Beware: Offensive Costumes This Halloween!


Photo Courtesy of

This is a poster from a campaign called “We’re a culture, not a costume” made in Ohio University.

Alyssa Pepito, Photojournalist

The subject of appropriating cultures has definitely struck people recently, whether it’s on social media or outside of it. Culture appropriation is defined as the use of elements of one culture by another who is not a part of the culture being used. Most people usually know this in a specific context in which an element of a disenfranchised culture is taken away from a native people and turned into a commodity or costume. Due to Halloween coming closer and closer each day, many people and I are watching out for the one’s who dress up in offensive costumes.

To input someone’s culture to use as a Halloween costume is an example of culture appropriation and this should be avoided. For example, painting one’s face black and doing the action called “blackface” should not be permitted and is highly offensive. African-Americans are constantly being treated unfairly due to their race, but when it comes to a white man or woman painting their face black, others find it quite amusing. To hear feedback from this action just shows how racist our world still is. Everyone should learn to acknowledge other races and treat each other equally.

Surely, the reason people of color find the stealing of cultures offensive is because it just shows that people do not fully respect another’s race or background. These people of color and culture live their life being constantly treated terribly due to their racial background and people in costumes come in and take their lives as a joke, by posing in a “hilarious, funky costume.” On a more clearer stance, one oppressed race is completely judged for simply using and expressing their customs, but when the privileged race uses the same idea, they somehow get praised for it.

Personally, I find it extremely ignorant for one to make another’s race as a joke and it is seemingly prejudiced that many think racial actions like these are okay. On the other hand, one other idea is that one person would not be helping anything if they think it’s funny to say they want to dress up “ghetto” and make themselves look “Mexican” or “black” because in this case, this simply shows how they stereotyped a race and implied that a ghetto person is either Mexican or black. Kayla Woodson (9) explains, “The fact that privileged people are praised more than the person of the native culture for using the same customs they use, shocks me.”

To this day, people constantly bash on other cultures yet continue to steal people’s cultural customs. For the future, I sincerely hope everyone will learn better and think of a more creative and non offensive costume for this Halloween and more Halloweens to come.