The University of Windsor Native Student Alliance held “My culture is not a costume” awareness fair. During the Halloween season, many costumes get released and some are based on people cultures. A hot topic of debate for many years.
The fair is to start a discussion about cultural appropriation, “People like to wear and look like us but they don’t understand the struggles that we go through and the history that we’ve had in Canada,” said Dan Falconer, Masters of social work student and a member of the Native Student Alliance, “So we’re trying to look to increase the awareness of those things as well as have a respectful conversation with people who maybe think they can wear whatever they want.”
We’re a culture, not a costume started in 2011 by Sarah Williams, president of Students Teaching About Racism in Society at Ohio University. Their ad campaign is to start a conversation as well. “During Halloween, we see offensive costumes. We don’t like it, we don’t appreciate it. We wanted to do a campaign about it saying, ‘Hey, think about this. It’s offensive,'” said Williams. Even though this started in 2011, the topic is still relevant today.
This year a costume of Anne Frank has been at the center of controversy. It was for sale at HalloweenCostumes.com but as of now, it has been taken down.
— R.Solly (@Solomomonitz) October 23, 2017
Amazon should remove children’s “Anne Frank” costume.
This is so insensitive & offensive. https://t.co/09x1TtGxAN
— eric fieldman?✌ (@mrfieldmanchs) October 20, 2017
— McKay Smith (@McKayMSmith) October 20, 2017
Falconer said that these costumes are offensive because it is more than just a costume. “You may think it’s right to dress up as Pocahontas and I get wanting to embody a strong female character or someone that you look up to, but there is more to it. It all comes from somewhere, it all has a meaning and it’s important to us. It’s not just simply a costume for one night of the year.”
These photos below were taken at a local Party City on Walker road. It is unknown how many were sold this Halloween season.
After going to downtown Windsor and asking the public is these costumes are offensive the reaction was all one-sided. After showing people images of Anne Frank, sexy Muslim, and white people as Asian, Mexican and Native American costumes, most if not all people who were asked said that these costumes are okay. Some claiming that these costumes are just costumes and nothing more. One man said that because these costumes didn’t affect him it’s not offensive. Another man said that the Anne Frank costume might be a bit offensive due to history.