With Halloween coming up I wanted to take some time to talk about the campaign “My Culture is not a Costume”. This campaign starts the conversation surrounding Halloween costumes, and what is cultural appreciation versus appropriation. A good rule of thumb is if it is pulling from stereotypes of a group or identity just don’t do it. Each culture has a rich history, and have often been limited in their ability to practice aspects of their culture. For example, Native Hawaiian individuals were suppressed from practicing their traditional dances. There are entire generations that are just now reconnecting with this element of their culture that was taken from them.
Gabrielle T. Langkilde said it beautifully in her article on cultural appropriation at Halloween, “You are minimizing our cultures, our heritages, and our histories as nothing more than just a fun mask – one that you can put on and take off when it is convenient for you.” The continued thread is the idea that we shouldn’t take parts of someone’s history, tradition, etc. This is because those outside of these cultures aren’t acknowledging or experiencing the backlash that those in these communities encounter when celebrating their culture. We want you to have a fun Halloween, but be respectful and intentional in your costume choice.
(Shared by the Residence Life, Housing and Dining Services Diversity Committee)