On “Cultural Appropriation” in Halloween costumes

See this insightful yet gently admonishing blog post about not offending people with your Halloween costume choices:


“Representing a culture that you’ve never been part of seems a little off-balance, doesn’t it?”

I totally agree. Unless you’re a Celt, then don’t celebrate Samhain. That’s what your pedantry gets you. Let’s also call off St Patrick’s day and Cinco de Mayo in the US altogether – there should not be any cultural exchange or sharing… Oh, sorry. I mean “no appropriation” in any direction. If you’re not a white European whose ancestors fought on the winning side of the American Civil War, then you have no business celebrating Independence Day. I’m not Christian, so I don’t celebrate Christmas or Easter. I do have more indigenous blood than Elizabeth Warren, so I observe Thanksgiving in context of honoring my murdered ancestors (Blackfoot).

While we’re at it, you don’t get to read Shakespeare unless you’ve got some English or Welsh in you, and you certainly should not be in any of his plays if you’re a woman or black (even if the character is). And no little black girls should dress up like any Disney princess except Tiana. Asian girls get to be Mulan, but only the Chinese, not the Japanese or Koreans.

There’s a huge gap between “representing” and “dressing up like,” just as there’s a huge gap between “dressing up like” and “mocking.” But then even mocking should be protected so long as it’s not inciting people to act violently against the culture you’re mocking. Why? Because it’s ok to disagree, and it’s ok to piss someone off with your choices. It’s not ok to harm people or to encourage others to do so. It’s not ok to take that mockery and turn it into actual hate or political action against any group.

But let me guess… you’re only worried about white people here. You aren’t talking to Hispanics or blacks or Asians or indigenous people. If a black person dresses up like Trump to mock him, totally fine. If a white person dresses like Sammy Davis, Jr because they actually love him, that’s a no-no.

Does it get tiring looking so hard for victims to protect?

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