Halloween is a time when, like children, adults can let loose, visually showcasing their creativity and cleverness. Although, having free range can sometimes encourage misguided efforts.
You have your cutesy costumes to balance out the sexy ones, but then there’s that gray area that stores those get-ups that are borderline offensive (i.e. Mexican caricatures, blackface, yellowface, the “Indian chief,” the terrorist, etc.) We see it every season, and it’s got to stop.
That’s why Ohio University student group, STARS (Students Teaching Against Racism in Society) put together a Halloween poster campaign with the tagline: “We’re a Culture, Not a Costume” (attached). But they shouldn’t have to.
These offensive costumes shouldn’t even exist.
If you wear such costumes for shock value, rather than racism, I think you’re missing the point. Instead of trying to ruffle feathers as Ana Rexia (yes, this is a real costume) or to push the envelope with something culturally offensive, you should consider how the targeted groups and those you encounter while out are being affected.
They’re not in on the joke, they’re the butt of it.
And there’s nothing funny about degrading stereotypes and lampooning other cultures.