Joslyn Gray, babble.com Discussion »
Some of the most popular Halloween costumes represent other cultures: tons of kids dress up every year as Native Americans or as “Geisha Girls.” In fact, those kinds of costumes are so popular that at least one costume supplier puts them in their “classic costumes” category: along with “robot” and “clown,” you can find “Spanish Dancer,” “Sassy Samurai,” and “Dream Catcher Cutie.”
The question is, do those costumes celebrate another culture, or simply stereotype it?
A woman in Asheville, North Carolina says costumes like the “Cherokee Cutie“– which features a very short dress–are demeaning, and likens the costume to blackface. A couple years ago, students at Ohio University’s Students Teaching About Racism (STARS) program came up with a powerful and thought-provoking campaign: “we’re a culture, not a costume.” Under a banner that reads, “this is not who I am, and this is not okay,” a Japanese-American student holds a photo of a Geisha Girl costume. A Mexican-American student holds a photo of a stereotypical Mexican costume.
More recently, the website Jezebel ran a post of costumes for men, women and kids that it calls racist. To me, though, some of the costumes they showed are obviously horrible and some just…aren’t. I mean, if the “Miss Butterfly” costume is inappropriate, does the same thing go for ninja costumes? Because that’s about 80 percent of the market for boys right now.
For parents, the thing that’s hard about this is that lots of kids are fascinated by other cultures, and that’s a good thing. Kids love to learn about other countries and other cultures: their holidays, their food, their clothing, their beliefs.
Last year, one of my daughters, then age 8, said she wanted to be a Native American Princess for Halloween. I told her she could, but that I wasn’t comfortable with a lot of the stereotypes about Native Americans. I had her pick a tribe to learn about, and said that if she could figure out what they wore, that I would do my best to make her a costume.
My daughter chose to learn about the Read More »
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posted October 28, 2013 12:00 pm edt