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wshaffer
How not to be a racist douchebag for Halloween 
21st-Oct-2011 04:41 pm
pondering, bowie
A rather good series of posters featuring Halloween costumes that people really should have thought twice about wearing, under the slogan "We're a culture, not a costume":
Blackface? Seriously?
Suicide bombers, geishas, and sombrero-wearing dude (burro included)
Native Americans

I do find it interesting that my reaction to the geisha costume was more muted than my reaction to the others. I mean, if somebody suggested to me that I dress up as a geisha for Halloween, I'd probably say, "Nah, that wouldn't feel right, and anyway, I'd rather be a pirate or a steampunk gothic cowboy or Joan of Arc." (Nevermind that my usual Halloween costume these days is "person who couldn't be bothered with a costume") Whereas a suggestion of any of the other costumes depicted would be met with a "Wow, that's so offensive, I can't believe your head didn't catch on fire the moment you thought that." This may be a cultural blind spot on my part.
Comments 
21st-Oct-2011 11:50 pm (UTC)
I think it's okay to go for Halloween in a kimono if you can say what particular Japanese historical figure you're dressing up as and why. It should be as okay to go as Sei Shonagon as it is to go as Jane Austen. But "I dunno, some Japanese chick, probably a hooker of some sort since I have no understanding of the cultural context of geishas" is totally not okay.
21st-Oct-2011 11:57 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I was thinking about that in the context of cross-racial cosplay in science fiction and anime fandom - I don't think I've ever seen an instance where a white fan dressed as a non-white character came across as offensive. (Though possibly I lead a sheltered life. And, I'll admit, I think I'd wince if I saw a white fan put on blackface to play Martha Jones from Doctor Who, but that has to do with the cultural implications of blackface specifically.)
22nd-Oct-2011 01:01 am (UTC)
Mostly when I see people doing cosplay in anime fandom, they are using the accoutrements of costume and possibly hair but not attempting to replicate the racial markers of the characters--so someone playing Momiji from Fruits Basket, for example, would not be attempting to appear half-German and half-Japanese--they'd just be replicating Momiji's clothes and possibly hair.
25th-Oct-2011 01:40 pm (UTC)
Yipes!

I'm cringing and thinking of a friend I know who is from China. She went to a ummm party with the theme of the Oriental Experience? All the women at the umm party were in kimono. And they were all white.

She was there as herself, in men's drag.

It made for an odd evening.

My beloved was the Devilled Egg Man and I was some girl from mad max for an early halloween party this weekend.
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