Halloween is approaching very fast and now is about the time people are scrambling to find costumes. Today, I am here to break down ten costumes you should not wear due to cultural appropriation.
An Asian princess
This is more for the parents. The idea of seeing your child as a princess is beautiful but please, do not put your child in a dress that is incorrectly imitating someone else's culture. Putting your child in a Kimono not only is disrespectful to Japanese culture, but it also devalues it. Especially when actual people from Japanese descent are judged for wearing them, you cannot wear someone else's culture as a costume.
We all know cultural appropriation is wrong, but it makes it even worse when you take someone's culture and oversexualize it as a costume. Gypsies can refer to nomadic peoples of Romanian descent, but more specifically, people imagine an example of Romanian women like the one portrayed above. In some countries, the word gypsy has such a negative connotation that it is considered a slur. Please do not sexualize someone else’s culture in the form of a costume.
Maui from Moana
Now this one might be a bit of a shock because Maui is a character from a Disney movie, and you might be thinking “How can a Disney character be offensive?” Well, Maui is from Hawaii and while they are a part of the United States, they do still have their own distinct culture. Hawaiian culture was very accurately portrayed in the movie, from their clothes to even some of their beliefs in gods. Dressing up like this character is very disrespectful. Once again, do not use someone else’s culture as a costume!
Anything that involves blackface
This should be self-explanatory. Blackface is not only cultural appropriation, but it is extremely racist and is not tolerated. Black skin is not a trend and is not a costume. Mocking someone’s skin is not funny nor should anyone tolerate it. Black people are killed daily for their skin and you cannot paint it on and take it off whenever you want. Do not wear someone’s skin as a costume!
A Native American
Native Americans were considered savages for wearing their cultural garb. Especially when Christopher Columbus got here and killed them all. It is not fair when anyone else gets to just put on their culture as a costume without consequence. Dressing up as a Native American is one thing, but buying a cheap, inaccurate costume is a completely different realm of disrespect. Once again, stop wearing someone else’s culture as a costume.
In conclusion, culture is a special thing. It’s what makes different races different, allowing them to see other’s perspectives. Most cultures are curated in mainstream pop-culture because they are seen as a trend. This Halloween, let’s change that. Respect other people's cultures. There’s a difference between appropriation and appreciation.
By Jeanni Floyd