Since people seem to forget every single year, here’s a quick reminder on what is offensive and culturally insensitive to wear on Halloween.
1. A blackface
2. Costumes that Mock Religion
Again, wearing a hijab (headscarf) or a burqa (garment covering from head to toe) for your amusement is not a good idea, especially if you’re going to wear a fake bomb on top of it and yell, “Allahu Akbar” whenever you greet someone. Considering how Presidential Candidate Trump’s comments against Muslims have already sparked a series of anti-Muslim hate crimes, ignorant costumes like that further perpetuate the faulty notion that all Muslims are somehow terrorists.
3. Appropriating Cultural Clothing
Refrain from being geishas, Indian princesses, or African royalty with weave. These outfits are cultural, which means that they are not costumes. They all have significant meaning and the minute they are worn as costumes, they are being rid of all the rich cultural ties they hold. These costumes may be exotic and unique to you, but for billions of others, these are their identity. And wearing someone’s identity as a costume is more than disrespectful. But if you’re desperate to wear a yellow face with a pretty paper umbrella with a kimono, then be ready to take slack for it and have a conversation about it.
4. Native American Clothing
This one has to be one of the mot abused costumes. Native Americans are this country’s most oppressed population with 5.2 million of them still living on reservations with sometimes worse than third-world conditions. Yet there are so many that carelessly put on a feathered head gear with nonsensical red and white paint on their faces to further exploit an already looted minority. The saddest part about the “sexy Pocahontas” costume is that it reduces the entire Native American culture to a sexualized, barbaric viewpoint, and fails to make anyone realize about the grim realities of being a Native American in today’s U.S.
5. Stereotypical Clothing
Don’t wear sombreros and drink tequila as well as wearing a jersey and eating a watermelon. They may appear to be fun and harmless, but again, cultural identities are not costumes. These costumes portray a polarized and even derogatory view of these people by only focusing on a single part of their entire identities. Minorities struggle in this nation as is to be noticed for their hard work rather than by skin, and these stereotypes make it impossible for them to break free of them.
Just because you can't wear any of these doesn't mean that you can't be creatively different on Halloween. You can never go wrong with Disney! Or if you really want to get a few good laughs, then do something punny. Make sure to have fun in a safe way and enjoy the candy.