Halloween and Cultural Appropriation


Halloween and Cultural Appropriation

CULTURE:How the war over cultural appropriation should be addressed and dealt with.

By Margarita Hovsepyan| Opinions Editor
November 16, 2017

“People with different backgrounds rubbing up against each other and exchanging ideas and practices is self-evidently one of the most productive, fascinating aspects of modern urban life.” -Lionel Shriver, author.

And yet, one of the most celebrated holidays in America, Halloween, is still coming under fire. People are now afraid to dress in the costume of their choice, for fear of being labeled culturally insensitive.

In turn, cultural appropriation is taking the media by storm.

There are now guidelines being published for caucasians to follow on how to celebrate Halloween without culturally appropriating.

Disney recalls Maui boy’s costume from Moana, after receiving backlash for supposedly portraying a form of blackface.

College campuses are once again pushing forward the “We’re a Culture, Not a Costume” campaign.

Teen Vogue Prints how cultural appropriation “is the manifestation of one of the earliest, most enduring racist ideals: the belief that people who belong to marginalized cultures are somehow less than human.”

We pride ourselves in living in a nation of great personal freedom of expression. And yet still, we can’t take on the role of another for a day, without fears of receiving backlash.

In the spirit of the holidays, cultural appropriation is scary. It is, by part, a form of censorship.

No, Caucasians (or any other race for that matter) should not follow guidelines or be told how to dress.

No, a children’s costume should not be recalled with the fear that those of non-Polynesian descent might wear it.

No, Halloween is not a holiday meant to discriminate or disrespect minorities or certain cultures.

No Teen Vogue, wearing Halloween costumes of a culture you don’t belong to is not a form of dehumanizing the persons belonging to the culture in question.

In fact, by wearing costumes, people are showing their desire to be like the character they’re portraying. As blogger Robby Soave perfectly sums up, “It’s a joy-killing, curiosity-shaming, inclusion-discouraging theory.”

Let’s stop this move toward a hyper-sensitive society. Let’s stop trying to find racism where it doesn’t exists. Let’s dress as one another, have fun, and celebrate without adding such a dreary and unnecessary tint to the greatest holiday of the year.

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