Happy Halloween, everyone! While today should be about overdosing on Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and Peanut M&M’s – we also have to be mindful of what costume we’re wearing while stuffing our face with chocolate.
If your costume has ties to a historically repressed minority population – you should probably opt for something that won’t make all your friends say “Can you believe Sarah wore that?” behind your back.
The whole country did a collective “Who let Julianne out in that” when the Dancing with the Stars alum stepped out on Halloween in 2013 in full black face portraying “Crazy Eyes” from Orange is the New Black.
Let’s get one thing straight: Black face is never OK.
Not on Halloween.
Many of the costumes that fall under the category of racist have deep ties to their community – good and bad. Indian headdresses were worn by male leaders who had eared great respect from the tribe. Geishas are respected artists in Japan who train for five years before earning their title as a Geisha. Whereas blackface was a way to diminish black Americans through skits where white performers would play up black stereotypes at minstrel shows well into the 1970’s.
At Ohio State University, the “We’re a Culture Not a Costume” campaign emerged in 2013 to educate the public about the very issue of dressing up in costumes that have ties to minority populations. The campaign strikes at the core problem –while you have the free will to put on the costume and take it off the next day, these people live with the stigma the rest of their life.
Wearing these costumes is an insult to the oppression that these people face on an everyday basis in our racist society. Let’s be sensitive to the reality that while you may think it’s “fun” to dress up as an Indian on Halloween, you are insulting a whole population of people for the sake of 24 hours at a Halloween party you probably won’t remember the next day.