Honor vs. Appropriation: Know The Difference

As Halloween approaches, many people are preparing costumes and party plans.  But since the beginning of this month, I cannot help but be disgusted by the Halloween themed offensive social media images circulating the web.  Images that prove people still find cultural appropriation acceptable.

Halloween Make Up

As you select your next great costume, please take our advice and check you privilege at the door! There is a difference between honoring someone’s roots and making their traditions the line of the next joke.

Appreciation of Culture:
Cultural appreciation is necessary and very simple.
1) Learn about the culture – the present and the past.
2) Publicly discuss the the triumphs of these cultures AND the oppression that still exists today
3) An invitation -Receive an invitation to participate in someone’s cultural traditions – a wedding, celebration – and allow this cultural to teach you about their  customs.

EXAMPLE: Your Hindu friend asks you to join her to celebrate her wedding and gifts you with a beautiful outfit and jewels.  Not only should you wear the outfit, but you should learn about the significance of the outfit.

Appropriation of Culture:
Cultural appropriation is unacceptable but very common.
1) You have no specific reason to wear a certain item.  Wearing a feather headdress because it is “cool” is not a good answer.  Neither is using face paint as war symbols or sporting faux dread locks.
2) You “love” the culture but you will never fight for the people who are in it.
3) You love to rock cultural accessories  but you never take the time to find accessories that are made by the people of that culture; therefore, the specific cultural is financial benefiting from you purchase.

Before selecting your outfit for this month’s festivities, please think about your options.  There are so many wonderful, beautiful, imaginative, clever, and scary costumes that you can rock without offending someone.  Remember, it is our collective duty to be respect to each other, regardless of race, ethnicity, language, or culture because we are all…human.

Happy Halloween Prep! T-2 weeks!!



Author: Lexi Butler

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