We are launching our ‘Not A Stereotype’ campaign for Halloween because we want to draw awareness to the problematic nature of many Halloween costumes.
We know that most people do not pick out a costume with the intention of being racist or transphobic, but regardless of intentions, appropriative costumes still perpetuate harmful stereotypes and justify more aggressive and violent situations. This Halloween (and every Halloween) we invite and encourage you to participate in undoing existing harmful beliefs and practices related to Halloween costumes, and promoting those that ensure equity and respect for those whose identities are marginalized in society at large.
What is cultural appropriation?
Cultural appropriation is to take significant elements (symbols, dress, words, practices, etc) from one culture and remove all original context or meaning, usually with the goal of using these elements for artificial or leisurely purposes, or to allow and encourage monetary profit. This can happen in a variety of forms but often around Halloween it involves wearing costumes that rely on specific cultural signifiers and stereotypes. The impacts of choosing to buy, make and wear a culturally appropriative costume are significant, including trivializing violent historical realities and ongoing struggles, as well as spreading stereotypes and falsehoods about marginalized communities. Dressing up as a ethnicity, race, or culture that is not your own is problematic and racist, and it’s up to everyone to work together to ensure it doesn’t continue among our friend groups, families and communities.
If you witness any instances cultural appropriations this Halloween, in your own terms and words, you can use the hashtag #NotYourStereotype to denounce it.