      Thank you…!

    • CMJ

      Methinks you missed the point.

    • Valerie

      Focus harder in English class so your knowledge of punctuation is stronger than your knowledge of One Direction. Just sayin.

  • Mel_B

    So I guess all the little kids who dress up as Native Americans for Halloween are also racists.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Perhaps, or perhaps their parents are just racially insensitive and unaware of or unsympathetic to the genuine issues that are repeatedly raised on the issue of cultural appropriation.

    • Mel_B

      Or maybe kids think Native Americans are cool. As they should. Because they are. I also think they’re cool. If my kid wanted to dress as a Native American I wouldn’t mind. That doesn’t make me racist.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Maybe not, but it does make you ill-informed and a little willfully ignorant.

    • Moira

      If you think they’re that cool then you should probably respect them a small amount and not use their sacred item as a quirky accessory or halloween costume.

    • Lackadaisical

      The question is not whether you think Native American’s are cool when you put your kid in the costume but whether Native American’s find it cool to see kids dressed in their traditional clothes (or worse, an over stylised form of them that would never have been worn) as a costume, which some people feels turns their entire cultural identity into a gimmick or an amusing character.

      Cultural appropriation can be a complicated issue as how offensive a costume is can depend on how much oppression or hostility a culture has suffered at the hands of the wearer and whether people of that culture still suffer from racism or oppression today. If you put on a bowler hat and carried a cup of tea or dressed as a Saxon then a British person like me wouldn’t give a monkeys as we haven’t suffered oppression or racism from you or anyone else. If I dressed in a stripy t-shirt, beret and onions around my neck then a French person wouldn’t be as upset or offended as someone who has suffered racism or oppression, Joan of Arc and Agincourt were a long time ago, but it is a caricature of French costume rather than French costume and the English have a long history of being rather mocking to the French (and the French have a long history of being mocking to the English) so a French person would fairly judge me to be an insensitive idiot. If a person who may not have personally been racist but is of a race or culture where a lot of people have been racist to another culture or race then dressing up as them can be rather offensive.

  • Ella Lohan

    Yeesh, and in China they push their qipaos on you to wear. Why are we more interested in calling out people for imagined ‘racism’ than in building bridges? People have found these native headdresses impressive for centuries. Why not find common dialogue with them rather than always be fighting?

  • Psych Student

    Um, I apologize to dogs and cats when I step on them too, but that doesn’t prevent me from having racist thoughts and reactions to things (ex. reflexively gripping my bike tighter as I walked past an African American gentleman – damn, I’m still mad at myself for that one!!)