White People, Please Don't Paint A Sugar Skull On Your Face This Halloween

White People, Please Don't Paint A Sugar Skull On Your Face This Halloween

Latin people have good reason to be offended.
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Halloween is a lovely commercial holiday for adults to dress up in provocative costumes.

Often, it's another excuse for college students to party, and also an excuse for children to consume metric tons of candy that will likely contribute to the ongoing obesity epidemic in America.

Personally, I love to finally have a non-judgmental day to wear "Star Wars" apparel and swing around toy lightsabers like my inner 10-year old is always wanting to do.

But meanwhile south of the border from Mexico all the way to Bolivia, Latin peoples and indigenous peoples have our Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead for those of you who don't speak Spanish.

But let me make this clear -- in no way can this sacred celebration of our ancestors be compared to Halloween without drawing negative connotations.

I know some of you may wonder, "Why do so many Latin call out white people for 'cultural appropriation'?

"What's the big deal?

"Why should I as a white person, care?

"Aren't I honoring your culture?"

If you read on, I'll answer those questions, but first, let me illustrate by giving a brief life story.

As a white male of indigenous and Latin descent growing up in the American South, far from the graves of my father's family, Dia de Los Muertos was never accessible to me.

I grew up hearing stories of Guatemala's rolling green mountains and humid jungle, of my grandparents who worked for the rights of mestizos and other indigenous citizens often treated as second-class citizens.

I even managed to visit a few times with my parents to see some of my cousins and aunts and uncles. But to my shame, I never asked my dad about the Day of the Dead until last October when Guillermo del Toro's colorful masterpiece "The Book of Life" premiered in my local theater.

Intrigued by the reviews and the fact that del Toro was directing (Go watch "Pan's Labyrinth" sometime and you'll see why I was excited about del Toro), I watched the film in a newly furnished theater in Greenville, South Carolina, with only one other family to accompany me.

Nobody would say the film performed poorly at the box office, but most savvy moviegoers noticed its absence at the Oscars that year.

I couldn't help but find this infuriating.

Why had I never thought about Dia de Los Muertos?

Why did seemingly no one care in America?

Why had my father not told me that we celebrate life and death every year in Guatemala?

My abuela had passed away somewhat recently, and I remember my dad sobbing as he knew he would never see her again. She'd never really been a large physical presence in my life as I only knew my grandmother a short few years, (she did visit the States once, and our time together was magical) and I didn't speak any Spanish until late in high school.

Watching that film, I felt as though perhaps I could one day meet my grandparents again, even Abuelo Herminio whose only memory I have is the name my parents gave me. Maybe, on just one day of the year, I could meet them not as their son's white baby, but a full-grown Guatemalan young man who wished to learn about our culture. I, the living, could find lost family in death.

But I know why people did not watch "The Book of Life." Perhaps it will do better on cable in 30 years, but for now, whites remain a majority of Americans, and likely the largest demographic at the box office as well. But this event last year is not the heart of the problem.

I feel a great sadness, disconnected from the heritage that my father left behind in Guatemala in hopes of creating a better life for his family. I feel longing, as I haven't yet had a chance to visit my family's graves, nor taste the delicious fiambre my Tia Lusmi makes every year, or dance and sing with my neighbors in Antigua and San Miguel Duenas.

But more than anything else, I feel so angry at everyone, particularly other non-Latin whites, who appropriate and take for their own my people's culture by parading around drunk on King Street with poorly painted fake sugar skulls.

Can you all not see that you are desecrating the memory of my grandparents?

Of my family and the loved ones we have lost to war, economic enslavement, oppression, and colonialism?

I know that a lot of people don't really know all this. I understand why Dia de Los Muertos might be attractive to someone whose culture has been swallowed up by a pervasive and destructive social construct known as "whiteness," that the idea of finding life in death, finding a connection where it was lost, holds a lot of hope and spiritual connection.

But please, see it from my eyes, someone who shares your privilege, but also someone caught between two "worlds." See it through the eyes of someone who wants to meet their grandparents again.

When we take on cultures as costumes, we take away its meaning, just as our colonial ancestors once did. Where you see a colorful and "exotic" costume in Dia de Los Muertos on your face in the mirror, I see a continuing history of racism and fetishization.

I leave you with this thought- next time your non-Latin friend wants to co-opt an indigenous holiday, show them this article, along with all the links I've provided. Hopefully, they'll understand why this is so important.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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6 Things You Should Know About The Woman Who Can't Stand Modern Feminism

Yes, she wants to be heard too.

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2018 is sort of a trap for this woman. She believes in women with all of the fire inside of her, but it is hard for her to offer support when people are making fools of themselves and disguising it as feminism.

The fact of the matter is that women possess qualities that men don't and men possess qualities that women don't. That is natural. Plus, no one sees men parading the streets in penis costumes complaining that they don't get to carry their own fetus for nine months.

1. She really loves and values women.

She is incredibly proud to be a woman.

She knows the amount of power than a woman's presence alone can hold. She sees when a woman walks into a room and makes the whole place light up. She begs that you won't make her feel like a "lady hater" because she doesn't want to follow a trend that she doesn't agree with.

