There’s no better time to signal your virtue than during Halloween. As colleges across North America are declaring Halloween costumes to be varying degrees of problematic—ranging from sexist and transphobic to racist—one term keeps popping up: “cultural appropriation.” And it’s a word that’s entered the mouth of actor Chris Hemsworth, best known for his role as Marvel’s Thor in the Avengers series of films.
Hemsworth posted a picture on Instagram in solidarity with the Dakota pipeline protest, which recently saw the arrest of Divergent actress Shailene Woodley. Instead of simply expressing his support of the Sioux tribe at Standing Rock, Hemsworth figured it’d be a good time to double up and show the world how woke he is by apologizing for something he did that nobody, save for a few easily offended people, cared about.
He wrote: “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.”
As if every Native American was somehow hurt by him dressing up in an outfit. I can’t speak for them, but it’s doubtful that anyone even noticed.
Given his apology, there’s no doubt that he meant any malice in playing dress-up, so it boggles the mind as to why he’s so remorseful about it. He’s either drank way too much kool-aid and is paying far too much attention to his fans, or he wants to show the world how much of a good guy he is by spreading awareness of the grave sin of cultural appropriation. Either way, it’s ridiculous to apologize for a non-issue.
Earlier this year, social justice warriors were outraged after the Orange Prize winning author Lionel Shriver mocked the concept of cultural appropriation. And she was right: there are far bigger issues to worry about than accidentally offending hypersensitive people by wearing ethnic get-up or eating sushi.