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White people: Learn from Thor.
On Instagram, actor Chris Hemsworth posted a photo of himself in his Thor costume, standing with Taika Waititi and holding a sign in support of the Standing Rock protests. “Standing with those who are fighting to protect their sacred land and water,” wrote Hemsworth. But in the caption, he took a moment to apologize for his past racial insensitivities.
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
Hemsworth continued by saying he was at a New Year’s party last year with a “Lone Ranger” theme, and he and many other guests dressed up as 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.”
Lots of people are thanking Hemsworth for his honest apology, something that many celebrities called out for racist behavior never give.
Everyone makes mistakes out of ignorance, and nobody expects anyone to be perfectly unproblematic their entire lives. But what is expected, and what Hemsworth demonstrates, is a willingness to acknowledge mistakes, apologize, learn, and do better. That’s the minimum we should expect from anyone. The Thor costume doesn’t hurt, though.
Jaya Saxena is a lifestyle writer and editor whose work focuses primarily on women's issues and web culture. Her writing has appeared in GQ, ELLE, the Toast, the New Yorker, Tthe Hairpin, BuzzFeed, Racked, Eater, Catapult, and others. She is the co-author of 'Dad Magazine,' the author of 'The Book Of Lost Recipes,' and the co-author of 'Basic Witches.'