Halloween is upon us and it’s always an especially tricky time for people of color. We want to have fun like anyone else, but time and again we’ve got to remind people that our cultures are not costumes.
Few have done it better than the students of color at Ohio University who launched a public awareness campaign a couple of years ago to draw attention to raicst Halloween costumes. However, it’s still worth taking a look at the racism and thoughtlessness behind some perinniel Halloween favorites.
1. When American Apparel does Frida Khalo:
It seems like pissing off communities of color is part of American Apparell’s DNA. Almost every season, there’s a “Native” print or farmworker t-shirt that accessorizes the struggles of iconic heroes of color.
(Photo: americanapparellusa Instagram)
2. That time Walmart sold an Osama Bin Laden costume:
It took a lot of pressure from the Sikh community to finally get the company to stop selling this:
3. Every awful Fun World costume:
During the whole Osama Bin Laden costume debacle at Walmart, Angry Asian Man decided to take a look other costumes manufactured by the same company, Fun World Costumes. What he wound up with was a treasure trove of racist dress-up:
4.When white high school girls dress up as “border patrol”:
Now to be fair, this wasn’t a Halloween costume. Even worse: it was a day during Spirit Week at Southern California’s Canyon High school last year when students dressed up as “Mexicans” and border patrol agents. The OC Weekly kept up with the story of the school which, suprise, also has an indigenous mascot.
5. The “illegal alien” costume:
(Photo: discontinued Target catalogue)
6. Any and every blackface costume:
But especially the so-called “Hurricaine Katrina looter,” the “Serena Williams,” and Aunt Jemima.
7. These “Chop Suey” specs:
(Photo: Miss Fipi Lele.)
8. Whatever this is trying to be:
Amazon recently sold this “Big Kahuna” costume that makes fun of indigenous Hawaiian culture. Thankfully, it’s no longer in stock.