How Not To Be a Bigot This Halloween

By Kaela Anderson, Lifestyle Editor
Photography courtesy of Teen Vogue via Pinterest

2018 has been quite the year — with social media as a constant presence in our lives, it’s quite do able to keep yourself informed. From celebs in the public eye to great films to fashion trends, anything is up for grabs this Halloween costume shopping season, right? Wrong.

Now more than ever, it’s important to check double check that costume you’ve been contemplating for a month. No one should be wearing an appropriative costume just because they like the hairstyle, or because it’s their favorite character. It’s important to understand the history of your costume before you put it on.

Halloween is prime time for cultural appropriators to take to the streets and really show off what no one should ever do “just for fun.” So let’s talk about approaching this Halloween as respectfully as possible.

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Let’s start off with Julianne Hough’s recreation of Orange Is The New Blacks’, Uza Aduba with this black face jumpsuit ensemble. Aside from the obscene amount of fake tan Hough is wearing, her recreation of Bantu Knots is unacceptable. Bantu Knots come African culture, and aren’t meant to be worn playfully by white women, or anyone who is not of African descent. Black people for centuries have been oppressed, their culture has been taken from them and shamed, and now it is being used in everyday culture by those who are not black. Black hairstyles are truly something that help create a sense of identity, confidence and pride in their culture. Bantu Knots were created by the Bantu people — a name that labels about a few hundred groups in central and southern Africa.

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Dia de los Muertos is another commonly abused Halloween costume. While the skeleton look definitely feels topical for Halloween, many who don’t actually know the significance of Dia de los Muertos just wear it as a cool look. Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that honors those who have passed away, and support their spiritual journey, and using it as a costume can trivialize that celebration of life and death. It’s important to respect others cultures, and not alter them to fit into a cute or trendy look that will get you compliments at the door of your Halloween parties.

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Native Americans are also up there on the don’t list — since when was it okay to dressing up as a minority group when you know nothing about their culture or their struggles? Native Americans have struggled with their own identity from as far back as the 15th century when Christopher Columbus colonized them. After being stripped from their culture, relocated from their homes and recovering from a genocide, using tribal names, identifying with many of the traditional ways of their culture is something important for Native Americans. It’s important to recognize and accept that someone else’s historically filled culture is okay to not be yours as well. Commonly packaged as “Pocahontas” and overtly sexualized, this costume crosses so many lines.

There are still so many things to know about how to go through life without appropriating another person’s culture — and there is most definitely a difference between appropriation and appreciation, but let’s take this one step at a time. Being mindful of others cultures this Halloween isn’t a suggestion but a requirement, and there’s no time like the present to start changing your ways for the better.

Happy Halloween!