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A checklist to help determine if your Halloween costume is racist

"Tequila pop'n dude" is one of many offensive Halloween costumes.


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Halloween season is almost over, and whether you spend your Tuesday night getting wasted, trick-or-treating or staying home watching scary movies, you’ll probably have a great night. But before that, it’s time for some self-reflection. It’s time to play “Are You Racist?: Halloween Edition!”

The rules are simple, go through this quick checklist to determine whether or not you’re racist based off your Halloween costume.

Remember, no cheating, you’re only cheating if you have something to be ashamed of.

  • Are the words “Native American” or “Indian” on the packaging?

  • Are the words “Egyptian” or “Gypsy” on the packaging?

  • Are the words “African,” “Rastafarian” or “Voodoo” on the packaging?

  • Are the words “Japanese,” “Chinese” or “Asian” on the packaging?

  • Are the words “Spanish” or “Mexican” on the packaging?

  • Are you painting a calavera, a mexican sugar skull, design on yourself?

  • Are the words “BORDER PATROL” anywhere on your costume or the packaging?

  • Does your costume have ANYTHING to do with the U.S. and Mexican border?

  • Are you putting feathers in your hair to resemble tribal feathers?

  • Are you wearing a poncho or sombrero?

  • Are you wearing clothing that is traditional to a culture that isn’t your own?

  • Are you wearing a “dirty Sanchez” mustache?

  • Are you wearing an afro wig?

  • Are you wearing dreadlocks?

  • Are you doing black face?

All done? Now it’s time to calculate how many you checked off and what that means… Just kidding, if you checked off any of these, your costume is racist. Now just because your costume was a little bit racist doesn’t mean you’re racist, does it? Yes, yes it does. You took the time to go to a costume shop, presumably Spirit Halloween or Party City and spent money on your racist costume.

You saw the costume, thought it was funny or that your (equally racist) friends would find it funny, took the time to try it on, then bought it. At no point in those 30 minutes to an hour did you stop and think to yourself “wait a minute, this costume is really messed up and I should put it back.”

It’s easy to claim ignorance on this one; say that you had no idea it was offensive. The fact of the matter is, someone wearing a racist costume either didn’t know it was racist or knew and didn’t care enough to pick something else.Typically, the only people who don’t know costumes are racist are children; little Suzy from down the street isn’t gonna know her “Gypsy princess” costume is offensive. If you genuinely didn’t know, take the time to educate yourself.

This doesn’t exclude white people either. If a person of color treats a culture outside of their own as a costume, it’s still pretty racist. A Latina can’t be an “Egyptian goddess,” a black person can’t be a Day of the Dead skeleton and an Asian person can’t be a “Voodoo Magician.”

In short, a person’s culture is not a costume or a caricature that can be portrayed while you get wasted at some frat party. Stick to dressing up as The Joker or as a sexy nurse, something that isn’t offensive to marginalized groups. This has been: “Are You Racist?: Halloween Edition!”

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A checklist to help determine if your Halloween costume is racist