University says costumes depicting ‘Indian chiefs’ and ‘banditos’ unacceptable; critics question campaign

Southern Utah University students appearing on "My Culture is not your Costume" campaign ads hold images depicting culturally insensitive Halloween costumes | Image courtesy Southern Utah University, St. George News / Cedar City News

ST. GEORGE — Southern Utah University’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion is asking people to think twice before dressing up in “bandito,” “Indian chief” and other culture- or ethnic-specific costumes for Halloween. And they aren’t the only college doing so. However, some critics are saying it’s going too far.

SUU joined other colleges around the country in October to launch the “My Culture is not a Costume” campaign in an effort to combat what campaign organizers refers to as culturally insensitive costumes that reinforce stereotypes of entire ethnic groups.

Southern Utah University student Erick Peña appears on a “My Culture is not your Costume” campaign ad holding an image depicting a culturally insensitive Halloween costume | Image courtesy Southern Utah University, St. George News / Cedar City News

Billboards around the SUU campus and images shared on social media depict four students from African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American and Polynesian ethnic backgrounds displaying images of offensive costumes, such as a woman in blackface and a pair donning traditional Native American headdresses.

“You generalize my whole culture and heritage when you dress-up like an ‘amigo’ and shout in broken Spanish,” Erick Peña, one of the students depicted in the campaign, said in a news release issued by the university. “People should become aware of the pain this causes.”

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion said it hopes the campaign prompts people to do more research, ask questions and learn correct and appropriate cultural terminology in order to bridge the gap from narrow-minded stereotypes to appropriate cultural respect and awareness.

“It’s our job in the CDI to represent the underrepresented groups on campus,” Center for Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator Christopher Mendoza said in the news release. “This is an ongoing process, but I think it starts with having a dialogue on how we can appreciate someone’s culture without disrespecting it.”

Several other colleges nationwide are promoting similar ad campaigns cautioning against potentially offensive costumes or themes, such as painting or tinting of skin, stereotypes of Asian or Pacific Islander cultures and Native and Latin American indigenous dress.

Critics of the campaign have said it is another example of political correctness that could lead to a host of costumes being prohibited and turn students off from celebrating Halloween.

“The cultural temperature on this has gotten so high that nothing is appropriate anymore. We are getting to the point where prohibition is the rule,” New York University Professor of Global Liberal Studies Michael Rectenwald said in a report by the Associated Press.

Posters displayed on the University of New Hampshire campus encourage students to avoid Halloween costumes that can be seen as racially or culturally offensive, Durham, New Hampshire, Oct. 26, 2017 | AP Photo by Michael Casey, St. George News / Cedar City News | Click on image to enlarge

The campaign does not mandate what costumes students can wear, instead suggesting students consider a costume’s implications of historical cultural appropriation of minority groups.

The Associated Press reported that many students at the University of New Hampshire, which is also running the campaign, said they understood the concerns, and a few said it made them reconsider costume choices. Others said it was unnecessary for the school to suggest what they wear and complained that their decision to wear an ethnic costume was aimed at celebrating a culture, not mocking it.

“Representing an entire race as a Halloween costume is wrong and offensive,” SUU student Sunny Sims said in the university news release. She appears in one of the campaign ads holding a photo of someone dressed in blackface.

“You are turning what I look like into a joke and mocking historical oppression,” Sims said. “This is an important conversation to have not only during Halloween but all year.”

MICHAEL CASEY of the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

64 Comments

  • DRT October 29, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    For the love of heaven, when are all these idiots going to grow up, and stop getting butt hurt over anything, everything, and nothing.

  • Kyle L. October 29, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    I think that people need to spend less time thinking about things to be upset about.

    • statusquo October 29, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      These people need a real job

  • Dolly October 29, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    I know…a meltdown at the slightest hint of anything. You do remember the Frito Bandito and the Taco Bell Chihuahua? What about Aunt Jemina or Uncle Remus from Disney’s Song of the South, or Lord forbid, the children’s classic Golden Book Little Black Sambo? (Looks like I must have been racist at 6 years old, huh?) I guess those are all banned now, and us old-timers should be really ashamed of ourselves (even though we had no idea at the time how politically incorrect we were going to appear to the snowflake generation). I wish they’d just get over it already…

  • comments October 29, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    The two posters in the bottom pic are hilarious. What exactly “cultures” are those costumes supposed to depict, lmao.

