This Saturday is Halloween and it’s a time when we can all go out, have fun, and be someone other than ourselves. Being able to wear something you wouldn’t normally wear and not get judged for it is exciting, but lately there has been a trend of Halloweens from hell! People from all different ages and backgrounds dressing up in extreme offensive attire. Using strange makeup tactics like blackface.
As a young child I never understood why it was not ok to dress up as a Native American or Japanese Geisha. Now that I am older and I am more aware of things, I’ve learned I finally understand why cultural appropriation is extremely offensive. Cultural appropriation is when the dominant culture takes elements of other cultures and adopts them as their own without acknowledging the meaning or symbolism behind those elements, or using those elements to mock other cultures. Before you decide to go out and buy a Native American costume do your research and learn what it means to wear a headdress.
There’s countless numbers of ethic costumes in Halloween stores and plenty of guides telling you how to dress up as this person’s culture. Dressing up as a different cultural stereotype is problematic because most people who do it have no clue of the history behind it and all they’re doing is helping to reinforce the stereotypes. Think of it like this, you only wear that costume for a day but these people have to live with the stigma for life.
Before you decide to go out in blackface, wear a Native American costume, dress up as a Japanese Geisha or a Mexican; just be aware that you will offend lots of people and know that there are ways you can appreciate someone’s culture without out appropriating it.
Photo Credit(s): ohio.edu