Halloween costumes: The latest casualty in the PC culture war

ELLEN HASTINGS | COPY EDITOR

There has been a call for regulation of the acceptable costumes allowed for Halloween. The reasoning comes from the rejection of gender identity, ‘cultural appropriation’ and the increase in political correctness.

There are groups who advocate for people to ‘check their costumes’ before going out. At the base of it, they argue that when a person dresses up as a ‘sexy Indian,’ gypsy, or any costume that is linked to a culture or group still in existence and regarded as ‘oppressed,’ said person is using their privilege and power to continue to oppose that group.

Panchos and donkeys don’t represent Mexicans, but the point of the costume is not to dress as a real person. Such an argument is invalid. Instead, the claim is that they are not the costume, and those wearing the costume would automatically agree.

Everything from the sexy Indian to the drunk mariachi bands is at the extreme of the stereotypes, or what automatically comes to mind when someone thinks of these characters. It is supposed to be funny! It represents the most obvious and well-known image of that character. If someone was actually trying to dress as a race or ethnicity that they are not, no one would ‘get’ their costume; such a person would look like an average American.  

All the articles and papers that have commented on this topic have casually mentioned the importance of the First Amendment, but only up until you offend someone. The rebuttal to that is the pure and undeniable fact that the First Amendment was established to protect offensive speech. You can’t be safe from speech that ‘triggers’ you.

The worst part is when these restrictions extend to children just having fun on Halloween. Does being politically correct have to ruin a kid’s holiday? Why does it matter that a little girl wants to be a princess? That doesn’t mean she is being forced into a certain box or gender – it means she wants to be a princess.

The purpose of Halloween is to be outrageous, push the envelope, celebrate your First Amendment rights, and have a good time. Not everything is a political statement and nothing should be censored. That is what makes our country unique and outstanding. Ask the North Koreans or Chinese how they like Halloween.

You will never please everyone and someone will always find a reason to be upset. Let’s just relish the fact that we live in a country where civil discourse is not only allowed but encouraged – for now.

 

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