Americans love dressing up, especially for Halloween. And why not? It’s a time to get all funky, creepy and crazy with costumes and make up. All told, we spend in the billions to have a good time with a host of frightful tricks and tasty treats.
But too often, the fun erodes when good taste and common sense disappear amid hurtful actions — intentional and unintentional — as people opt for costumes with “ethnic” themes.
The offenses range from people donning blackface to distorted depictions of sacred dress. The offenders come from a cross-section of society, kids to college students to working adults to celebrities. Sadder still, a significant swath of Americans think white people parading in blackface — the act of darkening your skin for the sake of costuming — is acceptable. It’s not.
Even if spawned from an innocent desire to more closely resemble a person in homage, blackface has an ugly history.
Likewise, wearing costumes that attempt to mimic various ethnic groups generally is a no-no. The results often run toward the racist, rather than respectful, end of the spectrum.
Students from The Ohio University launched a campaign in 2013 that underscored that point. We’re inclined to agree.
Consider this a friendly public service reminder: people are people, not characters or worse, caricatures. Choose your costumes wisely.