Kevin Hart and his wife, Eniko Parrish, came under fire this weekend for throwing their son a "cowboys and Indians" themed birthday party.
Parrish posted a photo of the festivities on Instagram. It showed a crowd of people in patterned blankets, cowboy hats and bandanas. While the concept is an old and popular one amongst American kids, many fans thought it was a tone-deaf move in 2018.
"Zo's cowboys [and] Indians party was nothing but amazing!" she wrote in the caption. "Thanks to everyone for coming. We love you guys!"
Parrish and Hart's son, Kenzo Kash, celebrated his first birthday at the party. Fans dropped into the comments to scold both parents for cultural appropriation, and worse. As some pointed out, the slow march west for "manifest destiny" in America represented one of the worst genocides in human history, as 100 million indigenous people were killed during European colonization, reducing their population by 90%.
"Imagine being so woefully out of touch, that one marginalized group appropriates another," one person wrote.
"So ignorant it hurts," wrote another. "Learn your history!"
Naturally, there were many people shouting back at the complaints as well. People wrote long paragraphs about "over-sensitivity" and "snowflakes," chalking it up to a generational divide rather than an ethnic or racial one.
"What the hell is happening, I'm glad I lived a childhood where children could dress up in what they wanted," someone wrote. "Now people get offended by everything, ruin everything for everyone... Nice."
"You could've had a dinosaur themed party and people still would've been offended," added another person. "I think the party is great and the kids all look adorable."
Hart has been in trouble with the Native American community before. Several years ago, he came out in defense of the Washington Redskins, at a time when many people were calling for the team to change its name. He argued that the team name had transcended its racial implications and could no longer be taken as an insult.
“We don’t know how [Native Americans] feel personally because we’re not them, but this has existed for 20 years,” he said during an appearance on Tom Joyner's Morning Show. CNN's Don Lemon then pointed out that the term's history goes back much farther as a racial epithet.
"It’s a team name,” Hart said. “Nobody uses that word in a way to where it’s insulting, it’s celebrated, you have fans who celebrate the Washington Redskins, they rejoice, whether it’s win or lose, we love the Redskins.”
“What if they were called the Washington Blackfaces, Washington N-words?” Lemon asked.
“You can’t say it’s the same,” Hart said. “It’s not the same, Don.”
Hart and Parrish have not responded to the backlash as of press time.