As we all know, it is that time of year again, Halloween! It is by far one of my favorite “holidays” because being a fashion person, I LOVE to dress up, especially in costumes. Though Halloween comes with tons of fun, it also comes with a ton of headache. Mostly from white people wearing culturally appropriated and/or just straight up racist costumes. Every. Damn. Year.
Instead of waiting until November 1st to go on social media and see the over flow of ignorant white people post their terrible costumes all over he internet, I figured it would be nice to just give ya’ll a heads up on what you can and cannot do during this year’s festivities. And let mention too that despite the title of this post, there are things on this list that aren’t just advice for white people, it applies to anyone who does not culturally or racially fall into certain categories.
Ok let’s get started…
Dress as any culturally specific figures or symbols. That means no Geishas, no bindis or belly dancers, no sugar skulls, no gypsies, and no Pharaohs or any other African caricature. These are cherished figures and/or symbols of their respective cultures with deep histories and deserve to be respected, not turned into a commodity.
Dress as any fantasy character or generic Eurocentric figure. You can be a pirate, a viking, Tarzan and Jane, a mime, a pin up doll, a regular skeleton (even Jack Skellington), a French maid, Scottish guy and gal, European king/queen, Greek god/goddess, fairy, mermaid, or any other fantasy junk you can think of.
Dress as any racist stereotypes. No “Indian” chiefs or princesses, no Mexicans, no Muslims or terrorists, no slanted eyes, and none of the plethora of Black stereotypes ya’ll love so much, like pimps, rappers, and Rastas. Nah shawty. This should be self explanatory. If I see a headdress, sombrero, or Afro wig this year, I will knock it off anyone’s head.
Once again, dress up as your own Eurocentric characters. Be a cowboy, a Victorian or Edwardian gentleman/lady (think Marie Antoinette), a 1970’s hippie, a retro gogo dancer, WWII soldier or nurse, Rosie the Riveter, or a Stepford wife.
DO BLACK FACE. NO EXCEPTIONS. You’d think we would’ve been able to stop saying this a LONG time ago, but of course not. So here I am saying it again. We are not doing black face this year or any year (and this includes those stupid Obama masks). It’s disgusting and unacceptable. Not a joke. Not cute. IT’S NOTHING BUT RACIST. If you wanna test it, don’t be mad at the response you will get. That’s all I’m gonna say…
It is possible to dress as celebrities or characters of color without painting yourself. Some may disagree with me, but I see no problem with anyone dressing as someone of a different race or ethnicity, as long as it is done right. Like if I, a black woman, want to dress as Lady Gaga for Halloween, I don’t have to powder puff my face whit in order to do it. I’ll wear a blonde wig and a wild outfit to reflect her. Simple as that.
Now you’re probably thinking “but didn’t you just say no white people in Afro or dreadlock wigs?” Yes I did. But I mean only when it comes to some sick stereotype you’re trying to portray. Now if you’re going SPECIFICALLY as someone like Lil Wayne, then yes you’re going to need a dreadlock wig. But you can be him without the black face . that all I’m saying. Like I said, I know there are some that’ll will disagree with me on this, but if everyone gets to dress up as all the white celebrities and superheroes and fictional characters, why don;t the black ones get to be celebrated too?
If you don’t think it is possible to do this respectfully and successfully, here are some examples:
ALSO DO INSTEAD
Just be a white person. There’s no shame in just dressing like someone that looks like you. It actually makes far more sense and is surely a lot easier to pull off. There are tons and tons and TONS of white people for you to choose from, no problem !
Another option is to just be anything, be a chair, bacon, corn, lipstick, a Barbie doll, anything you can possibly think of. It’s Halloween, a time for creativity, not ignorance.
So this is all I’ve got for this year. Hopefully this will help steer someone away from the wrong decision this year. Take a look of the costume you chose this year, and think about it: is this costume socially acceptable, or is it just offensive? The goal of Halloween should be to pretend, don’t offend.
If you have nay questions, suggestions, or ideas, leave a comment below! Everyone have a safe Halloween!
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