Let’s face it: Halloween can be a strange time for people of color.
Not raven flying saying “nevermore” or black cats on the stoop strange. We mean the seeing frat bros in Blackface, your child’s White classmates dressing as Moana and “Come on, I’m just mocking the stereotype!” brand of strange. All of these aggressions can make our lives extra tumultuous, especially when this seemingly joyous holiday overlaps with the real-life consequences of racist discourse and policy.
Despite these issues, the spate of high-profile 2018 Hollywood projects with protagonists and casts of color offers new chances for revelers to imagine themselves outside of the stereotypes. In the spirit of all things frightful and delightful, we offer the following articles, photos and social media posts to mark another Halloween.
Fighting Racist Costumes
“Activists Call for Stop to Native American Costumes They Say Sexualize Indigenous People”
By Cerly Henry, Cronkite News/Navajo-Hopi Observer
Amanda Blackhorse, grasping burning sage in one hand and a bullhorn in the other, prepared to protest at a costume company’s Phoenix headquarters.
Blackhorse and her small group carried signs, shouting “People, not costumes!” and “You’re on stolen land!” as they walked around the parking lot, several of them wearing traditional skirts symbolizing their heritage.
They were backed by an unseen contingent: More than 23,000 people across the country have signed an online petition calling for Yandy.com of Phoenix to stop selling more than 40 Native American costumes that organizers say misrepresent and sexualize Indigenous people. … “Native women are opposed to the use of our image as costume,” Blackhorse said at Wednesday’s protest. “This is the era of Native people not putting up with cultural appropriation and using our identity for profit.”
“Why Your Halloween Costume Is Racist: A Handy Message for That Person You Know”
By John Paul Brammer, them.
Your Mexican mustache and serape may have seemed hilarious when you picked them up at Party City, but believe it or not, people are already plenty afraid of Mexicans (I would know! I am one!) thanks to a certain president who has made us out to be monsters. What message, exactly, are you trying to send by dressing up as a Mexican? My guess is…not a good one.
This isn’t about being a killjoy. Ultimately, Halloween is a fun time to explore and play around with clothing, makeup and presentation. That’s great! There are plenty of ways to have fun on Halloween that have nothing to do with making a mockery of an entire race or community of people. But if you’re still planning on dressing up as a “Mexican” or “Native American” for Halloween, here’s a fact that might scare you: You’re probably not very funny.
The Persistence of Blackface
“Saint Luke’s Nurse in Blackface Beyoncé Costume Is No Longer Employed, Hospital Says”
By Lisa Guiterrez, The Kansas City Star
The hospital became aware of the photos on Monday, after which the “information was shared with appropriate health system personnel and an investigation was initiated immediately,” Laurel Gifford, senior director of media relations at Saint Luke’s, said in a statement.
“While it is against Saint Luke’s policy to comment on specific personnel matters, we can confirm that this individual is no longer a Saint Luke’s employee.”
On Monday, the hospital responded to Facebook user Lynese Sade, who complained about the nurse and wrote that “I do not feel that it is safe having a racist employee working with the public.”
“Not Just Megyn Kelly”
By Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed
For higher education, discussions of Blackface are hardly new, but the reality is that students and others continue to appear in Blackface, to the frustration not only of Black students and faculty members, but many educators.
At Brigham Young University last week, the university was holding a symposium (in collaboration with historically Black Morgan State University) on the 50th anniversary of the report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission. But even as the university focused resources on that event, word spread on campus that a White student had appeared at a Halloween party in Blackface. Many students were shocked, and Black students (about 1 percent of the student body) were reported to be particularly upset.
The New Wave of Costumes for Kids and Adults of Color
So for my latest art piece I replicated Lupita (Nakia)’s dress from the casino scene in Black Panther.
— starving artist 🎨 (@MsBlackUniverse) October 26, 2018
In honor of @jennyhan , going to the Halloween party as the first protag I ever saw in a book with my actual ethnic background 💕Though no matter how many outfits I try to throw together, I’ll never have Lara Jean’s style 😂 pic.twitter.com/STMIZgRqUf
— Rachel Rake-hell Ghouldstein (@elentari7) October 30, 2018
— black-ish (@blackishabc) October 29, 2018
Crazy Rich Asian Babies!!! Might be my favorites this Halloween so far! pic.twitter.com/673uTP3Vp6
— Jon M. Chu (@jonmchu) October 29, 2018
Mother/Son ‘Black Panther’ Halloween Costume pic.twitter.com/CF0kQaDTdQ
— Pics of Reddit (@picOfReddit) October 29, 2018