2. She wants equality, too

She has seen the fundamental issues in the corporate world, where women and men are not receiving equal pay.

She doesn't cheer on the businesses that don't see women and men as equivalents. But she does recognize that if she works her butt off, she can be as successful as she wants to.

3. She wears a bra.

While she knows the "I don't have to wear a bra for society" trend isn't a new one, but she doesn't quite get it. Like maybe she wants to wear a bra because it makes her feel better. Maybe she wears a bra because it is the normal things to do... And that's OK.

Maybe she wants to put wear a lacy bra and pretty makeup to feel girly on .a date night. She is confused by the women who claim to be "fighting for women," because sometimes they make her feel bad for expressing her ladyhood in a different way than them.

4. She hates creeps just as much as you do. .

Just because she isn't a feminist does not mean that she is cool with the gruesome reality that 1 in 5 women are sexually abused.

In fact, this makes her stomach turn inside out to think about. She knows and loves people who have been through such a tragedy and wants to put the terrible, creepy, sexually charged criminals behind bars just as bad as the next woman.

Remember that just because she isn't a feminist doesn't mean she thinks awful men can do whatever they want.

5. There is a reason she is ashamed of 2018's version of feminism.

She looks at women in history who have made a difference and is miserably blown away by modern feminism's performance.

Not only have women in the past won themselves the right to vote, but also the right to buy birth control and have credit cards in their names and EVEN saw marital rape become a criminal offense.

None of them dressed in vagina costumes to win anyone over though... Crazy, right?

6. She isn't going to dress in a lady parts costume to prove a point.

This leaves her speechless. It is like the women around her have absolutely lost their minds and their agendas, only lessening their own credibility.

"Mom, what are those ladies on TV dressed up as?"

"Ummm... it looks to me like they are pink taco's honey."

She loves who she is and she cherished what makes her different from the men around her. She doesn't want to compromise who she is as a woman just so she can be "equal with men."

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Patriotism Is More Than Putting The American Flag On Everything

Because honestly, people in other countries don't wear their flags like we do - and they still love where they live.

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Patriotism is "the feeling of loving your country more than any others and being proud of it," according to the Cambridge dictionary. Nowhere in that definition does it mention painting flags on vehicles or wearing them on our clothes is a requirement. It's not even recommended. Yet somewhere along the way, America got in its head that if you don't wear flags on your clothing at least 24 times a year, you must be committing treason or a terrorist or something.

Now I am obviously exaggerating! However, there are so many other ways to be patriotic, and it is time for 'Merica to understand that.

In order to love your country more than any others and be proud of it- AKA being patriotic- help make your country a place you should be proud of. Support things that not only benefit yourself but your children (or children in general if you don't have any of your own).

Maybe this means voting for higher taxes on yourself to improve the quality of life for others. Higher income taxes actually benefit the upper class because of write-offs, while higher sales taxes benefit the middle and lower classes. Why? Rich people buy more stuff and can't write it all off.

I know, I know, I know. This country was founded on the hatred of taxes. "Taxes are stealing." The whole bit. But taxes are a required part of life, so start thinking about how to best use them.

Universal healthcare is paid for through tax dollars. I get it- "that's socialist and we aren't a socialist country" or whatever your argument is, but hear me out... We are supposedly guaranteed the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness... People cannot choose if they will be healthy or not. Not having universal healthcare means not everyone is insured and can go to the doctor, which means as a country we are telling people who cannot afford those things that their lives are somehow worth less... Is that not a denial of the unalienable rights we bragged about at our country's founding?

Oh, sorry, was that off topic? In order to have patriotism, we have to have something to be proud of... If we have a country full of sick people who can't get better, should we really be proud of that?

Should we really be proud of a country who seeks to destroy our environment for finite resources instead of looking to renewable energy sources to create cleaner power- and more jobs? Should we be proud of a country that thinks of diplomacy like a business? Should we be proud of a country where diversity is avoided, and we judge those different than ourselves despite claiming to be a melting pot?

Guess what? I'm not proud. I'm tired of living in a country that claims to be the best when it is only really number one at defense spending, arms exports, natural gas output, number of people incarcerated per capita, number of fast food restaurants, number of mass shootings per year, and highest medical costs.

I'm proud of those who have fought for our freedoms, be it at war or for civil rights at home, but I am not proud of what we've done with it all. I couldn't care less about how great our country was or can be. What I care about is living in a place where we take care of one another and want everyone to succeed, not just a handful of individuals at the expense of others. Life isn't a race- someone else's success or failure should not determine if you get the health care you need.

Paint your flags all over and ignore this if you like. Call me unpatriotic- I can handle it. If the state of America right now does not bother you, go on with your inaction. But patriotism has less to do with wearing flag bathing suits, and far more to do with being a contributing member of a society that does not stand for injustices. And right now, America, there are a lot of injustices.

I am patriotic; I am proud of the accomplishments in our past. But unless we start making advances and investments in a country and society that deserves pride... I'm ashamed to think of what is to come.

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