Costumes need to respect cultures

Walmart went under fire last week for selling a makeup kit that promoted suicidal scars on its online store. A photo accompanying the latex kit showed a model holding a bloodied razor blade over two diagonal cuts on his or her wrist. Walmart eventually took the product down after receiving a wave of complaints on social media.

The insensitivity of costume and makeup creators during the Halloween season often extends beyond the realm of self-harm. Blackface, a form of makeup that is historically known to have contributed to the racial stereotyping of black people, is still used by some during Halloween.

This year the University of Massachusetts Amherst displayed posters around its residence hall, warning students to avoid dressing up as Native Americans. Students were also prompted to avoid wearing other costumes that are considered to be forms of cultural appropriation.

With a wide array of non-offensive yet intricate costume choices available, there is no reason that people should be resorting to insensitive, racist and antiquated costumes or makeup. Before dressing up this year, people should take the time to consider whether or not their costume is a misrepresentation of someone else’s identity or experience.

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