Thursday, 11 October 2018

Melania Trump Responds To Criticism About Her 'Colonial' Hat In Africa

After being criticized for her choice of head wear in Africa, Melania Trump told reporters she wants people to "focus on what I do, not what I wear."

The first lady had media buzzing (and social media on fire) when she stepped out in front of the press Friday in Kenya, wearing khaki jodhpur pants, tall leather riding boots and a crisp white shirt. She looked exquisite, as she often does.
Melania Trump Responds To Criticism About Her 'Colonial' Hat In Africa
But then on the guided safari, Trump added a white pith helmet. The hat is what got the public in an uproar.

The white pith hat was widely used by European military throughout Africa and in India and became a popular sun hat for civilian Europeans visiting or living in colonies in the 1930s.

The Washington Post reports pith helmets are worn today by motorcycle taxi drivers in Hanoi, as well as police officers in Cameroon and Peru. U.S. postal workers also wear them as part of their uniform. The hat's rounded design tends to keep the head cool.

But the white pith hat has a particular significance. On Twitter, Matt Carotenuto, a historian and coordinator of African Studies at St. Lawrence University in New York, compared the hat choice to "(showing) up on an Alabama cotton farm in a confederate uniform." He also said Trump furthered the stereotype of a white tourist in Africa with elephants, orphans and the hat.
The Post mentioned that in January 2016, actress Thandie Newton, known for her role on "Westworld," was at Starbucks when she spotted a statuette of a black boy wearing a pith helmet and loincloth and holding a bowl of coffee beans. "Seriously @Starbucks?" she wrote on Twitter. "Happy New Year circa 19th century."
Melania Trump Responds To Criticism About Her 'Colonial' Hat In Africa
The company immediately removed the figurine and apologized.
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