The excitement for Halloween has been building since Oct. 1, and for some, even earlier. As we reach the peak of October, there’s a yearly conversation that still needs to be had: Don’t culturally appropriate. Don’t do blackface.

The holiday has evolved over the years, and is now a day filled with fun and terror, as opposed to the ritual festivals it used to be—All Hallows Eve. Tradition has changed, and now kids walk up and down their blocks in their costumes collecting candy. Even adults celebrate the holiday, like hosting costume parties.

Coming up with a costume can be a daunting task, there are so many options, but there are many costumes that cross the line. For example, anything in blackface is wrong. No ifs, ands, or buts.

The history of blackface is deeply rooted in racism. It became popular after the Civil War and was used by white performers who played characters that demeaned and dehumanized Black people, according to history.com.

“White performers in blackface played characters that perpetuated a range of negative stereotypes about African Americans including being lazy, ignorant, superstitious, hypersexual, criminal or cowardly,” stated an article on history.com.

It should be obvious that “costumes” dehumanizing other humans are not acceptable in any way. 

“Those who decide to wear blackface are maintaining a racist legacy of marginalizing and dehumanizing Black Americans,” wrote John Woods in an article on dosomething.org. “It’s a practice nothing short of ignorant and degrading, and participating in it directly supports and prolongs its racist legacy.”

Unfortunately, blackface is not a thing of the past. 

In 2018, former NBC host Megyn Kelly tried to defend wearing blackface as a Halloween costume and an elementary school principal wore blackface to a staffing event, according to dosomething.org.

Even if you are dressing as a Black character, there are ways to keep your costume from being racist and dehumanizing. 

“But Halloween is all about creativity and thinking outside of the box, and there are ways for everyone to dress up as characters of different races without it being offensive,” wrote Zeba Blay, senior culture writer for the HuffPost.

As we work towards hopefully ending this conversation and educating ourselves and others about the history and implications of both blackface and cultural appropriation, let’s be mindful of our actions and attitudes.

Let’s also not be afraid to check our friends and family on these issues, as well. Even if those conversations can be hard sometimes, they are the most important to have. There’s a higher level of accountability now, as there should have been before, and we have to make sure we’re reaching it.

 

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.