Earlier Sunday, Walmart decided to finally take down a Halloween mask that was as offensive as it was racist. The mask in question was called “Thug Life” with the shape of the mask bearing similar features of late iconic 90s rapper, Tupac Shakur. The mask was complete with the word ‘thug’ tattooed under the right eye was supposed to be an allude to Shakur’s “Thug Life” tattoo across his stomach. Not to mention a “bandana” across the forehead.
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To add further insult to injury, the mask, which was later sold out and taken down from Walmart’s website, was purposely meant to look like Tupac. As a result of this, there was a public outcry on social media to boycott the international mega-retailer.
Problematic is an understatement in regards to this ‘Halloween mask’. Especially after the hashtag #CasualRacism surfaced on Twitter, it was evident that people were fed up with how blatant and passive-aggressive both the racism and response from Walmart were.
Even though the word ‘thug’ has been around from quite sometime, it has become a word that’s been racialized and stereotyped in the last several decades. Folks began to tweet to Walmart to find out why the mask was there in the first place.
Sadly, yet unsurprisingly, this isn’t the first time Walmart screwed up racially. Last year, the mega-store attempted to sell a costume called “Little Amigo”. The year before, they were met with criticism for body-shaming with plus-sized costumes, calling them “Fat Girl Costumes”.
Although, Walmart does in fact have a Prohibited Products Policy which includes an entire section as to what is considered offensive. Here you’d think that this mask would fall under this category, but apparently not *cue eye roll*.