Since Halloween is vastly approaching, I figured I would first apologize on behalf of all ignorant people for the blatant racism, ethnocentrism and transphobia that is about to be masked by keg stands, last minute halloween costumes and being neck-deep in toilet bowls by the end of the night.
Every year insensitive costumes rear their ugly heads on a national scale. From Julianne Hough to Katy Perry, stars and celebs dawn cultural relics to impress and woo audiences.
I am here to let you know that if you’re going to go all the way with these costumes, you might as well literally, go all the way.
The cultures you wear as a costume once a year do not begin to shed light on the reality of those who wear this “costume” all the time.
Take for example, the black face. “Orange is the New Black” and the hit FOX show “Empire” are very popular. And hell, who wouldn’t want to slay as Viola Davis from “How to Get Away with Murder?”
However, if you’re going to wear a “black face” you might as well avoid the whole Rachel Dolezal approach and go all in.
If you wear the “black face,” don’t be emotional if your friends or family are one of the nearly 400 people who have been slaughtered in the streets. Don’t get upset when you aren’t hired because of the name on your job application.
Don’t get upset when your ideas are not heard or listened to. And friend, don’t get offended when that little old lady crosses the street to clearly get away from you late at night, without even a hello or a smile.
Perhaps you want to be more general. You want to dust off that old Native American head dress? No big deal. ‘‘If the Washington Redskins can do it, so can I, right?’’ Okay.
Just remember that when you’re on your sixth tall boy of the night, a disproportionate number of Native Americans have died from drugs and alcohol.
Don’t be upset when your culture is torn from you and you cannot speak your language or practice your religion.
Oh no! You have a week to pack whatever you can carry and leave your home. A really nice family of privileged folks want your really nice privileged folks-looking land. Don’t worry though, you’ll get a space. Not an education or a job, but space. That’s good enough, I’m sure.
And finally, Caitlyn Jenner. She’s popular. She’s in. I mean, men have been dressing as women for Halloween for decades, right? What could be wrong with that? If you’re going to pretend to be transgender, just remember you have to go all the way.
Wake up early that day. Look at yourself in the mirror. Feel disgusted, hate yourself, experience crippling anxiety and depression. Perhaps this morning it will be so bad that you become another statistic, another tick on the Trevor project website.
Nearly one half of all trans people will attempt suicide. But maybe today you’ll stick it out. So you decide to go out. You’re watching your back constantly to make sure you are not one of those 21 trans people killed this year.
A drop in the bucket for the hundreds that are murdered, stuffed under hotel room beds and into armoires. Left in ditches with their bodies sexually assaulted and mutilated for trying to not feel hatred over their bodies.
You probably don’t have a job. The people around you refuse to acknowledge you by the gender identity you’ve finally been able to come forward with. If you’re working, there’s the risk of being fired because there are no protections in place for you.
Long story short, be mindful of the costumes you choose. Take into account everything I just told you and make a conscious decision when deciding on your face paint or your last minute outfit.
You should know that these are not just costumes, but that these things represent people. Whether it is intended to offend or not.
Ashley Summers is a graduating Senior Resident Advisor at Ferris in Brophy McNerney Hall from Flint, Mich. She is majoring in Applied Speech Communication.