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Culture is not a costume


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  It’s undeniable: some people just don’t get it.

  Time and time again, we see an offensive Halloween costume portraying a Native American, or the occasional “Caitlin Jenner” costume that is just all shades of not okay. You’d think it’s apparent that these costumes are wildly offensive for whomever is being portrayed, but, like I said, some people just don’t get it. However, everyone can change. And we, the general public, who have no interest in enforcing detrimental stereotypes onto marginalized groups, should make efforts to make sure that happens.

   Why is a Native American costume, a Caitlin Jenner costume, or, God forbid, wearing blackface for Halloween considered not okay, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

   Absolutely no good comes out of enforcing racist or offensive stereotypes. Picture this: someone replicating what they consider to be your mannerisms, your appearance or your identity and chalking it up to it’s most distasteful and derogatory state. Sure, maybe you’ll get a laugh or two from one of your friends in their equally disrespectful costumes, but that’s about it. In the end, all you managed to do was make people upset.

   There are countless other costumes that you could be spending your time wearing and probably getting 10 times more laughs, if that’s what you’re after. I promise a horse mask or clown costume is much funnier than any other type of costume you’re wearing that only serves to make other people feel bad.

   And, more than anything, it’s distasteful and childish to wear these disrespectful and horrible costumes. Someone else’s identity is not yours to wear for a night, much less to make fun of. It’s not a joke or a game. It’s something that a group of people practice and consider themselves to be. It’s 2017. Don’t make a night that is meant to fun into one that only causes problems for other people. Be kind and use your brain. Because no one else’s identity or culture is your costume.

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Culture is not a costume