The Couch

Racist halloween costumes?

Comments on Racist halloween costumes?

libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4672
Posted 10/28/11 - 12:45 PM:
Subject: Racist halloween costumes?
Some of you may have seen the following flyers circulating the net (check out images 1 thru 5):

www.cnn.com/2011/10/26/livi...ethnic-costumes/index.html

I can definitely understand the insult and sensitivity that comes from mocking cultural stereotypes. But a geisha is a profession, not a stereotype - why is it okay to dress up as a ninja, or a samurai, or a police officer, or a fireman, but not a geisha?

I've seen some discussions which have gone so far as to suggest that a person who is white shouldn't be dressing up as Pocohontas or any other character of other ethnicities. Really? I have a costume planned for next year as Umrao Jaan, which as Thinker knows is a character from a Bollywood film. It seems silly to me that the character should be "off limits". (Mind you, I'm half Vietnamese, so not strictly "white", but still.) What do you guys think?
Thinker13
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 27, 2009

Total Topics: 357
Total Comments: 3379
Posted 10/28/11 - 1:29 PM:

libertygrl wrote:
Some of you may have seen the following flyers circulating the net (check out images 1 thru 5):

www.cnn.com/2011/10/26/livi...ethnic-costumes/index.html

I can definitely understand the insult and sensitivity that comes from mocking cultural stereotypes. But a geisha is a profession, not a stereotype - why is it okay to dress up as a ninja, or a samurai, or a police officer, or a fireman, but not a geisha?

I've seen some discussions which have gone so far as to suggest that a person who is white shouldn't be dressing up as Pocohontas or any other character of other ethnicities. Really? I have a costume planned for next year as Umrao Jaan, which as Thinker knows is a character from a Bollywood film. It seems silly to me that the character should be "off limits". (Mind you, I'm half Vietnamese, so not strictly "white", but still.) What do you guys think?



I must say that it depends pretty much on the intent. If you are deliberately trying to mock someone and that too pejoratively then you ought to be careful but if it's something similar to what little kids do in a fancy dress competition or for the sake of arts--it should not be a problem.


Oh! I am glad that you are planning to dress like Umrao Jaan; you would just look too beautiful( I can imagine right now!). Do share photographs if you would!thumb up
libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4672
Posted 10/28/11 - 1:33 PM:

aw thank you thinker, that's very sweet. if i manage to finish the costume (i'm still working on the veil!), i will definitely share some photos thumb up

i think the intent is important too. there is a difference between mocking a culture vs. trying to honor it. i've heard the argument from some people though that your intention doesn't matter! that some people will find it offensive no matter what the intent. it doesn't seem reasonable to me.
Thinker13
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 27, 2009

Total Topics: 357
Total Comments: 3379
Posted 10/28/11 - 1:45 PM:

libertygrl wrote:
aw thank you thinker, that's very sweet. if i manage to finish the costume (i'm still working on the veil!), i will definitely share some photos thumb up


It means you're designing it yourself? That is just fantastic! Now, don't tell me that you had this talent with you all along eek

i think the intent is important too. there is a difference between mocking a culture vs. trying to honor it. i've heard the argument from some people though that your intention doesn't matter! that some people will find it offensive no matter what the intent. it doesn't seem reasonable to me.


I agree.
thedoc
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Sep 15, 2011

Total Topics: 41
Total Comments: 982
Avatar thedoc
Posted 10/28/11 - 5:33 PM:

I would say that intent is important in any ethnic context. Some can use the slightest thing to be derogatory, or another can use ethnic elements as a complement to a particular group. It is also important to know how it will be received. I worked with a person who was Polish but loved to hear 'Polish Jokes', and then there were women who would be most offended at a 'Blond Joke'. It seems that now the Blacks (African Americans) and the Jews are either very sensative or very receptive to these kinds of references.
Search thread for
Download thread as
  • 0/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5



Sorry, you don't have permission . Log in, or register if you haven't yet.



Acknowledgements:

Couch logo design by Midnight_Monk. The photo hanging above the couch was taken by Paul.

Powered by WSN Forum. Free smileys here.
Special thanks to Maria Cristina, Jesse , Echolist Directory, The Star Online,
Hosting Free Webs, and dmoz.org for referring visitors to this site!

Copyright notice:

Except where noted otherwise, copyright belongs to respective authors
for artwork, photography and text posted in this forum.