Cultures are not costumes

Halloween is approaching at lightening speed, and for all of you who dress up for Halloween, sometimes there may be a temptation to dress up as Native Americans.

There is an appeal in the headdress and the costume itself. The same can be said for dressing up as “gypsies.” The genie-in-the-bottle look may be appealing to some people, who accentuate the costume with jewels and the like.  

However, by doing a quick Google search you may know that Native Americans find their “costumes” sacred. 

With this Google search, you may learn that the Native American headdress is worn as a sign of great respect in the tribes. They were originally worn as a token of ceremony, but are also worn into battle. 

To wear this garment as a Halloween costume shows a blatant disrespect for the culture, Native Americans and a lack of knowledge and ignorance of the history of their demise. 

Additionally, “gypsies,” more appropriately known as Romani, come from a long line of genocide during World War II. The Jewish population were not the only targets during that time. They were targeted and put into camps due to their religion and not being members of the master race. To completely overlook this detail, would be synonymous to dressing as the Jews in concentration camps, in striped uniforms. 

Now, you may be thinking “It’s harmless, I personally did not do any of that stuff,” but using their history, years of torture and religion as a costume is cultural appropriation and is disrespectful. 

Using someone’s culture as a part of Halloween is something that should never be considered OK.

So, I challenge you to steer away from costumes that depict cultures that were devastated by dictators like Hitler or the act of genocide, or inflicted on the Native Americans by the European settlers. 

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