Don’t know if you’ve seen the “We’re A Culture, Not A Costume” campaign posters that have been going around on Facebook, but they’re popping up like wildfire in my feed, and I’m loving it. In the posters, normal people hold up pictures of people wearing super offensive costumes that depict their race or culture in an exaggerated, stereotyped way–like a cute guy from what looks like Middle Eastern descent holding up a photo of some white dude dressed as a “Middle Eastern terrorist” with a bomb strapped to his chest. The copy reads, “This is NOT who I am, and this is NOT okay.”
It’s a great statement and one I couldn’t agree with more. A lot of cultures and groups of people have had to live through hell just because of the color of their skin or their beliefs. To masquerade as part of another culture to be funny (I think the terrorist was meant to be funny, but um, NO, it’s not) or to be “sexy”, like in a geisha costume–which carries out the stereotype of Asian women being sex objects, is gross.
I have a sense of humor about a lot of things, but racism isn’t really something that we can excuse or say it’s okay because someone is just “having a little fun.” Stereotypes suck, they hurt people, and they keep us from actually getting to know each other and everything that makes each of us so freaking amazing.
Remember that awesome show Pepper Ann? Right, well, she learned this lesson in one of my favorite episodes. Wanna watch? (of course you do):
So, let’s all agree on something, okay? Please don’t paint your face another skin tone this Halloween to try to be someone of a different race (I shouldn’t have to say this, but blackface and brownface aren’t funny, people!), and avoid being a walking stereotype of ANY kind. I mean, we all know you’re a lot more creative than that, anyway.
What would you do if your friends wore offensive costumes like these? Would you say something? What are you going to be for Halloween this year? Tell us in the comments.