I Am Not Offended By Your Halloween Costume

I’ll start this off by saying the following: I, as is anyone, am entitled to my own opinion. The following blog post is all of my own. If you don’t like it, that’s ok, you don’t have to. Moving on…

The topic at hand here is Halloween costumes and the literal craziness that has ensued. Ya know, about certain costumes offending certain races and people, and people just loosing it over what people are getting offended over. I know it’s a couple days past Halloween, but hey… who doesn’t love a good theme party.

A little info about myself first. I am a Sociology minor, If you do not know, sociology is the study of groups of people. My favorite classes included Social Problems, Race In The U.S, and Diversity and Inequality, just to name a few. I grew up, for the first 14 years of my life in Marietta, Georgia which is a city 40 minutes outside the heart of Atlanta (see new Turner Field). This area was extremely diverse. I had friends of all difference races and religions, because that was the norm in such a large city. I then moved to one of the most judgmental towns in the world (site of the last public hanging) where I felt somewhat ostracized for being different. With a sister with disabilities, I’ve understood and watched first hand as she has been judged for something she has no control over.

Back to the current issue on hand. Halloween costumes. I have seen numerous posts by facebook friends on both sides of this issue. Right now, more than it seems any other time, people are finding more offense in the use of certain cultures than usual (see all these “2015 – the year everyone was offended).

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First of all, some of you may have clicked on this because of the clickbait-y article title. I am NOT offended by the choice of peoples’ costumes. How can I be? My culture, my race, my ethnicity, is not the one being made fun of. I cannot truly understand how someone feels because I am not in their shoes, though I can for sure support them.  If I say that I am also offended, I feel as though it is taking away from the preservation of such cultures and races, as I am not living it first hand. However, it does not make me any less pissed off at such costumes. No, it’s not  funny if you are offending someone or a culture. Your racist parties, or judgement or personification of stereotypes is not funny. I have seen and heard racist things being done to friends and classmates, and watched oppression happen first hand. Some of these things people find funny, are in fact hurtful to people. I feel the same way watching people in offensive costumes as I do hearing people make fun of those with special needs. Pissed. Groups were not put on this Earth to be someone’s joke. But, since I am not one of the disabled, or a minority I do not believe that offended is the right word.

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Second of all, maybe it is a lack of knowledge and background. I was raised learning that racial slurs are obviously not okay, and as well no race is better than another. Maybe some people just don’t understand why things like “blackface” are not okay. As a white population, for centuries, we have been the dominate race, and oppressed others. Using another culture’s stereotypes and looks are not a costume, in my personal opinion. For example, in the news recently a teacher got in trouble over painting his face and dressing up like Kayne. Putting on makeup in a way to appear black, is called ‘blackface”. “Blackface” is a practice dating back to times during slavery when African American were not allowed to perform in theatre, so Caucasians painted their faces with exaggerated attributes (big lips, big ears) and acted out stereotypes such as eating watermelon, being aggressive or lazy.

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Now I know not every costume is meant to be racist or offensive (Mulan or Pocahontas for example, are adaptations of Disney characters, so the offense should be directed towards Disney) and that’s fine. Maybe it’s a lack of knowledge as to what can or can’t be offensive to other cultures. That’s okay. I’ve taken multiple classes where I have learned about difference between groups of people, and the experience has been enlightening (which is why I recommend taking a sociology class to everyone). Maybe it’s up to people to teach why things are offensive, dating back to their origins. Be patient, because it isn’t always possible to change the way someone has been socialized to think.

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But that’s another one of my points. So what if someone wants to find it offensive? I have seen so much anger on both sides. If you want to be offended over a Halloween costume, go you. Understand that not everyone is going to be as open minded as you and find the problems in those things. If you don’t understand how someone can find a Halloween costume offensive, that’s fine. Understand that people do, and that if you post your opinions people that are offended will response. It’s just how the internet/social media works. You cannot be upset at someone for what they choose to feel about something, that’s their opinion. For both sides. You can be upset that they feel that way, but the whole point of the U.S being a country with freedom of speech, is one in which people can think what they want and say what they want.

What is not okay is ignorance, towards the feelings of others. Be aware of what you do, when you do it. Try and have an open mind. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to learn.

– Katelyn

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