White people, we need to talk.
It’s Halloween again, and before you rush out and assemble your costume, we should discuss the elephant in the room: cultural appropriation. It’s an elephant, not because it’s unnoticed, but because it’s big, imposing and stinks. Like an elephant in a room, it’s hard to determine exactly how it got there.
One by one, schools are either banning Halloween outright or mandating which costumes one may wear, on the Orwellian pretense of inclusion. To be fair, Halloween can be a major pain in the ass for the school hosting it, particularly among children. Here are a few reasons from a Huffington Post article on the subject that doesn’t involve political correctness:
1. Due to increase in supervision duties, teachers do not have the time to dress or apply make up for up to 30 students in their classrooms.
2. Increase in the need to monitor and address appropriate dress and socially acceptable costumes.
3. Costumes are hot and uncomfortable causing irritation and often crying.
4. Too many upset students when costumes become torn, lost or parts forgotten at school.
5. Many costumes are dangerous on the playground and impedes moving comfortably and or are not conducive to the learning environment.
6. Costumes and parading increases apprehension in an increasing number of students who are presently experiencing anxiety issues — which can result in crying, worrying and withdrawn type of behaviors.
7. We also have an increase in number of students who cannot be photographed whom we have an obligation to protect so this can be difficult to monitor.
You might feel a school should be able to restrict Halloween costumes—they do have dress codes after all—but it’s not just kids whose choices are being restricted. Every year, new stories emerge of college administrators punishing (often severely) students who make the mistake of wearing a “culturally insensitive costume”, but if they’re going to restrict costumes, tasteless and offending ones should make the list, right?
Consider one mother’s explanation of what she has to put her daughter through:
The message my daughter got was that she could not pretend — could not even imagine herself — to be a Native person. She got the message that a barrier existed between herself and the “Native princess’ she wanted to be — the barrier of race. And nothing could surmount that barrier. Not even a child’s imagination.
At first, it seems like dressing up as other cultures is an indefensible position. It might be worthwhile to explore that. Firstly, we couldn’t help notice many of the people who claim it is offensive to dress up like another culture during Halloween tend to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, a day devoted to the most offensive Irish stereotypes. Why doesn’t it strike any of these people as odd, dressing up like the Irish one day, and then on another day, not a month and a half later, berating people for celebrating Cinco De Mayo? Are they not essentially the same holiday in how they’re celebrated, i.e. dressing up like another culture, drinking, and propagating derogatory stereotypes?
This blatant hypocrisy alone should be cited to instantly negate any charge of cultural appropriation about Halloween costumes or Cinco De Mayo. The conversation should look like this:
A: “Your costume is offensive”.
B: “See you on St. Patty’s”.
The latest case making the rounds is that the Moana costume is offensive. The fact she’s a (fictional) Hawaiian character makes this controversy absurd. We’re to tell our children it’s offensive to Hawaiians to dress up as them, yet the first thing you’re greeted with upon arriving at the islands is a Hawaiian putting a lei (i.e a part of their culture) on you. Imagine cultural appropriation being thrust upon you—it would be an insult to refuse.
And therein lies the problem. Who gets to decide what’s offensive? Is every community offended by “culturally insensitive costumes”; did we take a census of that community to determine if something bothers the majority of them, and is this even a sufficient reason to browbeat others for exercising their right to free speech and free expression? As an Irish-Canadian, people of any ethnicity imitating derogatory Irish stereotypes don’t offend me nearly as much as the idea of restricting it. While many colleges thankfully promote and support St. Patrick’s day, we couldn’t help notice the ideological inconsistency.
Even if you accept the idea of cultural appropriation as a terrible thing, Moana is a particular character; I thought cultural appropriation in Halloween costumes was about offensive stereotypes? What about Moana is an offensive stereotype? It’s all so confusing.
You might be thinking this is a pretty trivial matter, but ask yourself:
Is it possible the yearly ratcheting of restrictions on Halloween costumes has been bleeding into the culture overall?
Recently our moral sherpas pointed to hoop earrings as another egregious offense. We couldn’t help notice these same people typically smoke marijuana and practice yoga; acts which perfectly fit the definition, yet seem to slip by unnoticed. Perhaps we would do best to remember the old adage involving glass houses and stones.
Keep in mind, school boards across both Canada and the United States are removing”offensive” appropriations throughout their administrations. Whether it’s tearing down a totem-pole built as a sign of respect and peace, or scrubbing all references of “Chief”, as with the Toronto District School Board—all with no one having actually complained. The idea an administration responsible for education couldn’t bother to look up the etymology of chief, which is of French origin, predating the discovery of the New World, is appalling.
If you’re wondering why school boards and corporations are drinking the social justice kool-aid, we touched on it a bit last week. Mandatory Diversity Training is the Jim Jones of social justice to administrations in the West, trying to shield themselves from frivolous litigations.
These ideologies are leading to anxiety and depression amongst its members, showing us that in the game of victimhood, no one is a winner—so why play it at all? What’s disturbing is, this is all using children, who are too young to fend off these attacks. If what a child wears is so upsetting to you, you probably have bigger issues to deal with.
So, what outfit are you or your children actually allowed to wear, according to the PC police? Images of tan or gray bodysuits come to mind.
As ridiculous as this seems, it’s worth noting many people dress up as witches for Halloween, in spite of there being a rather large “Wiccan” community in America. Will we be hearing from them next Halloween? Where does it end?
If it wasn’t offensive yesterday, why should we accept it as offensive today?
Dave Rubin will bring this point home:
A case is now being made it is racist for white girls to dress as white princesses due to such costumes glorifying “white beauty” and promoting “white privilege”. So no Disney princesses at all for your little girl.