Staff editorial: How to not be offensive on Halloween
The spookiest night of the year is approaching, and as always, the week following Halloween will feature news about the most offensive costumes that people wore.
We’ve seen everything – from Julianne Hough using blackface to imitate an “Orange is the New Black” character and Prince Harry attending a Halloween party in Nazi uniform, to the tight-fitting skeleton dress called “Anna Rexia” by its creators.
We shouldn’t need to explain why each of these costumes is offensive. Any costume that references past abuse against a racial group or makes light of mental health issues is in bad taste, and should not even be on the market.
However, these costumes are not going away. There will always be those who find it funny to poke fun at issues they don’t understand or can’t relate to. But that doesn’t mean we have to play along.
This year, put some thought into your costume – really think. Ask yourself if what you’re wearing targets a specific demographic, and if so, does it portray them in a negative light? Hint: if you’re not part of that group yourself, it’s probably best to think of something else.
While the classic costumes – witches, zombies, vampires, ghosts – are always safe bets that can be personalized and given a new twist, it’s always fun to dress up as something that reflects the times.
Going with a friend as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman is funny. Wearing a “sexy Ebola containment suit” is not.
That’s not a joke – such a suit is already on the market, according to the Huffington Post. When almost 5,000 people have died from the epidemic in West Africa, wearing such a “suit” – a dress that does not even come down to the model’s knees – is incredibly offensive. It’s just as bad as the Ray Rice costume, in which a man wearing Baltimore Raven gear dragged around a life-size doll of a woman, meant to represent the NFL player’s wife, Janay Rice.
Halloween is often seen as the day on which everything is acceptable and social sensitivity flies out the window, but this is a harmful attitude. Have fun on Friday, and use your costumes to show off your interests and creativity, not to make light of a historically racist or sensitive issue. And most importantly – stay safe, Coogs.