If it feels like we've had a million conversations about why no one should ever wear racist costumes, it's because we have. But no matter how many times people have vocalised why mocking another race or culture through offensive party garb is wrong and painful, both individuals and companies continue to disregard these sentiments year after year. This year, one of those retailers is Party City.
The company came under fire this week after it added the Adult Wall Costume to its website. Teen Vogue reports that the costume, which features a brick wall with the words "the wall" sprawled across the front, alarmed dozens of internet users who believed the outfit was a direct reference to President Donald Trump's controversial wall proposal — you know, the same one that will have to be see-through so people can see if they're about to be hit by a sack of drugs — as a means to deter unlawful immigration.
Teen Vogue pointed directly to one Twitter user's tweet which read, "If cultural appropriation on Halloween isn't for you, here's a directly racist costume straight from @PartyCity."
Others claimed that the online outrage was misguided, claiming that the costume was a reference to Pink Floyd's The Wall album and song "Another Brick In The Wall" and that the costume's description was intentionally ambiguous so as to avoid a lawsuit from the legendary rockers.
I'll be honest, I'm a music lover, and when I saw this costume I didn't think of Pink Floyd at all. Millions of people are fearing for their safety under a president who openly chants "Build That Wall" at his campaign rallies and has called Mexicans "rapists" and "criminals."
Since stepping into the Oval Office, Donald Trump has authorised a surge of ICE raids, has lied by saying Mexico will pay for the border wall, has cracked down on sanctuary cities across the country, and announced his plan to end DACA, which currently offers protection for nearly 700,000 so-called Dreamers.
So, even if this costume was some shoddily created ode to Pink Floyd, it hardly seems obvious to me. And I can't stop wondering why Party City put out a costume in 2017 for an album that was created 40 years ago. The timing seems way off.
Of course, this highlights another issue: Just because someone doesn't mean to offend doesn't mean they won't. This Halloween, we can all be better by taking the time to think through how our actions may impact others, even if our intentions aren't to inspire fear or hatred.
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