Why Your Native American Costume Isn't Cute

It’s no secret that Halloween is one of the most exciting times of year. It’s the only time of year where people can walk around dressed like sexy versions of Donald Trump and Pennywise, and no one gives it a second glance. Which is truly beautiful. But what isn’t so beautiful is seeing cultures reduced to Halloween costumes like it’s nothing. It’s so easy for people to dismiss the issue, and their favorite response is “people these days are so oversensitive." What these people don’t realize is a) they might not think they are, but they’re racist, and b) it’s so easy to dismiss issues that don’t affect them directly. What they don’t realize is that behind their racially insensitive “Sexy Indian Chief” costume and their “Hindu Goddess” costume, there's a rich culture full of traditions and sometimes devastating histories, that don’t deserve to be paired with fishnets (though they’re definitely a Halloween staple) and a gross sense of entitlement. It may not be racist to them specifically, but unless they’ve magically become part of the culture they’re copying and it’s not really their place to have an opinion.

This issue so much deeper than “just a costume." For example, I’m sure that you think you look cute in your blackface Nicki Minaj costume on Oct. 31, but you can wash away the black skin and everything that comes with it at the end of the night. You don’t have to worry about being racially profiled on Nov. 1. Perpetuating stereotypes is not a trend, and it’s not cute to play dress up with someone’s whole heritage. To people that are considering dressing up as a culture that they don’t claim; I promise you don’t have to borrow from another culture to look cute on Halloween. Get creative, look up ideas, go on Pinterest or something. I believe in you. If you have to ask yourself if people will be offended by your costume, odds are it probably is offensive. 

At the end of the day, people will do whatever they want, an article won’t change their mind and that’s OK. You might have the right to dress however you want, but those around you have the right to call you out on your actions. As for everyone else? Never be afraid to call people out and or educate others. 

Photo Credits: Cover, 1