Traditional costumes should not be jokes

Gustavo Lopez

The abyss of ignorance is ever yawning, some of us resisting it and others pitching head first.

Nothing says cannon-balling into the abyss by dressing up as a Native American or say, a member of ISIS for Halloween.

You’d think people in a California community college, a phrase that conjures images of bongo-beating hipsters, would know better.

You don’t dress up as a caricature of a people who are still here.

It’s offensive, racist and ignorant to pretend they are some cartoon cliche of red skin and feathered headdresses.

Especially at this time when Native Americans are fighting for their water rights in North Dakota.

There are also non-Native Americans dressing up in offensive costumes with signs mocking the Standing Rock Sioux Nation’s fight against the DAPL extension.

What’s it going to take to get people to understand this?

When you choose to dress up as a race, you are mocking its history, culture and identity.

It invalidates that culture’s struggles. You wouldn’t wear blackface and call it a fun, spooky costume.

Then why would you wear a Native American dress, if you don’t know the history or significance behind it?

During the ASCC Halloween Costume Contest, there was also a student dressed as an ISIS fighter.

It’s just for fun, you might say, in the spirit of Halloween.

What’s the difference between dressing as an ISIS fighter and a regular soldier?

Well for starters, ISIS is based on religion, Islamic fundamentalism, and can be seen as insensitive to Muslim students who reject Islamic radicalism.

It is still making light of a very serious threat both to Muslims and Americans.

It is also insensitive to other veterans on campus, making light of an ongoing conflict they may have taken part in.

There’s fun and then there’s disrespect and we have to learn the difference.

People will argue that today’s generation is “too sensitive” especially compared to the older generations, but don’t pay them any mind because they’ll be dead soon.

No it’s not about sensitivity, it’s about understanding what it means to appropriate a culture, religion or a race and dress up.

Don’t pay any mind to that “devil’s advocate” or faux-logician” act people put on, it’s born out ignorance and misunderstanding.

Don’t stop standing for what is right, because if you don’t who will?

You can’t rely on others to fight those battles for you, and we can’t let people who actively fight these injustices do it alone.

People will try to say, “oh that’s nothing compared to what x people are going through in y country” which is a logical fallacy. After that, engage in a little ad hominem, call them an idiot and call it a day.

People who think that way fail to grasp the actual concept of the argument, and trying to change their mind through discourse has as much chance of succeeding as Facebook thread comments.