[Content note for… racism. Pretty much any kind. If you thought, “No, they’re not going to do that,” well, they did.]
[Also, (sic) all of the associated social media posts. Y’all, social media is not your friend. Why it so important that you provide photographic evidence that you’re an asshole?]
You could be Deadpool. You could go with a classic witch or cat or Spider-Man or the dude from Scream. You could be Glenn from The Walking Dead. (Skip the yellowface; the dripping blood and gore is the most part anyway.) Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are topical this year. You could go as Wednesday Addams going as a serial killer — they look just like everyone else.
But dammit, you wanted to be Kanye West, and it’s a free country, and nobody’s going to stop you from covering yourself with brown makeup and exercising your right to show the Internet that you’re a racist idiot.
Pro tip: If your chosen costume imitates the race of someone who can’t take it off at the end of the evening and has to suffer oppression because of it, that’s not a good costume. As an alternate choice, consider… let’s go with almost any other costume. Not all of them, but statistically, it’s verging on any other costume.
Here are some people who didn’t:
Kanye West. Because it’s important to be a good role model to kids, fifth-grade teacher Heath Morrow smeared on the blackface to attend a party in the guise of Kanye. His wife, Shannon (who attended as Kim, complete with enormous fake ass), insisted that “[t]here was no malicious intent in this costume. It’s for HALLOWEEN, the one time a year it is okay.”
… No, it’s not. It’s… it’s still not okay. There’s not, like, a Racism Freebie day when you can wear blackface and use the N-word with impunity. That’s not a thing.
It’s also still not okay if “some of [your] husband’s best friends are black,” even if “[t]here was no racial intent whatsoever.”
For his part, Heath quote-unquote apologized and assured us, “[E]veryone who knows my character and knows my heart, knows that I have never seen color in my life.”
Pilgrim and Indian. Grown-up child star Hilary Duff got attention over the weekend of her (curiously pantsless) pilgrim-and-Indian couple’s costume with her boyfriend at a Halloween party. To her credit, she quickly apologized, and that’s actually why I brought it up here: because of her choice to make… an actual apology (heart emoji notwithstanding).
I am SO sorry to people I offended with my costume.It was not properly thought through and I am truly, from the bottom of my ❤️sorry.
— Hilary Duff (@HilaryDuff) October 30, 2016
I happen to think Native American costumes are awesome and timely, as crowds are being shot with rubber bullets and pepper spray by police in riot gear as they protest plans to build the Dakota Access Pipeline across Sioux lands. (Note: This is sarcasm. I do not actually think the thing I just said.)
I never really expected to single out Hilary Duff for doing something good, and obviously it would be a lot better had she not worn that costume to begin with, but she did manage to do in 133 characters what a lot of fauxpologizers fail to do with a lot more space. So… we’ll call this a push.
Pipeline protesters. In fact, more than one woman — unrelated women in multiple locations — thought that the Standing Rock protesters themselves would make a totes hilar costume, right down to signs saying #NoDAPL and, in one case, “I godda job I’ma water pertecter.” Get it? Because protesting an oil pipeline running through sacred indigenous land is funny! And straight-up feather headdresses and face paint are so last year.
Happy Halloween lynching. A Miami man who, shockingly, had a Trump/Pence yard sign added, in honor of the season, a pair of dark-skinned mannequins lynched from a tree. Confronted by the outrage at his choice of decorations (including a request by the community’s property manager to remove the figures), the homeowner immediately took them down and issued a heartfelt apology. Haha! Of course he didn’t! He just added another sign reading, “Please don’t be ignorant it’s Halloween!”
Yeah, y’all, don’t be ignorant. God.
SCREAM whining. Because even the mere suggestion that one should avoid racist costumes constitutes an Attack On Our Freedoms by the PC Police, UMass Amherst denounced an RA’s decision to post SCREAM in the dorm — the humorous but useful Simple Costume Racism Evaluation and Assessment Meter. In a statement, the university made sure to note that “UMass Amherst does not prohibit or ban any costumes,” because politely suggesting that students might want to avoid costumes that reinforce racial cliches or mock socially marginalized people is the same as is Censoring Their Free Expression.
Bill Cosby blackface. White frat boy Brock Denton thought that blackface would be the perfect cherry on the sundae of his Bill Cosby costume. The University of Central Arkansas disagreed — they expelled him the next day and issued a statement calling the costume “repugnant,” noting that the university “embraces all races, cultures, and nationalities.” Sigma Tau Gamma also expelled him. The university, the national chapter of STG, and the UCA Interfraternity Council also suspended the frat.
Denton responded in a now-deleted Instagram post that was nonetheless screencapped by the UCA Echo (the Internet is forever, y’all). He pointed out that he is, in fact, “the farthest thing from discrimination,” and “as a matter of fact [he] fight[s] for equality everyday.”
I’ve been writing a book for the past two years on what it really means to be a good person. I wake up in the morning and pray to God that I can be just a little bit better than the day before. […] Social media has corrupted society in regard to heated controversial topics such as this. People claim they want equality and for the racism and hatred of one another to end, but the accusations that have been made have only further divided us. […] I never EVER would have done this if I would have known the domino effect that follow.
Responding to comments under his totally sincere apology, Denton also wrote, “I can honestly say I’ve never heard of black face before until today. Believe me or don’t but at this point all I can do is be truthful.”
Obviously, this guy is useless, but please, The Universe, give me a treatise on being a good person by a white guy who’s never heard of blackface and thinks that racism is perpetuated by social media calling him out for his racism. I’ve been a very good girl this year.
So there you go! Evidence, in case you needed it, which obviously you don’t, that even though it gets easier every single year to get it, some people just don’t and won’t get it. I’d say that all of these examples should be cautionary tales, but… people who just don’t and won’t get it aren’t going to get it.
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