The thing about race is that it is hard. It’s hard to include without creating a standardized image of race. It’s hard to embrace cultures without creating separation. It’s hard to be politically correct when the line is so transparent between acknowledgement and prejudice.
It’s just hard.
But this is no excuse for the examples I am seeing in today’s generation when it comes to Halloween.
Halloween is my favorite time of year. And it’s not about candy.
It is the opportunity to be someone else for the day. To completely diminish my whole life for a day and replace it with someone else’s. The ultimate the actor’s fantasy come to life without payment.
Costume design is my biggest passion, something I would love to do for a living. The essence of creating a character based on clothes is an amazing art and talent. And we leave this in the hands of people every year on October 31st or whatever weekend comes before it.
Sometimes you have an instant hit and other times, you just wish the holiday didn’t exist at all.
Case and point: costumes based on a racial stereotype, controversial situation, or an existing character of another race.
This is when race gets hard. What is that line between safe and sorry when dressing as someone else, especially as someone of a different race?
Let’s start with the good. I believe these are great examples of character rendition for Halloween. They took the overall feel of the person they are portraying well keeping a part of themselves. They used traits, outfits, makeup, and accessories to capture the mood with the character. You can see more here. This is the Halloween I love.
And now to the bad.
Let’s start with Julianne Hough. *sigh*
You are a public figure. You have fans. Some of those fans look up to you for guidance. Most of those fans respect your judgement. All in all, people are engaged in your decision making process. Which makes this unacceptable.
Now, celebrities can preach all day that they did not sign up to be a role model which I completely agree with but the price of fame is the public in every aspect of your life, wanted or not. By all means, live your life boo boo but when you are in direct violation of previous racial slurs and practices, you should be held accountable.
By no means is blackface okay, whether you use paint or bronzer. The mere fact that she thought this was “genius” is quite disturbing.
For those of you claiming that “It’s just a costume, she wanted to dress the part,” she could have without the blackface. She already had the outfit, the hairstyle, the name badge, what else do you need?
To put it in a non-black perspective, what if I were to dressed up like Julianne Hough: blue contacts, blonde hair, plaid shirt, ripped shorts, and paint myself pale? I don’t think it would be funny.
Moving on to the second picture…
This is WAY too soon. But I knew it was coming. You come to a point in life where you are just numb to anger. I am numb to this picture.
Not only is this costume racist, it is insensitive. To death. To crime. To injustice. No part of this is as fun as these “characters” make it seem. To add insult to blackface, we have a White or Latino male actively representing the oppressor.
Again, by no means is reenacting a controversial situation okay. Examples include the KKK, Arab terrorists, Nazis, or slave owners.
Speaking of slave owners, for the third picture…
*moment of silence*
WHAT THE FUDGE WERE YOU THINKING?!
This picture right here… It made me laugh. But not in a HA-HA sense, more like “I’m embarrassed and angry and I don’t know what to do with myself” type thing. It combines the top two pictures but involves a person that matches the character’s race. In a degrading way. Not only is this utterly disgusting, it makes you speechless.
What do you say to someone with so much ignorance? Someone who is willing participating in internalized racism? And thinks it’s fun?! It literally makes you laugh. Is this real life?
There is so many things wrong with this picture that I can not even begin to touch on: the noose, the bucket of cotton, the idea of it being interactive with people. It’s shocking. But the most frightening thing is that it is a Black woman dressed up like this.
By no means is this ever okay! None of it. For Black people to play racially charged characters of their own race like the typical House Mama, a whipped slave, an obedient butler, a crackhead, picnic negro eating watermelon and fried chicken, etc is blasphemy.
And you should be ashamed of yourself. Because not only are you hurting yourself, you are disregarding tragic events that happened to your heritage and spitting upon years of oppression, segregation, and pain. And nothing about that, my dear, is funny.
But, I wanted to end this post on a specific point.
By no means does it make it okay to bash other races.
I’m not just talking about the costumes posted here.
I’m talking the comments to these pictures that I have been reading.
Yes, I agree that they are offensive and light should be shred on how inappropriate they are, however, this does NOT give privilege to the oppressed race to group the opposite race as a whole based on one’s people stupid decision. One person does not represent a race. When you retaliate against an offensive situation by disrespecting a member of the other race that had nothing to do with that initial situation, you have become a racist.
And that does not lead to fixing a problem, it intensives the groupthink that penetrates racial stereotypes in our society today.
Race will never go away. It is what makes this Earth rich with diversity and it should stay that way. We should be different from one another. We should have cultural customs that empower us to see an alternative perspective. And we should forever respect those differences.
But not like this. This is not a celebration, this is ridicule. And it is a continued oppression toward all races based on controversial situations that strike a nerve in all of us.
So instead of dressing like this and commenting without thinking, take a step back out or a minute and ask yourself, would my Mother be offended if I were to dress like this in front of her? (And I say your Mother because it’s more than likely she lived through the situation and has a better understanding of moral etiquette than you) If the answer is yes, don’t do it.
What are your thoughts on the Halloween situation?
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