Let's Not Be Racist This Halloween

In recent years, the “sensitivity” surrounding Halloween Costumes has come to the forefront of the #spookyszn. All of sudden, it’s not cool to dress up like your favorite Mexican movie character, or Austin Powers POC character, or even in a cute little Pocahontas costume that makes your butt look nice because of all these damn PC SJWs (Politically correct Social Justice Warriors)! So why is it important to listen to these “special snowflakes” this Halloween? I'm here to tell you.

 

Cultural appropriation is not okay. I don’t care how bad you want to wear your thrifted faux-Native-American-indie-VIP-at-Coachella costume you learned how to make from Vogue Magazine’s list of costumes for under $75. I don’t care how cute your black-stage-Miley-Cyrus costume from Forever 21’s Racist Chic line costume is. Using other people’s cultures because it looks hot is unacceptable (see fetishization). White people have invaded and conquered nations throughout history, but WE’RE NOT DONE--we’re also going to wear the clothing of the people whose culture we stole and demolished for Halloween!

Coming from a privileged place and dressing like part of an underprivileged community is extremely offensive. Often POC are oppressed on the sole principal that they look different- that their dreads look “unprofessional” or that they have too much body hair. But white people want to wear “boxer braids” and thicken their eyebrows? No. Pinterest probably showed you a cute step-by-step guide to DIY racism by thrifting for what your fave "Orange is the New Black" character wears. So let me break it down before you think caking on even more bronzer to be black or using “on point” highlighter to be a Geisha. You are taking significant pieces of a culture that is not only oppressed, but does not at all belong to you and literally wearing it as a costume. So you see the problem in picking pieces of a different culture up at random to parade around on Halloween? Here’s the thing, if some random person decided to dress up exactly like you and your family for Halloween, and posted it online for everyone to see because they felt hip and trendy, would you be happy?

 

Homophobia/Transphobia are not ok. I get that you want to show girls that you’re sensitive *and* funny but Definitely Not Gay. But it’s not cool, bruh. I know that everybody in Alpha Sigma Not All Men agrees that #loveislove, but dressing as a girl/in drag is just not as funny as you want everyone to think it is (or this costume pictured above; an extremely distasteful Caitlyn Jenner costume). It’s offensive to people who have had to fight off the stigma of shame in femininity their whole lives. Also, throwing on a flannel and some Doc Martins and being “a lesbian” is not cool, Samantha.

 

If you are considering blackface/being ghetto/painting your eyes “Asian”/being chola for Halloween? Consider being less racist! Remember: Cultural appropriation looks ugly on you. At the end of the day, you’re turning the trauma and oppression that marginalized people have dealt with their entire lives and literally using it as a costume. You can take a costume off at the end of Halloweekend. Oppressed folks are sewn in.

About The Author

Lu is a senior at Augustana College majoring in Graphic Design. She is a Co-Editor in Chief of the Augustana Observer and a Campus Correspondent for Her Campus at Augustana.