Administrators at the University of Texas (UT) Austin are on a mission to suck all the fun and humor out of Halloween this year… and it’s working.
The school’s Sorority and Fraternity life, under the Office of the Dean of Students, provided a “checklist” for students to ensure they do not display Halloween costumes and themes that “may intentionally or unintentionally appropriate another culture or experience,” as picked up by the College Fix.
Below is a helpful definition of cultural appropriation, as provided by the UT staff:
Cultural appropriation is when somebody adopts aspects of a culture that is not their own.
In other words, eating Chinese food can be cultural appropriation. Wearing Uggs or cowboy boots can be cultural appropriation. Using the international Metric system to measure things instead of the United States Imperial system… probably some level of appropriation there as well.
The UT Austin checklist provides six questions students should ask when picking out a Halloween costume. As per the checklist, the students should think about “why” they intend to wear that particular costume, whether the theme represents their organizational “values” and third, whether their theme refers to a “living culture or people,” and if so, avoid it.
Wearing themes of other “subcultures” are to be avoided as well, the checklist advises. That would include representation of other genders, races, or economic classes. Dressing up as Caitlyn Jenner or Shaquille O’Neal would transgress that rule. The students are told to consult with “experts” in advance to determine whether their costume is “educational.”
These guidelines for cultural appropriation are to be used all throughout the year; not just on Halloween.
“Review this sheet every semester with new members and the general membership, and remind members, out loud, of your organization’s expectations,” the UT checklist advises. Even party attendees who are not a part of campus Greek life should be the responsibility of the student groups throwing the parties. The students are instructed to “alert” attendees that they will not be allowed into their parties in culturally appropriating costumes.
“Any time you paint or tint your skin to appear to be a different skin tone, race, or culture,” you are violating these rules. Other specified violations include themes of “cowboys and Indians,” “Gypsies or Geishas,” “Hawaiian,” “Tropical,” “Fiesta,” “Rednecks,” “Urban,” “Trophy Wives,” “Hobos,” and “Around the World.”