    • bikeandfish October 30, 2017 at 10:18 am

      The point is the gross racial stereotypes people use in costumes. Often the photos of the costumes in these posters were real. It looks like the one on the left is a white kid in black face. I know for a fact that happens for Halloween in southern Utah. Seems fair to highlight how these costumes are often extremely racists.

      • comments October 30, 2017 at 10:44 am

        i agree that black face isn’t a good thing to be doing. if that’s a white kid in black face that explains the first one. But that other one? What is it a pregnant chain-smoking latina, cuban, or puertorican? Didn’t realize that was a thing to stereotype. Must be an east coast thing.

        • bikeandfish October 30, 2017 at 11:07 am

          The one on the right plays at a lot of latina stereotypes. I also think that is a photo of a real costume.

          Its one of those situations in which many may not even be aware of the racism they are tapping into when making such costumes. I think that is why the approach this campaign takes can be effective.

          • desertgirl October 30, 2017 at 7:55 pm

            Looking for reasons to be a victim and something to be upset about. Thing about many people who wallow in victimization is they often are suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. bikeandfish I suspect you are a very miserable human being, you see everything wrong in life and assume the most negative or that you actually can control everything if allowed, like the environment. Not reality.

            Costumes are not racist, they are costumes. You tap into the ugly; most of us tap into the fun of Halloween. Sickness, anger, and hate taught by the media and narcisst, mentally ill, politicians, academia have your number down and you are a willing participant Comrade Green Peace.

          • bikeandfish October 30, 2017 at 8:44 pm

            Your comment is nonsensical, desertgirl. Your assumptions about me and the world lack any grounding in reality.

            I am guessing you don’t know much about narcissistic personality disorder or the DSM by the way you haphazardly use it.

            Did you look at the costumes? Dressing in blackface is definitely racist even if the person doesn’t recognize the very rich history of supremacy it represents. Same goes for the other costumes this campaign critiques.

            This isn’t a campaign about all costumes. Its about costumes that use gross racial stereotypes. Its about considering the way cultural appropriation and how it affects minorities.

            It might be time to read something other than talking points as your rhetoric is tired and ineffective.

  • Craig October 29, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    Let’s grow up and stop looking for things to find offensive. Enough.

  • Craig October 29, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    Next, we’ll demand Cracker Barrel change it’s name to Saltine Barrel!

    • desertgirl October 30, 2017 at 7:16 am

      Craig, Cracker Barrel would be fine as it would be insulting to caucasians.

  • Brugh October 29, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    The mentality of these comments is exactly why this needs to happen. Pretty much all of you have grown up thinking this was alright but by all means it’s not! But I don’t blame you…you’re “lost people” who know nothing towards pride in who you are…nor pride or respect in heritage….nor know anything about being spiritually born into this world. But again…this is the month to dress up as something “scary”. “Get over it already” thats not going to happen, sorry bud! If anything…this ignorant way of thinking…is going to get an ignorant way of change. Let us be us…and you be you…thats all it takes…mind yours and we’ll mind ours!

    • Kyle L. October 29, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      I’m down with you minding yours and us minding our’s. How about this? You stop taking our tax dollars every month to go to our schools for free! You stop taking our tax dollars every month to live in free housing. You start paying taxes like everyone else that is a citizen and start to taking stock in being a United States Citizen instead of taking pride in being part of a race that was defeated.

    • desertgirl October 30, 2017 at 7:23 am

      Get over yourself. Long time ago Halloween became a general event to get in a costume of any type. You probably are offended by almost everything. Sexy nurse costumes; maybe some nurses don’t like that image, too bad. Decked out like a piece of fruit; might offend gays, too bad. Is it okay to put a get-up on of the president with violence done to him? Bet that doesn’t bother you. Act like an adult an let people enjoy a light hearted day that is not meant to insult anyone. It is just your snowflake perception; apparently you enjoy being and feeling like a victim. If so, you will always be one and that is your choice.

    • DRT October 30, 2017 at 9:02 am

      The total lack of mentality in your post is really a disgrace to members of any and all minority groups. I may be a “lost people,” but I’m not a stupid person. I do agree completely with your last sentence.
      I’m part Indian, along with a laundry list of other heritage. So I’m supposed to get butt hurt if somebody makes what YOU think is a racial slur? I think not.

