Halloween is rapidly approaching and, of course, the debate about politically correct costumes comes up again. Next time you enter a costume store, consider your options. Jamaican bobsled team? Anna Rexia? Indian? Sexy geisha? Tequila Bandito? Honestly, how is this still an issue for people? Politically correct costumes are just a matter of human decency.
First of all, we live in a multicultural society; Canada is becoming increasingly multicultural. As a result, people are more exposed to each other’s values and beliefs. People are more open-minded about other cultures and value sensitivity towards these cultures. It may seem ridiculous, but that is what society values now. There are various costumes that society has decided are wrong, such as blackface and costumes that make fun of serious illnesses. Costumes like the Jamaican bobsled team and Anna Rexia are not appealing to most people. They are just insensitive toward others, and in many cases, racist.
Consider all the stereotypes about other cultures. Some people from those minorities may think those are funny. That’s fine. Others get really offended and that’s fine too. The thing with politically incorrect costumes is that they don’t really impact the former group but can really offend the latter.
You really just have to be a decent human being and respect other people. If there is the slightest chance that someone may feel disrespected by your costume, don’t wear it. You may not fully understand the impact it has on them. For instance, Aboriginal headdresses may seem stylish for a costume, but for many First Nations communities, headdresses have serious and ceremonial meaning. Wearing a headdress may not seem like a big deal, but it’s incredibly disrespectful. Same with any sexy Geisha costume. Geishas have an important history in Japanese culture. Don’t sexualize it. Respect their culture.
It is also about stereotypes. Take the Tequila Bandito. Do Mexicans only drink Tequila all day long? No. Do Mexicans wear sombreros all the time? No. It is a stereotype and it may be funny, but consider how offensive that image is to some people. Respect that opinion.
Some people argue that they asked their Mexican, First Nations, Japanese, et cetera friend and they said that the costume was funny. Your one friend does not represent the opinions of an entire population. You need to respect everyone.
It’s not even hard. Literally all you have to do is pick another costume. That’s it. It doesn’t cost you more money. There are plenty of non-offensive costumes to pick from. Worst comes to worst, be a ghost.
You may be concerned that there’s no way to please everyone. True. However, there are very obvious ways to offend people by appropriating their culture and it’s so easy to just not.
Choosing a politically correct costume may be a nuisance, but it means a lot. So be a decent person and just be open-minded when you pick your costume.