Having a pretty classic conversation with two of my closest friends, Gloria and Jasmine, thoughts arose around Halloween costume ideas. As we tossed around ideas, Glo shared a very interesting point.
In standard charge of wokeness, we know that appropriating cultures for the sake of Halloween is not okay. Geisha= bad, Native headdress=bad, blackface=ass whooping. But as our discussion unpacked, Glo shared that when it comes to making a joke of any other group of people you don’t represent, it is just as bad.
Below is a list of some of costumes and props that are NOT okay:
Religious inspired costumes
Amputee, wheelchair, or other differently abled people
Inmate, homeless person, “nerd” or any other marginalized person
Any racial stereotype or interpretation. Any.
Anyone connected to sexual assault, domestic violence, or violent crime
Sensationalizing of transgender people
Any real dead person covered in blood or mimicking the way he/she died
Sexualizing stuff that’s not supposed to be sexy
Blackface (I know I said it, but I’m saying it again)
Of course, I can hear folk now. “Where do we draw the line?” I guess, I can’t wear cowboy boots or eat a burrito ever again, huh? That’s not what I mean. Oppression is oppression, and for anybody to make light of the experience of a disempowered group is not okay.
Moral of the story: people are living their lives and many have had their lives challenged or even taken (sometimes at their own hands), because of the bodies they are in. They do not get to “take it off.” Of all the great things we can be this Halloween, be mindful. Just because it’s not hateful makes it no less hurtful.