  • bikeandfish October 29, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    The “My Culture is Not A Costume” campaign has been around for at least five years. Its a constructive, thoughtful way of addressing the way in which people use racial and ethnic stereotypes in costume on Halloween. It doesn’t call for bans or rules but uses open engagement to challenge others. Its a very adult and civil way of trying to foster change.

    I applaud the students at SUU for bringing this campaign to campus. The universities and colleges of Southern Utah intentionally recruit people from across the world. Showing that diverse group of people genuine respect means reconsidering how we have represented them ourselves and in our media.

  • John October 29, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    Universities are supposed to be preparing students for life in the REAL WORLD, not turning them into useless crybaby snowflakes !

  • dodgers October 29, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    The SNOWFLAKE generation. How will they ever survive?

  • comments October 29, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    LOL, I guess I know I’m old since I find Halloween purely an annoyance. Just disallow costumes on campus, period. Problem solved. I guess the main purpose of the holiday is to give the college kids another excuse to binge drink (as if they even need an excuse even, lol)

    • DRT October 30, 2017 at 9:05 am

      First off, yeah, you probably are old, welcome to the club! 😉
      Here’s an idea! Let’s ban any and all clothing, (except what is needed for cold weather.) That way nobody could whine about the way people dress.

  • aaron October 29, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    This is what the communists want, eventually they will want to ban all holidays of any kind and only. Celebrate the government and how great socialism is, aka communism because in the steps for communism this is one of them take away. Peoples form of identity and erase any traditions of any kind that don’t fall in with the governments narrative.

    • desertgirl October 30, 2017 at 7:25 am

      aaron, social and emotional manipulation is the main avenue to controlling people. Thanks for your insightful comment. Wish more would recognize the evil of total socialism/communism.

      • DRT October 30, 2017 at 9:21 am

        And there you have it. It is all about gaining control over other people.
        And there are way too many people who have discovered that getting weak minded people to go along with their brain farts, (excuse me, mental gas would be more PC,) is a good way to make a living without ever doing a day’s work.

  • Redbud October 30, 2017 at 2:14 am

    If I was a professor at SUU, I would give any student in my class extra credit for dressing up as an Indian chief, or a bandito!!! It anyone steps onto my front porch to trick or treat, and they are dressed as an Indian chief or bandito, they are going to get the good KING size candy bars!!! I would also love to host a plantation-style Halloween party where you can pick cotton in Dixie, complete with a giant confederate flag!

  • ladybugavenger October 30, 2017 at 6:59 am

    I don’t celebrate Halloween. I dpnt hand out candy. I dont decorate. I’ll be dressed as usual, as a white woman. I sure hope no one is offended by that. But many will be offended that I don’t hand out candy. As if, I’m spoiling something.

    I was jumped on Halloween, by a big man, when I was 13. Haven’t participated since.

    • comments October 30, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      Aww LBA has turned into an old curmudgeon like me, when it comes to Halloween. We don’t even get trick-or-treaters on our block anymore. We got a LDS building on the block and the kids all go there I think. What do mean jumped, LB? you just get ur stuff stolen or what?

      • ladybugavenger October 31, 2017 at 6:19 am

        Came out from an indented spot on a wall. When I turned the corner, he jumped on my back, I bent over and stood up, he was then in front of me and he grabbed my pillowcase that had a ski mask and some candy. I put up a fight. I pulled my pillowcase and he was pulling it. About 10 seconds of pulling my pillowcase and yelling , I lost the battle and he ran to a truck across the street and drove off with my stuff. I wasn’t alone. I had a friend with me, but she froze in fear. I was scared, shoot I was scared of my mom more tho. She would of blamed me, for some reason. So I just prayed she wouldn’t notice the pillowcase missing.

        Yep, not into this Halloween stuff. I dont really do holiday things. I just give my kids stuff and visit family throughout the year.

