Afros, sombreros, and racial stereotypes? Hell no!

“Just say no” to cultural appropriation this Halloween

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Illustration by Marika Van de Kamp

During the last few years, cultural appropriation has jumped into the spotlight as a problematic trend white people don’t seem to want to give up. Halloween is rapidly approaching, and I highly recommend avoiding appropriating other cultures with racial stereotype-based costumes. Dressing up as caricatures of other people’s cultures is unnecessary, disrespectful and lazy.

From Coachella to Halloween, there have been cries for this to stop, and your failure to do so makes you a fuckin’ r-word. That word is racist. Sorry if that hurts your feelings, but demanding your feelings be considered when you fail to consider others’ makes you look like an asshole.

Here’s a costume idea: Just dress up like two spread buttcheeks and then your face can be the ever-consuming asshole. Sippin’ booze and shaking your costume on the dance floor will surely be a hit this year. Bonus points if you get so drunk you puke up whatever party foods you remember to eat. Then your costume evolves into “filthy butthole.”

Pimp and hoe? No and no.

Pimp and hoe is not a cute couple’s costume. Not only is this culturally offensive but also incredibly demeaning to women. Treating women like property, sex slavery, and physical abuse isn’t funny. Are you trying to empower sex workers and fight for their rights with your prostitute costume? Probably not, so don’t do it.

Afros are awesome. Turning them into a joke costume while simultaneously living in a country where the FBI just labeled black identity organizations “terrorists” is disgusting. Black students of all ages have been harassed and suspended from schools for having natural hair. You don’t get to wear a fake ‘fro while others are being oppressed because that’s how their hair grows.

“Pocahottie?” Poca-not-happening

Don’t wear a headdress.

At Standing Rock last year, Native Americans protested a pipeline that bulldozed through their land and destroyed sacred sites including burial grounds. The pipeline was initially supposed to go through a nearby mostly white town, but they didn’t want it. Protesters were attacked by dogs and shot with rubber bullets and water in sub-zero temperatures as this country allowed these atrocious human rights violations to pile up. This country continues to oppress the First Nations, and you don’t get to mock their culture just because Steve’s Costume Emporium doesn’t have a moral compass.

Sorry America, you’re too racist

Trump complained about Puerto Rico throwing the U.S. budget out of whack for getting pummeled by a hurricane shortly after rapidly approving aid funding for Houston and Florida. Black people are being shot by police for no reason and this country disagrees when activists ask for justice. Citizens of entire countries are facing a ban from entering the U.S. because of their religion. Our president got elected after calling Mexican-Americans rapists.

Like Mexican stuff? Throw away your sombrero. Instead, a great couple’s costume would be you and your partner wearing normal clothes. Then you can tell people you’re Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta and together you founded the National Farm Workers Union. To be in character, you can research and tell people about the importance of Chavez and Huerta’s lives.

White people are not doing enough to protect marginalized cultures. Other people’s cultures are not jokes. If you choose to dress up as a racist cartoon’s version of another culture, don’t be surprised when people say you look like an asshole.

As I said, just save yourself the trouble and dress up like an actual butthole.

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