Taking a stand against racism, while demanding respect and dignity, a group of confident Ohio University students launched a “We are not a Costume” poster campaign, highlighting racist Halloween costumes, especially on college campuses. Students Teaching Against Racism (STARS) is an organization created by a group of confident students of Ohio University. Their mission is “to educate and facilitate discussion about racism and to promote racial harmony and to create a safe, non-threatening environment to allow participants to feel comfortable to express their feelings.”
Halloween, the second most expensive holiday, Christmas takes first place of course, is a time when adults, teens, and children get an opportunity to dress up as whomever or whatever they choose to be. Where’s the harm it? Well sure there are fiction animation costumes, Tinker Bell, Spiderman, or The Little Mermaid, even professional career imitators, like Doctors, school teachers and maids. But the irony of Halloween and the costumes are that some make caricatures of out cultures, targeting minorities; think Indians, Arabians or dressing up in blackface, as someone of another race – so not cool! STARS and the poster campaign bring light to those who participate in the misrepresentations of cultures in Halloween costumes. For crying out, if you’re not of Mexican descent, how in the world would you know how Mexicans dressed or act. You wouldn’t, you’d dress and act they were you thought they did – complete mockery!
Some say, “Hey it’s just Halloween, that’s the point of dressing in costumes. It’s all fun and games.” Some believe, like STARS, yes indeed it is fun and games, however, making the conscience decision on a costumes that does not imitate or impersonate another race makes all the difference. I read on a recent blog post (will not disclosed the name), “Halloween is the holiday for the ‘Closet Racist’.” Well racism made its way into our closets, minds and personal thoughts, just because some of us do not see active racism does not mean it does not exist, like in some Halloween costumes. STARS just want us to be mindful when celebrating this holiday. Parents, when choosing you’re children’s costumes, be mindful to choose something that’s not offensive to another race. Try an object versus a person. Try a pillow for a costume, versus a Pakistani person. Get creative!
Any questions about the posters can be sent to [email protected] We are so proud of all the support but it’s overwhelming; we have less than 10 members in our group. We ask that you do not personally email any of the exec’s or message their personal Tumblrs. Thank you guys so much for the love! — Executive Board of STARS from Ohio University
Send your comments, questions and encouraging words to [email protected]