Throughout October, universities across the nation are warning their students against Halloween costumes some consider offensive.
Gone are the days when college students could dress up without fear of being reported to a bias response team. In recent years, more and more campus leaders have made it their mission to warn students what not to wear.
Fliers, memos, workshops and more impart the admonitions.
“Unacceptable costumes” listed on a University of St. Thomas diversity flier are “wearing Native American headdresses, dressing up as a ‘Mexican’ by wearing a sombrero, dressing as a ‘geisha,’ any form of blackface.”
“Cultural appropriation is defined as ‘the act of taking intellectual and cultural expressions from a culture that is not your own, without showing that you understand or respect the culture,’” explains a University of St. Thomas diversity memo to students.
“This can be as simple as wearing a Dashiki without knowledge or respect to West African culture, and as serious as wearing a fake Native American headdress without any regard of its sacredness,” adds the memo. “It generally incorporates a history of prejudice and discrimination by perpetuating long-standing stereotypes.”
At UC Santa Barbara, a social justice workshop set for Tuesday will delve into how Halloween costumes abuse “indigenous wear” and teach students how to “spot appropriation with the help of bell hooks’ essay ‘Eating the Other.’”
At a “Conversation Circle” at Princeton University this Sunday, students will “engage in a dialogue about the impact of cultural appropriation, Halloween, and why culture is not a costume.”
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