Dressing up for cultural change Reply

Chris Bretti – 1851 Staff

With Halloween approaching fast, selecting costumes becomes a priority for many students. It is an opportunity for us to get creative, collaborate themes with friends and show off our costumes. But when it comes to choosing the costume, there has to be some consideration for the people around us.

As a first year student coming from a diverse high school, it is shocking to hear rumors and stories depicting students wearing offensive to downright racist costumes, especially coming from a college that prides itself on promoting diversity and equality. Upperclassmen have mentioned several accounts of students dressing up as ghosts that eerily resemble the uniforms of Ku Klux Klan members. On what grounds is this okay? It is unfathomable that not one student raised concerns of possible consequences before going out in public.

 

Unfortunately, raising awareness of the issue and actively trying to prevent these costumes leads to a less than favorable outcome. Some people have a natural tendency to rebel against authority, therefore creating workshops and posting bans on culturally appropriated costumes may not always work. Just like prohibiting alcohol did not work in the 1920’s, prohibiting costumes could carry the same effect.

So how does Lasell go about approaching this issue? It is important to acknowledge the lasting effects wearing offensive costumes has on others. Therefore, instead of completely prohibiting these choices, Lasell should do a better job of informing students about the impact these costumes have on the members of the community. More awareness should be raised about the emotional and mental damage a cul- turally appropriated costume can have on either an individual or group of people.

 

However, it should not only be left up to faculty and administration to make a change. Students can have just as much of an influence on their peers. If you see a costume that is not appropriate, make the effort to report it or make that student understand the mes- sage they are sending. As trivial as a complaint about a costume may be the simplest of efforts can go a long way in protecting not only the integrity of students, but the integrity and overall image of Lasell.

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