        • comments October 31, 2017 at 9:33 am

          Yea I remember when i was about 10. I had a pillowcase full of candy. It must’ve been about 7 pounds. A couple of teens came up and started talking to me and my friend; then one of them grabbed it and they ran off. Pretty crappy feeling at the time, after being out all night to like 100 houses. In retrospect it’s better for a kid not to have 7 pounds of candy, so oh well. LOL

  • Mesquite October 30, 2017 at 8:26 am

    And yet the SUU Student Union continues to promote St. Patrick’s Day events, even though it regularly portrays the Irish as a bunch of drunks and encourages people to claim to be Irish, regardless of their true heritage. Why are St. Patrick Day events okay? Why does the student union feel it is okay to be so disrespectful to MY heritage?

    • bikeandfish October 30, 2017 at 10:12 am

      In 2017 it looks like the only St Patrick’s Day event SUUSA managed was a scavenger hunt with clovers, ie a historic symbol of the Trinity. What is wrong with that? SUUSA and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion are different organizations. The costume campaign isn’t asking to ban Halloween or any costumes.

      Plenty of reason to reconsider how some behave on other holidays like St Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo but that just seems consistent with this campaign’s message.

      • Anon October 31, 2017 at 8:49 am

        So, honest question here. What if someone does their research and gets an authentic Hopi chief outfit or Tongan dancer outfit and wears it? Is it still racist? I mean, they’ve done the research and know why the outfits are important and by wearing the outfit they are bringing much needed attention to the culture. Also, if a kid decides he wants to be a burglar for Halloween who operates at night, is it acceptable for him to black his face out since his intention is not to portray a black man, just conforming to accepted burglar attire? I can see how some of these outfits that are sold in costume stores can be seen as offensive (particularly that Polynesian dancer costume above), but shouldn’t we take this opportunity to say, “Hey, that’s not really how a bandito/Native chief/Polynesian dancer dresses. Let me show you and give you the historical back ground behind the costume.”? Let’s educate instead of condemn.

        • bikeandfish October 31, 2017 at 10:08 am

          Black face is never appropriate in the US. Wear a mask. Too much history and explicit meaning behind its use.

          The campaign is educating folks. Its not banning. It’s not name calling.

          Per education….. the idea is to challenge both racial stereotypes and cultural appropriation. America has a racist history in how we appropriate and then use other cultures symbols and dress. Being invited to share in the experiment of ceremonial dress is one thing but choosing to wear it as a costume on Halloween is another.

          • bikeandfish October 31, 2017 at 10:53 am

            Autocorrect! *Experience not experiment

  • mctrialsguy October 30, 2017 at 10:05 am

    I laughed so hard when I read this article: pompous, spoiled, insecure, arrogant…P-O-S. Good luck in the future, this generation has a real problem… OMG…LOLOL! I can’t quit laughing….my wife says what are you laughing at, and I said “You need to read this article”…lololllll

    • John October 30, 2017 at 11:03 am

      mctrialsguy…, pompous snowflakes.. great term to describe this foolishness..the dumbing down of colleges continues..when will the stupid end?

  • mctrialsguy October 30, 2017 at 10:13 am

    I may go this year as a bean counter…no, not a Mexican, a bean counter is a term for an accountant. I will go as a Spaniard accountant, yeah…that’s it.

  • JOSH DALTON October 30, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Here are some costume ideas for the Mexicans, Blacks, Asians and Native Americans: “Qtip”, “Casper,” “Whitey”, “Whiskey Tango,” and of course “Ben Affleck” GO FALCONS!

  • JOSH DALTON October 30, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    One more thing since we are on the subject…Are there any Prostitutes getting upset? I see women dressing up like Street Walkers every Halloween. The Hookers should have a voice in the matter as well. Its only fair! GO FALCONS!

    • comments October 30, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      lol, the frightening part about that is that some of them are like 8-9 years old. The older ones could very well be actual prostitutes. Ever think of that. lmao. advice to parents: keep your children clothed.

  • ladybugavenger October 30, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    I told my husband I can dress up as a native American and he can be white. He said, “Don’t disgrace me like that.”

    I guess I’ll be white and he can be the Indian chief.

    True story

    Everyone Stop being offended by everything! Have fun! Enjoy life! Laugh!

  • bikeandfish October 30, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    I find it interesting that a bunch of people who rally behind the emptiness of “Make America Great Again” seem to think minorities who are challenging racial stereotypes should just accept things as they are. Seems a little hypocritical to want change yourself but deny the validity of that desire to others. Are we supposed to just accept the status quo as adultsor work to change our country for the better?

