Halloween is one of the great things about the fall season for many who celebrate it; candy, parties, fun, and dressing up. However, one of the unfortunate inclusions in the holiday is the seemingly racial stereotypes that are represented through some costumes.
The other day, I came across a website that advertised an “Across the Border” themed couple’s costume. The outfits consisted of sombreros, maracas, shawls and a mustache for the man.
I’ve typically seen Native American-themed costumes that advertise headdresses, moccasins, cloth-like clothing made of just enough material to cover the key parts of the body on women and are worn by a dark-skinned individual with long, black hair.
The list goes on about costumes that are based off certain other races or nationalities.
Being Chickasaw, I’ve grown up in a very large family that is active and takes pride in the culture, but I can’t think of a single family member who currently dresses anything like that costume portrays.
Also, I don’t know of many Hispanic individuals who dress like the “Across the Border” costume portrays, either.
Yes, it is true that some items such as headdresses and sombreros are traditional clothing in some heritages, and that is nothing to be ashamed of. I am proud of my heritage, as are many others.
However, to create a costume that identifies a modern group of people with such stereotypical images is a form of racism.
America is a salad bowl of all different groups of people, from all over the world. Everyone has a unique style and form of expressing themselves.
To say that a Hispanic person wears a sombrero or that a Native American wears a headdress is not only inaccurate, but also is one of the very things that holds society back from achieving equality.
Individuals are constantly fighting against discrimination and costumes like these are still promoting the idea that certain groups of people look a certain way.
I have light brown hair, green eyes, pale skin and freckles, but the costume conveys the idea that since I’m Indian, I should have dark hair, dark skin and dress a certain way.
Costumes that try to portray other groups of people do the same thing.
If a costume is portraying a specific person, say, Pocahontas or Frida Kahlo, then the costume is more justified in the image that it portrays because that is how the image of that individual has been commonly known. However, that is not the case with many costumes.
I know that many people who choose these types of costumes don’t have these malicious intentions. But this is a reflection of the problem. People need to realize that it’s more than just a costume — it’s a modern form of racism and stereotyping.
If society wants to push toward equality, people need to realize how these costumes affect that.
If you’ve worn a costume similar to the ones I’ve mentioned and didn’t look at it as I’ve described, you’re in no way a bad person. I just encourage all people to reconsider the messages these costumes convey.