With Halloween just around the corner, it’s important to talk about cultural appropriation within costumes. It seems like an easy thing to not partake in – yet every Halloween we see both men and women dressed as Native Americans, Mexicans, or someone partaking in Blackface, etc. It is NOT OKAY BY ANY MEANS & we need to put these costumes to an end.
So what is cultural appropriation?
By definition cultural appropriation is “the adoption of elements of a minority culture by members of the dominant culture” (Google, 2018).
The Huffington post states “[cultural appropriation is] the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture.”
So why is it wrong?
Dressing up as another person’s culture may seem like it isn’t causing any harm, but it is… a lot of it. When you dress up as someone else’s culture, you’re disregarding their cultural experiences. You’re telling the world that their culture is a costume and not part of their identify. You may think you are appreciating the culture, but it’s doing a lot of harm.
What counts as a cultural appropriative Halloween costume?
If you have to think ‘is my costume appropriating another culture?’ chances are it is. Offensive and harmful costumes include (but are not limited to) dressing as a Native American, a Mexican, a Geisha, anything having to do with Day of the Dead, etc. If you are unsure, Google it. There are tons of resources out there, so you have no excuse if I call you out at a party for being racist.
Okay, so what should I be for Halloween then?
LITERALLY ANYTHING!!! The fun thing about Halloween is you get to be super creative. There are endless costumes that do not require you stealing another culture’s identify.
Get creative Rams, don’t be racist, & be safe this Halloween.