Halloween should be fun, not problematic.
Cultural appropriation often rears its ugly head during Halloween, as many people find it cute or funny to dress as racist interpretations of other cultures. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize their costumes are insulting.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: If your costume has centuries worth of cultural significance and history behind it, it’s not a costume. It’s an insult.
Don’t put on that “Indian princess” costume that looks like a lame rebrand of Disney’s Pocahontas. Don’t glue a fake moustache to your face and throw on a sombrero to dress as a “loco hombre.” Have you considered being a Marvel character? Thanos maybe?
And this isn’t just a problem with costumes.
Government officials tend to insult people of color, too. President Donald Trump recently stated the Democratic impeachment inquiry against him is like a lynching. We aren’t sure if this would even be OK if our president was black, and it’s definitely not OK in this case.
Phrases like lynching have a clear connection to black individuals. It’s inappropriate to undermine the struggles, hardships and unfortunate deaths that black people had to endure. Black people suffered for just existing. Trump is “suffering” for being caught doing an entire country wrong.
Words can be insulting. Most people outside the African American community know to avoid the N-word in everyday conversation. Not to mention, African Americans within the community debate whether or not it should continue to be said.
Unfortunately, pop culture seems to be ruining this.
More people outside the black community are feeling comfortable saying the N-word due to its heavy use in rap songs. We get that you want to sing along, but skipping over one word isn’t that hard. A Kendrick Lamar fan had the unfortunate luck of forgetting to censor herself on stage, right in front of him. It was very embarrassing for everyone involved, to say the least.
What’s even more embarrassing is having an entire football team based on a group of people the U.S. has enslaved, raped and killed. Somehow, the NFL still allows the Washington Redskins’ name to exist.
Native Americans are people. They’re not fashion statements, not mascots and certainly not costumes for people to look tacky in.
At least the Redskins is one of the lowest ranked teams in the league. Maybe being outwardly racist drops you a few points.
We shouldn’t have to settle for less. Maybe we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard in order to properly respect the people who deserve it. We need more opportunities to learn about different cultures, and not just in specific concentrations.
History needs to be studied in order to have a holistic view of what happened. More national holidays need to stem from underrepresented cultures. The fact that only nine states officially recognize Indigenous Peoples Day says enough. We need to start educating ourselves about the lives of others.
Let’s not let history die for the sake of a cute costume.
The Editorial Board consists of Zora Viel, Opinions Editor; Amanda Rosa, Editor-in Chief; Kelly Hayes, Digital Managing Editor; and Tranelle Maner, Engagement Managing Editor.