default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Straight Talk for Teens Halloween costumes mocking culture a bad idea

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, October 26, 2012 8:00 am

Dear Straight Talk: I’m in college and my very nice roommates are talking about dressing up as Muslims for Halloween. One, who is buff, is even talking about putting on blackface and going as Muhammad Ali. I think both the blackface and dressing in turbans are bad ideas. They say I’m being too “politically correct.” What do you think? It’s so easy for girls to just wear a sexy outfit, but much harder for guys to come up with a creative costume. Any suggestions? Also, do I go out with them dressed this way? They are my best friends here. — Sam, Boston

Omari, 19, Washington, D.C.: Dressing up as another culture as a mockery is disrespectful. However, dressing as a famous Muslim is respectable and unique. But I guarantee that no one with common sense will find blackface funny, creative, or cute. Nor is it necessary for the costume. As a black man in America, I can speak to how disrespected I felt when I read this. If you are comfortable in public with people so blatantly disrespectful, then by all means, have fun with your “nice roommates.”

Brie, 21, Santa Barbara: Did your roommates not see the extreme backlash when Vogue printed blackface models in 2009? I know it’s harder to find costumes for guys, but there are plenty of options. A friend was Big Bird last year, which was really funny, and another was a sailor. Girls love a guy in uniform, even a costume.

Katelyn, 17, Azusa: Dressing as a Muslim is culturally offensive. You risk setting off both extremist Muslims and prejudiced psychopaths who think you are Muslim. Stick with ancient cultures such as Greek, Roman or Egyptian.

You think it’s “so easy” for girls to dress up, but for those who want to avoid the slutty look, or be creative, it’s just as challenging. My friends and I usually cosplay (short for costume-play) characters from books, movies and games.   

Colin, 19, Los Angeles: That is certainly offensive. And it’s a free country — thus your choice if you want to associate with people who denigrate another culture. Better costume suggestions: political personality, cop, foreclosure agent, Dexter Morgan. Or wear gas mask, toga, pajamas, etc.

Brandon, 20, Mapleton, Maine: Halloween is a fun time to take on another persona, but don’t abuse your First Amendment rights by insulting others. Many Muslims find poking fun at their culture extremely offensive. You and your friends could be risking your necks and your reputations. Here in rural Maine, there are no Muslims, but running around in turbans can still piss people off. Four years ago, a local elected official did a parody of an Iraqi for some laughs. He was shunned from politics and to this day is called “un-American” and much worse.

Yes, it can suck finding costumes for guys (trust me, I’ve alternated the same two for a decade).  And yes, you are being PC — and that’s good, because your future is affected by every little thing you do (it’s a horrible realization), and you definitely need to care about being appropriate. If you’re having bad feelings about the costumes, go with your gut feeling.

Dear Sam: Your friends need to wake up and smell the multiculturalism. Not to mention the news. Are they unaware that Americans were recently killed over offending Muslims? In terms of blackface, no, no and no. Even the 8-year-old white boy who loved Martin Luther King and dressed up like him to give his report last May in Colorado was sent home because of the blackface. Blackface to most African Americans is as insulting as the N-word. If your friends won’t listen to this, you’ve educated other readers, so I’m glad you wrote. — Lauren

To ask a question or join our work, visit www.straighttalktnt.com or write P.O. Box 1974, Sebastopol, CA 95473.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.


Popular Stories



Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists