Halloween and Appropriation
With Halloween rapidly approaching, I am sure you have already begun to plan who or what you will be dressing up as. I am all for the idea of having a fun night to be someone or something else. However, it is important to note that there are some things that you should avoid, especially if it is disrespectful to others.
Cultural appropriation is when someone from a privileged status (not a part of said minority) chooses to take identity markers or culture of a minority community without acknowledging what they are doing and how it can be a harmful stereotype. The existence of another person is not comical.
Cultural appropriation is an issue because it typically perpetuates a racist stereotype, such as those towards Native Americans, African Americans, and Asians. This is one of the main differences between appropriation and appreciation. With cultural appreciation, you have good intentions that lead you to truly learn about that culture to better understand it through educating yourself.
Some common examples of things being done in poor taste are “black face” and dressing as a terrorist. Degrading someone’s identity takes away the importance that it holds to that culture. One thing to keep in mind is that this is just your costume for the night, but it is someone’s identity for their whole life. If it’s not your culture, you can realistically find something else to dress up as.
With the popularity of Netflix’s new show, “Dahmer—Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”, I am going to take a wild guess and say that some skinny, blonde-haired boy is thinking that he has found the perfect costume. I feel like it should not need to be said, but I will spell it out anyways since there is a constant lack of remorse for victims on social media. DO NOT DRESS AS A SERIAL KILLER FOR HALLOWEEN.
Dressing as a figure who is not a fictional character–like Freddy Krueger–is just insanely insensitive. Image that someone in your family was brutally murdered, so tons of people—for fun—dress up as the person who killed them. I understand that Halloween is meant to be scary and celebrate the macabre.
However, Jeffry Dahmer was a real person who, not even that long ago, killed seventeen real people and did unspeakably horrific things to their bodies. To this day, his actions still cause damage to the Black community, and families of the victims have expressed their disapproval for the show itself, as well as the people who are dressing up as the killer. Traumas from victims are not a Halloween costume.
If you stop to ask yourself if your costume will offend someone, you probably should not wear it. Realistically, you can come up with something better. I hope you are original and empathetic enough to figure out when you are crossing the line. Being mindful is intentional, and something that can always be improved upon.