Halloween is the one holiday a year where one gets to dress up as their favorite character without looking like a complete weirdo. It’s a reason to be slutty where it isn’t as acceptable on other days. It isn’t a day where one should decide to dress up as another culture or race because that can be portrayed as offensive to that specific culture.
When choosing a costume for Halloween, other people’s culture should be cut out of the equation. Someone could be offended by that costume even if the intention behind that choice was good. Cultural appropriation is a recently controversial subject especially around this popular holiday.
Racial profiling and ethnic stereotypes are at an all time high when it comes to companies making costumes that suggest racist or offensive behavior.
Some people even go to extreme measures to paint themselves the color of that particular race’s skin color and that is where the line shouldn’t be crossed.
Back in 2013, Actress and former “Dancing With the Stars” contestant Julianne Hough had a controversial Halloween costume that definitely had people up in arms. She dressed up as actress Uzo Aduba’s, Crazy Eyes, in the Netflix Original Series “Orange is the New Black.”
Hough had everything to a T, from the orange jumpsuit down to the skin color of Crazy Eyes. That is exactly where it got awkward. A white woman dressed as a black woman, skin color and all.
Similar to back in the 1800’s when non-black performers painted their faces black to portray African-Americans, it is known as Blackface and is an intentionally racist act and insensitive.
Although Hough apologized for it and Aduba broke her silence and forgave her, the event still received a lot of backlash from other African-Americans.
Another example would be dressing up as a Muslim with a hijab when you’re not of that culture. Muslims already get enough backlash and stares because ignorant people associate them with terrorism.
According to Teen Vogue’s “My Culture is Not a Costume” article, even costumes that resemble Hula dancers in Hawaiian skirts is considered offensive; It is apparently not at all what the actual dancer’s uniforms look like.
While other cultures may get a good laugh out of it, that culture often feels disrespected and offended. Respect the culture and lay off their clothing, especially on Halloween.
According to USA Today, the Three S’s should be considered when picking a costume for Halloween. The first S being Source, is it a culture that has been historically discriminated against or oppressed? If the answer is yes, stay away from that idea.
The second S is Sacredness, if it has some sort of cultural significance leave it alone. For example, Native American headdresses mean something, they aren’t just jewelry or decorations. They are similar to military medals.
Last but not least, the final S is Similarity. Is the costume chosen being inspired or interpreted by someone’s culture. If so, cut it out.
There should be sympathy for cultures, especially the ones that have struggled and continue to be discriminated against, especially if the oppressor is the one trying to wear the clothes of the culture they oppressed.
It is hypocritical and downright disrespectful.
The oppressor put that particular culture through hell,; so they shouldn’t be able to dress like the oppressed for a day and once Halloween is over, go back having privilege while the oppressed continue to struggle.
There are so many other costume possibilities that don’t suggest racism or prejudice towards another culture. It’s best to stick with the traditional ghosts, witches, and vampires because Halloween is supposed to be creepy and gory anyway.