Letter to the Editor: In Response to My Culture is Not a Costume

My culture is not a costume.

“My pioneer heritage, Irish ancestors, or the image of the American Cowboy are not a costume.”

This is something that you will never hear someone say. Why is that? Because it’s white culture.

The Vikings, Irish Pubs, Westward Expansion in the United States or the iconic American Cowboy, all parts of white culture. What about stereotypes? Redneck folks, deep-fried food, overweight people, southerners will marry their cousins, Irish people and Germans are always drunk, white people can’t handle spicy food, whites aren’t good at basketball, or even the term “white privilege,” are all stereotypes. The list goes on and on, but you hardly ever hear anyone complain about it.

I and many others I have spoken to, feel that the recent opinion article, “Cultural Appropriation: the Scariest Part of Halloween,” that was written blatantly insulted white folks. Yes, there was a section in it that did say that other ethnic groups can dress up as something offensive too, but the article as a whole was very anti-white. That if by dressing up as Maui from the movie Moana and you aren’t Polynesian, that you are automatically doing so to insult someone from that culture. On the flip side, what about Buzz Lightyear? That character is named after the famous astronaut that landed on the moon, Buzz Aldrin. Am I dissing on Buzz Aldrin because I’m dressed up as a cartoon character? What about Babe Ruth? Is it ok to dress up as him if you aren’t white? Where do we draw the line? It’s getting out of hand.

The article is shaming innocent people. The example of the child dressing up as Pocahontas especially. She isn’t doing so to be offensive, she is dressing up so she can have a fun night and go trick or treating. Don’t hate the Halloween costume, there are more productive ways to get the point across than through negativity. Why not just ask every trick or treater why they dressed up in their costumes? You may be surprised to find out that they only did so in the spirit of Halloween and to have fun.

So is my culture not a costume? Why not! I’d love to see people going around dressed up as cowboys. People just need to grow up and realize that Halloween is a time to dress up and have fun.

After all, we dress up as something that we like right?

By Chris Quick, a fellow SUU Student