    • Redbud October 31, 2017 at 2:23 am

      Bikeandfish, they SHOULD accept things as they are! As far as Make America Great Again, it’s actually not so much about change, as it is to preserve our heritage, and preserve the way our great country was before all the illegal immigrants ruined everything! See, us normal folks are now stuck un-doing the damage that has been done to our great country. All this snow-flake stuff going on in college is a great example of damaged students who need some fixin up!

      • bikeandfish October 31, 2017 at 10:01 am

        At least you wear your prejudice honestly. This campaign isn’t about any one minority group, nor can you take citizenship from a photo. “Our” heritage as a nation includes the cultures of the many minorities that live here.

        Not once have I seen a snowflake in these campaign but I definitely see it with white people freaking out over the reality of diversity.

    • Anon October 31, 2017 at 8:58 am

      bikeandfish, you are the only one in the comments (until the comment replying to yours) that even mentions the “Make America Great Again” slogan. How dare you assume that just because these other people have a differing opinion than yours that they are Trump supporters. That assumption is just as offensive as the racism you claim to be fighting against. Take a good look in the mirror. Hypocrisy, thy name is bikeandfish.

      • bikeandfish October 31, 2017 at 9:56 am

        Except…. I’ve spent 4 months interacting with them and watched them talk about being Trump voters. No assumptions regarding their vote. And not remotely the same as racism.

      • John October 31, 2017 at 2:12 pm

        bikeandfish must get tired always correcting everyone even though she is almost always wrong…sad existence to act like a know-it-all all the time, but actually just be a liberal blow hard.. It shows and it’s quite entertaining !

        • bikeandfish October 31, 2017 at 2:33 pm

          Given the context I think my point was proven. LBA…open and proud Trump voter who often talks about MAGA. John….open and vain Trump voter who hasn’t yet figured out my own political alignment but keeps making the same, wrong assumption every time. Redbud….openly fond of MAGA and interprets it to support a view of white supremacy. Seems I was quite right in my response this time.

          PS…John hasn’t once corrected me with any actual evidence, Anon. Unlike him, I have admitted I was wrong at least twice in a very open way with people I disagree. When shown facts I admit my mistakes. John just insults anyone and everyone with anything other than a very narrow conservative view, ie trolling.

          • John October 31, 2017 at 3:11 pm

            bikeandfish, too bad you are always wrong..laughable, but wrong and nobody but ed likes you..hahahaha!

          • John October 31, 2017 at 6:32 pm

            bikeandfish, You are one miserable leftist curmudgeon. we feel sorry for you.. but we still laugh AT you ! Costumes are not offensive… snowflakes offended by them are offensive.. get a life…you melt way too easily! hahaha!

        • bikeandfish October 31, 2017 at 3:25 pm

          Care to actually support your accusations? Maybe show folks you can think critically and rationally?

          • John October 31, 2017 at 7:08 pm

            I did support my accusations! Your’e a melting snowflake! just read your own posts..In fact your’e a pompous melting snowflake ! Disprove that !

          • bikeandfish October 31, 2017 at 8:41 pm

            Cue more insults? You have yet to find a way to provoke me in the months you have been trying. Nor have you ever supported your outrageous claims. At least get a little original and change it up every now and again. Snowflake is just plain stale.

          • John October 31, 2017 at 9:01 pm

            bikeandfish, your’e a pompous blowhard snowflake..there is no reason to try to appease you, you are incapable of actual logical reasoning..It’s more fun just to make fun of your long winded pointless diatribes. We all know that you think you are the only one carrying the torch for the uneducated masses,, hahaha! But you continue to sound off and proclaim your pompousness. It’s funny and many agree with me .. It’s only right if bikeandfish says so..(said no one ever) hahahahaha! POMPOUS BLOWHARD SNOWFLAKE.. all we have to do to know what you will say is read the liberal talking points of the day and there you are every time..

          • bikeandfish October 31, 2017 at 9:37 pm

            Not up to the challenge of original, effective insults or proving where I am wrong in actual posts? Come on, give it some effort man. If you are going try trolling at least do it well.

