I saw a post on Facebook recently that inspired this colorful rant. Let me first share the link that was posted and then the posters comment.
The person who posted this added this comment:
Just a little PSA for the Halloween season. If part or all of your costume includes pretending to be from a non-white racial group, this is cultural appropriation. It’s also hurtful and in poor taste.
I want to address the “cultural appropriation” in the context of the comment. As I read this, she’s suggesting that if I, as a white man were to dress as President Obama or Gandhi, this would be hurtful and in poor taste. Really? Because of the color of my skin, I apparently have been bestowed this magical gift called “White Privilege” and while this allows me to perform all kinds of miracles that those with a different skin hue than my own cannot, I am now also restricted from certain types of behavior. It was certainly news to me that my list of Halloween costume choices was now shortened to include only Caucasian characters (I’m still not sure if this includes dressing as a ghost. They are usually depicted as being white, but I’ll have to check with the Political Correctness Overlords for a ruling.)
I also found it interesting that Cultural Appropriation seemingly only functions as a one way street. She made no mention of non-whites dressing as white characters. Perhaps white people have no culture? I know we can’t jump or dance, but to be devoid of any culture at all seems a pretty steep price to pay for my PWP (Pale Wizardly Powers).
Is it really racist for me to say that telling a certain group of folks that they are only allowed to wear racially homogeneous Halloween costumes is racist?
For years I have sought to live a life free from the tyranny of religious zealots that wish to tell me how to think and act based on what THEY believe. It seems that the ultra-PC movement that ripples through (mostly) progressive groups has launched an attack on my favorite holiday in the hope that they will shame me into falling in line with their “Offensive-free” New World Order.
Let’s be honest about this, shall we? Nowhere, not in any religious text, not in the Constitution of the United States, not even in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is anyone guaranteed a life without offense. There is no conceivable way that 7 billion crazy homo sapiens will ever agree on every topic all the time. It’s just not going to happen. Not even me with my super White Privilege powers can make this happen. (Shouldn’t I at least have a staff like Gandalf or a wand like Harry Potter?)
Humans possess a multitude of ideas, attitudes, prejudices and emotions. Friction is a natural part of our intercourse (and I mean that in the non-sexual context, you pervs). Rather than trying to shape a world full of non-offending clones that walk on eggshells, fearful of saying or doing anything that might upset a fellow citizen, perhaps we should cultivate an atmosphere of reasonable tolerance coupled with the ability to rationally and non-violently address the friction that arises from our differences.
I find it ironic (and hypocritical) that a white person is going to tell another white person what is offensive to a non-white person. I’d rather have someone with different skin pigmentation take responsibility for their feelings and tell me themselves if something I’ve said or done has offended them rather than listen to the pulpit admonitions of a self-appointed moral authority.
Before anyone decides to jump in and start talking about hardcore racism and the atrocities that have been committed against people of all colors, let me clarify my position. I’m not advocating outright hatred or violence towards anyone. I’m also not suggesting that cruel insensitivity (a costume of a black man, say with a noose around his neck or wearing shackles) should be acceptable behaviour. What I’m talking about is the self-righteous attempt by some to control reasonable behavior through a strict and arbitrary set of rules for the sole purpose of not being offensive. I don’t need religion or liberal white guilt to tell me how to live my life. Let’s thicken our skin a bit, take the bumps and bruises that life dishes out daily and find that sensible middle ground to come together and live in chaotic harmony.