The following reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
Happy Halloween, kids!
Let’s get in the spirit this year without getting into costumes that appropriate other cultures.
This isn’t even something that should need to be said, but we have a history here at Miami of being insensitive to minority cultures and just flat out racist.
As a school, we have a dark and twisted relationship with cultural appropriation and racism.
But we’re all adults, and at this point, should be more than aware of what a problematic Halloween costume is.
So, if anyone actually does decide to dress up in an offensive way, you have no excuse at this point other than willful ignorance and complete lack of empathy and awareness.
Yes, parties might be smaller this year because of COVID-19, but don’t think, just because you’ll be with close friends, that means you have an opportunity to get away with being offensive. Phones exist, guys — other people are going to see you.
It’s not just blackface we’re talking about either — it’s dressing up in any way that insults a culture that is not your own, which goes beyond just the Black community.
By the way, if you want to wear a beautiful gown with a tiny purse and hold a microphone so you can fulfill your dream of being Lizzo for a night — it’s OK to do that!
What wouldn’t be OK, non-Black people, is if you painted your skin a darker color and walked around all night talking in African American Vernacular English. Duh.
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You can dress up as a person but not a culture.
Also, if you’re not sure whether your costume idea is within the realm of cultural appropriation, it probably is. Even if you do research online to come up with a defense just in case you get called out, we’re willing to bet most people who see you wearing won’t care to ask or do any research of their own before having that thought themselves.
Basically, when in doubt, don’t.
None of this information is meant to scare you into being too afraid to experience or celebrate other cultures. But buying a $50 Native American polyester costume off spirithalloween.com is not the way to accomplish that.
The line is here — Halloween is about a spectacle; appreciation is about education.
So, if you’re truly that interested in Native American culture, learn about it and its practices so you can participate in a way that is respectful. Don’t put on a headdress and refer to yourself as “Chief” for a whole night and then throw the thing out or lose it the next day.
If you see somebody in a problematic costume, call them out — they deserve it.
And, if you’re reading this and are upset because we’ve killed your top three ideas, get over it. Seriously, it’s Halloween, and we are fully grown adults — it’s not that deep.
Just be a vampire or something.