Colleges are doing their part to make sure that students are clear on what constitutes an offensive Halloween costume. Two universities in particular are trying to ensure that its students are well-versed in what makes a culturally sensitive costume.
Teen Vogue is reporting that the University of Utah’s Student Diversity Council distributed a newsletter that very clearly tells what costumes undergrads should avoid when getting dressed for the Halloween festivities. Offering hints like, “Think to yourself: Does the actual name on the costume packaging say 'tribal,' or 'traditional'? Does the costume include race-related hair or accessories (dreads/locs, afros, cornrows, a headdress)? Does the costume play into racial stereotypes? Does this costume represent a culture that is not my own? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should rethink the costume and try again.”
Princeton University also offered talking points of its own for Halloween with a seminar, where students could engage in a dialogue about the impact of cultural appropriation, Halloween, and why culture is not a costume.” We hope this is just the beginning, and that more of these conversations start taking place on other campuses across the country.