It’s important for white children to understand at a very young age that they are a cancer on the Earth and everything they do is racist. There is probably no better time to drive this into their bigoted heads than Halloween, a holiday rife with problematic potential. On that note, several articles have recently been written explaining why your daughter is essentially committing genocide if she dresses like Moana for trick or treating this year.
In case you haven’t seen the film because you’re racist, a quick recap: “Moana” tells the inspiring story of a spunky little Polynesian girl who saves her island and the entire world by publishing a series of feminist pamphlets decrying gendered wage disparity in the workforce. At least that’s how I interpreted it, viewing it through the lens of an extremely woke individual.
Obviously, dressing as Moana for Halloween is a form of cultural appropriation because Moana isn’t white. She also isn’t anything, really, because she’s a fictional character. But let’s not get bogged down by details. In fact, an article at RaceConscious.org explains that the appropriation is all the more appropriative in this case because Moana, a film featuring a magical singing demigod and a sentient island that turns into a giant demonic beast and then back into an island again [spoiler], is “based on real history.”
The author goes on to argue that it could even be racist to dress up like Elsa because Elsa is white. It seems very confusing, especially to white people, because white people are all profoundly stupid (except for me) compared to more advanced races. The Offensive Costume Matrix has gotten so complex that a college magazine had to print an entire flowchart explaining how to correctly select Halloween costumes without persecuting 4/5 of the globe.
I’ve decided to add my voice to this discussion by providing a handy list of nine simple ways to avoid being racist on Halloween. It goes without saying that these rules, like all rules, are intended for white cisgendered heterosexuals only. Everyone else can do literally whatever they want. Indeed, the article cited above closes by touting a black version of Elsa. Is it racist for a black person to dress up like a Norwegian character? No. Norwegian culture is white so it doesn’t count. I don’t even think Norwegia is a real place, to be honest. Just another lie made up by the white man.
Anyway, here we go:
1. Avoid costumes based on characters outside your race.
This has been covered but it bears repeating. It is absolutely demeaning and insensitive to pretend to be something you’re not. Unless you’re a man pretending to be a woman, in which case a parade should be thrown in your honor. Now, you might retort that the entire freaking point of Halloween is to pretend to be something you’re not, but that argument only reveals your white privilege.
Look, it’s simple: people of color are not here for your amusement. It is not acceptable to make a mockery of an entire race of people, even if your intention is to pay them homage. It’s hard for you to understand the pain caused by cultural caricatures because you’re white and nobody ever makes a caricature of white people. Incidentally, I had a great discussion about this very point last St. Patty’s Day while I guzzled Irish beer amid a crowd of drunken hooligans dressed like Leprechauns and wearing shamrock glasses.
2. Avoid costumes based on characters of the same race.
What kind of message are you sending when you dress as a white person for Halloween? Are minority cultures not worthy of your attention? Would you be embarrassed to be seen in a costume associated with a race you clearly find inferior? Do you think the only good fictional characters are white? A white child dressed as a white character is advocating segregation. She might as well just dress up as Jim Crow. The one thing more bigoted than mocking a person of color by dressing like them is excluding them by not dressing like them. You should be ashamed.
3. Avoid costumes made from material that originates from historically oppressed regions.
Costumes made from cotton are definitely out, for obvious reasons. Costumes featuring anything gold or sparkly must be ruled out because they may remind Indigenous People of the European explorers who came here to rape their land and steal their gold. Actually, all fabrics must be ruled out because East Asia has had a prosperous textile trade for many centuries. Oh, and don’t even think about wearing a jacket if it’s a little cold on Halloween. That would be extremely offensive to Eskimos, who are basically not white and I assume invented jackets.
4. Avoid costumes made from material that does not originate from historically oppressed regions.
What are you trying to prove by dressing your kid in that plastic Batman costume? Plastic was invented by a white man, which is a point of pride for white supremacists everywhere. Are you a white supremacist? Is your kid? When you wear plastic, you otherize and exclude marginalized people who did not have the opportunity to invent plastic. Try to be a little sensitive for a change, you worthless, drooling, knuckle dragging, Nazi caveman.
5. Avoid costumes that marginalized people would prefer you not wear.
This isn’t hard. If a person from a marginalized group is offended by your costume for any reason whatsoever, you must immediately tear it off and run through the street naked, beating your chest and screaming, “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.” The safest approach is to gather together a focus group of your 500 closest minority friends and have them vote on the appropriateness of your costume. This is the process I follow before I get dressed every day. It only takes about 8 to 10 hours, usually. A small price to pay in the name of combating white supremacy.
6. Avoid costumes you buy from the store.
Think about it: If you buy a costume from a local retailer, that’s one fewer costume that will be available for the next African-American, Latinx, Sudanese, or Cambodian who walks through the door. In a sense, by purchasing the costume, you are stealing it from a Cambodian.
Worst of all, store-bought costumes advertise your wealth and privilege to disadvantaged groups who’ve long dreamed of going on a shopping spree at Party City. I seriously can’t believe that you would even consider buying a costume for yourself or your child. You may as well just cut to the chase and kick a minority in the shins. Disgusting.
7. Avoid homemade costumes.
Is there any more obnoxious way to flaunt your privilege than to wear a costume you made yourself? Think about the impact this may have on those around you. When I was a child, I wanted to be a knight for Halloween so my mom covered a cereal box in tin foil and put it on my head. As I walked down the street, thousands of black and Hispanic children looked at my ritzy, homemade outfit and wept. I learned then how dangerous Halloween can be.
The other problem is that homemade clothing is customary in many African and Asian cultures. They’ve stitched their own garbs for millennia. It is highly presumptuous for a white person to partake in such an intimate and longstanding minority tradition. How could you even consider doing something that minorities do — or don’t do?
8. Avoid costumes.
All costumes are cultural appropriation by definition. If you’d studied your history, you’d know that non-white cultures have always worn costumes for their various wonderful festivals and so forth. The Wodaabe tribe in Niger joins together once a year for a ritual celebration where many of the participants wear elaborate face paint and feathery attire. Before you go out this Halloween, think of how your costume will impact any Wodaabe people you may come across. Perhaps it’s best to forfeit costumes entirely.
9. Avoid avoiding costumes.
Only a racist would forfeit costumes entirely. To forgo costumes on Halloween communicates two things to marginalized populations: A) You don’t want to offend them because you’re afraid of them, which perpetuates the myth of the dangerous minority. B) You don’t want to partake in this fun holiday with minorities because they aren’t equal to you. Your decision to not wear a costume can be extremely dehumanizing to non-white people. Almost as dehumanizing as your decision to wear a costume.
These are the rules. They will be strictly enforced. Any white child who comes knocking at my door will have to follow the above protocols, and pass a short cultural sensitivity quiz, in order to receive a treat. If they fail, well, they’ll just have to hope the guy next door is handing out gluten-free pita chips. Mine are reserved for non-racists only.