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About Last Night’s Party (Halloweekend)

To the girl who was wearing a “Native American” costume, who proved to be not at all Native American, who mockingly tapped her hand against mouth and when asked what kind she was, she replied, “I’m the casino kind, not the 7/11 kind”.

To the boy with open hostility to me, harassing me about “who I knew” in his fraternity, no matter what I said to him, who tried to force me to leave because he thought I was “so smug because I was a senior” and “didn’t I know who bought the alcohol and paid for this house” so he could tell me to leave whenever he wants since apparently he was the only one paid for everything and he can decide if I’m good enough.

To the boy who told my friend, who is Indian, that she was the “spice of his life” as we were outside trying to leave and she jokingly pushed back as to why he would say that to her and then he repeated it. Who then, as we walked away, turned to the guys with him and said “what a f***ing slut”, and when I turned around to call him out, another guy from a window called her a “f***ing slut” too.

To the guy that walked over to try and placate us and tell us that the guy who said such awful things was just a freshman and they would kick him out, who told me to “relax” and “just brush it off”, I have something to say.

Women always have to brush off blatant sexism, how dare you. Don’t belittle me standing up for others because you don’t want a scene at your party. Problems like this will stop if guys like you speak up and support us. 

Do not belittle a culture into a costume and then perpetuate racist stereotypes about them. Native American tribes have faced so many obstacles, both in the past and to this day. Your outfit disgraces the unique and honored meanings behind traditional clothing, which is unique to each tribe and rarely looks like what you’re wearing as a costume. And your joke about what “kind” you are treats all of the challenges and pain that Native Americans deal with like they’re meaningless, while also perpetuating racist stereotypes about Indians. You know you wouldn’t say that joke in front of someone if you knew they were Native American, so why are you saying it now? Native American people don’t look one particular way, you could never know if they were right there at the party. And even if they weren’t, even if you didn’t make someone grapple with that insult all night, I heard it. And I won’t let attitudes like this be deemed okay.

And boys, you can’t decide my worth. You can try, but you don’t get to decide if I’m good enough or how worthy I am because of my relation to another guy you know. You don’t get to guilt me for actions you chose like hosting a party or paying for alcohol. I’m not the physical compensation for you paid for to make the party happen. Women aren’t a tradeoff in a business exchange, we’re people.

You also don’t get to sexualize and antagonize my friends ever. Ever. Or anyone for that matter. I could go into how she wasn’t even doing anything sexual or wearing something “sexual”, but I won’t because I don’t care what she was doing or what she was wearing, it’s not your place and I’m tired of people like you thinking it is. Leave us alone, stop using words like “slut” and “whore” to demean us in any situation. And stop enforcing the idea that a woman who enjoys sex is bad, especially when you are often the one pursuing us to have sex with you.

I’m exhausted by the sexism, discrimination and racism I saw and experienced in those two hours, now imagine how people feel when this happens their whole lives.

And I am furious because this kind of behavior still exists at Lehigh and it was challenged by almost no one. We still don’t stand up against such unacceptable actions and mentalities. And I am sad, because I can’t believe that this is the legacy we are still leaving behind as Lehigh students. With our actions and lack of action we are failing our professors, the Bethlehem community, women, racial minorities and so many others; we are failing each other by not making our university a better, safer space.

I know I don’t want this to be how we leave our school behind. I hope you don’t either.

I hope next time people dare to speak up.

Photo Source 1/2/3

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