Why you shouldn’t appropriate culture this Halloween

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Why you shouldn’t appropriate culture this Halloween

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October has rolled around and the leaves are changing color, the weather is getting colder, and the days are getting shorter. October is also Halloween season, which means costumes galore.

Amidst the many varieties of witches, ghosts, and people being lazy and refusing to dress up, lies a deeper problem: cultural appropriation.

The term appropriation spawns from the use and mockery of a culture that is not your own and that you know nothing about. Appropriation reinforces ugly stereotypes that just set back society.

The time for costume creation and buying has arrived. Unfortunately, various interpretations of Native Americans, Black people, and Latinos have become costumes, and with that comes the opportunity to culturally appropriate.

One might not know what harm cultural appropriation can do to a person of color. Appropriation, along with other things, can cause one to hate their own culture because of constant bullying and the need to fit in. Many children of color grow up facing a lot of self-hatred which carries out into their adulthood. That hatred results in things like skin bleaching, plastic surgery, and many other appearance-alterterations.

The bullying creates higher depression rates within communities of people of color. With the need to fit in, children of color tend to belittle and put down their own race, causing stereotypes to become more enforced in society. To prevent that, there are two things you need to think about before you decide upon a costume: the source of the costume and the significance or sacredness.

The source of the costume is always the most important when talking about a costume. Is the source of the costume of a group that’s oppressed (such as dressing as a Japanese geisha when those of Asian nationality are often looked down upon in America)?

The significance of a costume is also important to consider. Is the costume important to any culture? Hijabs for Muslims or dashikis for Africans have religious significance and are not to be seen as silly accessories.

Instead of going as Mulan or Pocahontas for Halloween, try a basic ghost or witch to avoid appropriation.

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