Ready to have a really inoffensive halloween? Well, colleges have you covered. Campus Reform is keeping their readers up to date on how colleges are making sure no feelings are hurt in the revelry.
First up, Michigan State University. They’ve got a handy flowchart up in the dorms to help students determine “Is Your Halloween Costume Racist?” There are also posters declaring “Culture is Not a Costume” and some side-by-side comparisons to help students understand the difference between “Cultural Appreciation vs Appropriation.” For example: taco? Not racist. Taco wearing a sombrero? Racist.
MSU Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives Director Paulette Russell told Campus Reform:
A space that is so diverse, tensions arise when certain things happen through costumes. [The] poster is to help students in residence halls to understand why certain depictions might be offensive…and if someone takes offense they have a reason.
The University of Denver is using some of that same language. Campus Reform reports that their “We’re a Culture, Not a Costume” campaign, kicked off in 2011, is going strong. The Housing and Residential Education (HRE) department says:
Because HRE is committed to pursuing inclusive excellence and social justice through programming and dialogue, our department created the ‘We’re a Culture Not a Costume’ campaign in an effort to raise awareness about cultural appropriation during the Halloween season,” the website reads. “We know cultural appropriation occurs throughout the year and is embedded within our society; but by raising awareness now, it is our hope the community can use the tools and dialogue provided to better create a respectful and inclusive campus for all.
Princeton is giving students a checklist to ensure that their halloween celebrations are “an inclusive experience for all students,” Campus Reform reports. Akhil Rajasekar, Sophomore and founder of Princeton’s chapter of the Federalist Society, thinks it’s ridiculous.
To take a night’s costumes seriously and police meaningless costume-wear serves in itself to escalate the seriousness of an inherently light-hearted matter and contributes to a culture of the offense-police, into whose jurisdictions gravitate all social questions, however high or inordinately petty…People really should stop looking for things by which to be offended. Not everything is offensive and, even if it is, one must learn to shrug it off. The ability to remain unaffected by external circumstances only serves to make one stronger. Yet, our culture today is perpetually one verbal or social misstep away from being tragically offended or ‘invalidated,’ whatever that means.
I’m with you, Akhil. Somehow, I think you’re the only person quoted in this piece who is going to function as an adult. Kudos?