Letter From the Editor

Let’s talk about racist costumes. On Halloween, I was standing in line at Chipotle with apparently the rest of America, checking out all the crazy costumes and feeling really festive and like a great parent for thinking to stuff my kids with boo-ritos before taking them out to trick-or-treat. Full of burritos = not as much room for candy, right? (It didn’t work though, they still ate a metric crapton of candy.)

But as I was standing in line admiring costumes, I noticed that some people didn’t get the memo that racist costumes are out this year (and next year and every year). I saw three different sombrero-wearing, poncho-sporting “Mexicans,” a girl wearing war paint like a Native American, and some girl just randomly wearing a Vietnamese straw hat (she phoned it in—with a racist costume).

So yeah. I’m not the costume police, and I get that they didn’t mean to be offensive (I hope they didn’t anyway), that it’s just Halloween, it’s no big deal, and so on with all the excuses. But your racist costumes are not ok. It’s in poor taste, it’s ignorant, and it lacks a certain basic human decency. Nobody’s trying to kill your Halloween spirit, but if you’re going to dress up, you should steer toward wearing something that doesn’t enforce centuries of destructive stereotypes, marginalize any particular population, or straight up make fun of an entire culture. “But Sara, it’s just a joke. Who died and made you the PC police?” Well my racist friend, get better jokes. And don’t worry, refraining from racist cultural appropriation will not take all the fun out of Halloween. There are literally endless supplies of costume ideas to choose from that don’t involve dehumanizing another culture or ethnicity. You now have an entire year to plan a better costume!

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Sara makes the words happen.