Halloween is my favorite time of year until I start seeing culturally inappropriate costumes (CIC). It’s is a nice way to put it, but really the costumes are racist.
Let’s start with the decision to make or buy a culturally inappropriate Halloween costume. I think that most CIC start at ignorant place, not a place of hate.
The first type of CIC is a costume that could easily be made not culturally inappropriate by removing an article of clothing. An example of this is dressing up as a taco, being a taco is not culturally inappropriate, but adding a sombrero to that costume is.
When you add a specific article of clothing that is related to culture, you just made that costume racist. This is an issue that can be solved in the early parts of costume ideas, look your costume idea up online and see if it comes up in a CIC article or as an example of a CIC. If it doesn’t take it one step forward and ask your friends, and yourself if this costume could offend a specific population of people ethnically or culturally.
The next type of CIC is one that no matter the ignorance or the intentions you should know better in 2019. These costumes include, but are not limited to any form of culturally specific costume, i.e. dressing up as a Native American, brown or black facing or a racially motivated stereotype.
When someone puts on one of these costumes my first thought is they don’t care about who they are offending, and they don’t care that they are being racist. But more than that, they don’t care about the cultural impact of their costumes. CIC’s reinforce harmful, deadly stereotypes about minority communities already trying to shed those beliefs.
I don’t understand these people or these costumes. If you want to dress as a U.S. presidents pick any of the presidents that don’t require you to black face. These costumes are not cute, funny or original, they are part of a long history of people using other cultures as props.
What can I do is always a question with issues like this. First don’t let yourself or friends leave the house in a CIC. If you feel like a friends costume may be offensive, tell them, stop them and advise them.
It’s 2019 and racist costumes are the least of our worries, but somehow every year someone somewhere thinks it’s okay to wear a Sacajawea costume. Don’t be that person.