Culture Is Not For Dress Up

Costumes are limitless, yet demands sensitivity

In the words of Samantha White (played by black actress Logan Browning) in “Dear White People,” on the top of the list of unacceptable costumes is me.
   Halloween is one day of the year that people with racial privilege think that they can use a culture for “the homage,” but they don’t know that Halloween isn’t a homage at all. Non people of color have absolutely no business in borrowing or using any culture for their own benefit.
   The real issue that lies under the layers of sexualized costumes and inaccurate portrayals is the fact that the majority of cultural-appropriating WASPs don’t seem to understand why copying the elegance of religious symbols is offensive.
   Stealing a piece of culture from a minority is backhanded support. Sporting a bindi or headdress does not show any “interest” or “understanding” of Hindi and Native American culture. Using meaningful pieces as props or decoration proves not only that one does not care about the culture, but also that one chooses to ignore the oppression of the members of that culture.
   Halloween unfortunately attracts ignorance when it comes to culture-based costumes. The only “okay” time to wear something out of one’s culture is in the event of a person (in that culture) personally inviting one to wear an ethic dress or clothing piece. Invitations usually mean a bond or friendship between two people with a pre-established understanding of the meaning of the symbol.
   This Halloween, it shouldn’t be hard to not be offensive. Choose something original, not copied.
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