The group, Students Teaching About Racism in Society (STARS), has created a campaign called “We’re A Culture, Not A Costume” that depicts students of various ethnicities holding photos of costumes that are supposed to represent them but are instead insulting to their culture. The poster’s key message? “This is not who I am and this is not OK.” The creative and intriguing campaign has caught the attention of the press, and has now been featured everywhere from CNN to Time magazine to ABC News.
As CNN reports, ethnic stereotype costumes still exist in abundance: “… even after widely publicized controversies such as the “Ghetto Fab” wig at Kohl’s and Target’s illegal alien jumpsuit, costumes of stereotypes abound. On Google’s shopping section, several pages of Mexican costume ideas are available, from gauchos and ‘Mexican donkey costumes’ to sexy serapes and tequila shooter girls.”
I’m not one for political correctness, but just like racist jokes, racist costumes are rude and in poor taste. Why insult an entire culture of people just for the opportunity to be silly and get Halloween candy? There are plenty of other costumes from which to choose.
Below is a gallery of the five posters the students created to help people recognize how offensive such costumes can be (I just cringe when I look at the costumes people are still wearing these days!):
Stereotypical Costumes 1 of 5This poster features Taylor, an African-American, holding a photo of a young woman in a street gangster-like costume.
Stereotypical Costumes 2 of 5Seth holds a picture of a two women wearing "warpaint" on their faces and feathers in their hair holding a sign that says, "Me wantum piece ... not war."
Stereotypical Costumes 3 of 5Ranato is holding a photo of a costume, meant to depict a Mexican, consisting of a person riding a donkey and wearing a sombrero.
Stereotypical Costumes 4 of 5Kai Lee, an Asian American, holds up a photo of a geisha costume.
Stereotypical Costumes 5 of 5Khalid, an Arab American, holds a picture of a costume depicting a Muslim person wearing traditional garb and a bomb strapped to his chest.
Photo credits: STARS