A Mom Was Called A 'Racist' For Dressing Daughter As Geisha For Japanese-Themed Birthday Party

Photo: The Gala Gals
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A commenter for Japan had a totally different take.

One Utah mom sparked a huge debate when she decided to throw a Japanese-themed birthday party for her daughter, Caitlyn, and post about it on her blog, The Gala Girls. 

Patty originally found the idea for a Japanese tea party in an article in Parents Magazine was inspired to plan her own. She took a single tree branch and decorated it with tissue-paper pink blossoms for that "perfect Japanese feel," had her daughter and her guests sit around a cardboard box table in "Asian style seating," and had edible cookie chopsticks for dessert. 

The girls also made DIY kimonos, tried out some origami and dressed up like geishas for a photo shoot.

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While Patty, Caitlyn and their guests didn't see anything wrong with the party, some people did. Though the party was thrown in 2012, the blog post was just recently shared on Tumblr, and a few commenters accused the mom of encouraging racism. 

"Teach children this is not okay," one commenter wrote, also saying that cultural appropriation isn't okay. 

However, another commenter quickly jumped on to say that culture appropriation isn't "a thing," and that all cultures should be shared and appreciated. 

The main thing they were arguing about was the child's geisha makeup. 

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"The makeup is clearly reflective of traditional Geisha makeup, which is yellowface and therefore racist," the commenter wrote. "Furthermore, the girl is wearing a kimono, a garment that has for ages carried cultural significance. Assuming she is white, how can you think this is ok? And cultural appropriation isn't a thing? What rock do you live under? I suggest you educate yourself on the difference between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation."

The difference between the two has been a huge topic of debate for years, with no one definition seeming to rise above the others. However, one Japanese commenter — who was in Japan at the time of writing the comment — is being praised for the way they explained it. 


"A vast majority of Japanese people actually enjoy other people making an effort to spread and enjoy Japanese culture, and encourage it" they wrote. "Many make businesses deliberately taking pictures of people in kimono." 

"The picture is not 'yellow face,' they are not making fun of Asians. In fact, it looks like they put extra care and research into their work. The only reason you have a problem with this is because that little girl is white, and you know that it is acceptable on Tumblr to crap all over white people. The only racist here is you,"

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Dozens of people applauded the person for essentially "shutting down" the argument. One wrote that kids shouldn't be accused of being racists because they just imitate what they see, and another said that culture needs to be shared in order to be appreciated. 

What do you think? 

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