          • John October 31, 2017 at 9:52 pm

            more fun to watch you squirm.. you still haven’t proved you aren’t a pompous blowhard snowflake.. the more you open your mouth, the more you justify the name..I don’t need to prove anything to you! I just prove you wrong every time and you keep coming back for more. Just like one of those punching clowns…you are not very bright, your tires are low and the fishies are stinky… nighty night pompous snowflake!!!

          • bikeandfish October 31, 2017 at 10:53 pm

            Really? Stinky fish is the best you got? I heard worse in grade school.

  • ladybugavenger October 31, 2017 at 7:02 am

    My husband is all for no one dressing up as a Native American as a costume. I said, you should be proud people want to be like you. He said, not as a costume, one day a year. He said, if they dressed up everyday-that would be different.

    That’s why I’ll be going as a white women and not as a native American.

    • ladybugavenger October 31, 2017 at 7:05 am

      Halloween offends me. It’s dark, it’s celebrates nothing light.

    • Anon October 31, 2017 at 8:54 am

      I kind of feel the opposite. I feel it would be more offensive to try to emulate the culture you are not apart of every day versus paying tribute to it one day a year. Remember, these outfits aren’t normally worn by the culture every day, just as a costume for certain events. I certainly didn’t see a bunch of Hawaiians walking around Maui in dancing attire. That said, I agree. I don’t much like Halloween. It seem like an excuse for people to dress and act inappropriately.

      • ladybugavenger October 31, 2017 at 12:44 pm

        Yeah, my husband probably would say a bunch of stuff if someone dressed up everyday lol he’s like that. But you can’t change the man. You just have to respect him. 🙂

  • T-Rex October 31, 2017 at 11:15 am

    This whole movement is ridiculous. I’m Mexican, 2nd gen American, my Best friend is 100 Native American, my daughter’s best friend is Chinese, 1st Gen American and none of us see dressing in a cultural costume as degrading. My daughter dressed in traditional Mexican attire and one of her class mates said that it was ride to make fun of “those people”. My daughter, 8 years old, had to explain that she WAS one of “those people” and she loved the dress her great grandmother, who was a traditional Mexican dancer, gave her. Even when dressing up as the thug version of the culture it’s not because people are making fun. It’s just FUN to be someone you’re NOT for one night. Just because I might dress a a vampire, Michael Meyers (Friday the 13th) or anything else does NOT mean I want to be a serial killer, or drink human blood! Everyone needs to stop MAKING everything racist and allow Halloween to be what it is! A fun way to be someone or something else for one night a year and not have to be ourselves.

    • bikeandfish October 31, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      I think you highlight a difference between what your daughter did and the example of a white person dressing up as “thug version” of another culture. Your daughter is actually dressing up as someone she admires in a culture she is member of and clearly respects. That is how culture is shared and passed down. I can imagine nothing but pride to hear a child say that about their family and a tradition their grandmother was a part of.

      Borrowing stereotypical dress from “thug” culture is completely different. But look at the four photos and examples SUU highlighted here:

      https://www.suu.edu/news/2017/10/culture-not-a-costume.html

      Do any of those look like a respectful representation of culture? Each individual is talking about how its not. Take a look at the second one from the left. Is dawning blackface and gross stereotypes of some magazine version of African culture respectful?

      Dressing up as fictional characters like Micheal Meyers and vampires is fair game. They are manufactured fabrications that allow a person to role play for fun. The idea of this campaign is that dressing up as a misrepresentation of a minority culture is not the same and taps into very specific historical, and current, issues. Its plays into how our country stereotypes minorities in egregious ways. Its not a new conversation. Individuals, especially tribal members, have been critiquing the use of ceremonial headdress but non-native Americans for years. Just google the issue in relation to the fashion industry.

      There are plenty of options for costumes that allow one to role play for a night that don’t trespass on these issues. Its fine if you don’t perceive any racism in these ads. But expecting others to ignore their own experiences of such racism isn’t a good faith request. Maybe ask such individuals what it is that is racist about such outfits. Ask them what they have experienced that has informed that perspective. Maybe take the time to read through the countless articles about how costumes of thug culture, middle eastern stereotypes, misrepresentations of native tribes or Polynesians actually affects minorities, especially in small towns. As the organization stated, this is about a constructive conversation.

Leave a Reply