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Beware: cultures aren’t a costume

Getty Images by Towfiqu Photography

Getty Images

Getty Images by Towfiqu Photography

Rachael Bayuk

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Your culturally insensitive Halloween costume makes you look like a jerk.

Dressing up as a minority culture is unacceptable in 2018. People of these cultures were (and often still are) discriminated for their garb and heritage, making light of that fact is ignorant.

Yet cultural appropriation is still happening every Halloween. Women dress up as a “naughty native” or “sexy geisha,” while men choose the classic “Mexican man holding a Corona” or “Indian Chief.” There are a 100 more options I could list. Yet still I wonder why that is?

Sexualizing a culture is gross. It only perpetuates dangerous stereotypes and ideals. According to the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence, Native Americans are 3.5 percent more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than any other race in the United States.

Think about that next time you walk past that sexy Indian costume in the store. You are personally perpetuating a stereotype that native women are promiscuous and sexy. The costume industry says so after all. The portrayal of women in these cultures leads to dangerous treatment later on.

Let us band together to refuse to sexualize a culture. People are sexy, but cultures are not. These costumes teach dangerous and inaccurate ideas about cultures.

This relates to the troublesome costumes that perpetuate negative male stereotypes as well. Mexican men somehow always wear sombreros, drink cheap beer and carry a donkey everywhere. These costumes are nothing short of racist and ignorant.

Cultures are sacred and valuable to the people who are a part of them. Please stop making light of them.

In today’s political climate, people have felt more embolden to say things they wouldn’t otherwise say out loud. Like Megyn Kelly’s recent comments about blackface.

Her remarks prove that there are people out there who think that somehow Halloween erases the need to respect other people.

Blackface has a long standing racist history. Mockery of the African American culture in the U.S. has been prevalent for 100’s of years.

It was monetized by White Americans through Minstrel shows that traveled the country. The idea of making money off of another culture through second rate mockery and copying soared.

Then once the 50s rolled around costume companies took another racist step forward by mass producing paper children’s costumes of things like “Indians.”

Now flash forward to 2018, adult costumes reign supreme in the industry. A simple sexy Indian search will yield pages of results from different sellers.

Stop wearing these costumes, they are ignorant and rude. You are promoting harmful stereotypes. There is nothing sexy about cultural appropriation.

We are too aware to pretend that these costumes aren’t inappropriate. Cultures need to be respected not sexualized and mocked. Halloween isn’t an excuse to be a stereotyping ass.

Rachael Bayuk can be reached at [email protected] or @BayukRachael on Twitter.

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Beware: cultures aren’t a costume