CU-Boulder Warns Students Against Halloween Costumes Perpetuating Racial, Cultural Stereotypes
The University of Colorado Boulder is generating some controversy for asking students not to wear Halloween costumes that perpetuate racial, cultural and gender stereotypes.
Advertisements posted around campus depict students from different ethnicities, cultures and religions standing next to a person dressed in costume. In one, a young black man is standing next to another young man wearing blackface, gold chains and flashing a prop gun. Another shows a young Asian woman holding a photo of a white woman dressed in a geisha costume.
"As a CU Buff, making the choice to dress up as someone from another culture, either with the intention of being humorous or without the intention of being disrespectful, can lead to inaccurate and hurtful portrayals of other peoples' cultures in the CU community," reads a letter from CU's dean of students, Christian Gonzales.
The posters are meant to ask students to be thoughtful in their costume choices and all read: "We're a culture, not a costume."
They are part of a campaign from a group at Ohio State University called Students Teaching About Racism in Society, or STARS.
At CU, according to the letter, students have complained about offensive costumes in the past and even offensive costume theme parties on campus.
"For example, the CU-Boulder community has in the past witnessed and been impacted by people who dressed in costumes that included blackface or sombreros/serapes; people have also chosen costumes that portray particular cultural identities as overly sexualized, such as geishas, "squaws," or stereotypical, such as cowboys and Indians. Additionally, some students have also hosted offensively-themed parties that reinforce negative representations of cultures as being associated with poverty (“ghetto” or "white trash/hillbilly"), or with crime or sex work."
Last year a sorority at Penn State landed in hot water over a "Mexican-themed" party after pictures of event showed up on Facebook depicting members dressed in sombreros and even holding up signs like, “I don’t cut grass, I smoke it."
This year CU isn't the only school warning their students about their Halloween costumes.
A report from Yahoo News points out that the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities also sent students a letter asking them to be aware that "certain Halloween costumes inappropriately perpetuate racial, cultural, and gender stereotypes," even though that may not be the wearer's intent.
Mike Schmit, the school's undergraduate student body president, was a little more vague about which costumes might be inappropriate.
“Cowboys, for instance -- totally fine. Indians -- not totally fine,” Schmit told The Minnesota Star-Tribune.
At CU however, cowboys are not totally fine.
"When you dress up as a cowboy, and you have your sheriff badge on and a big cowboy hat, that's not a representation of a cowboy, that's not a representation of people who work on a ranch that's not a representation of people who live in the West, that's kind of a crude stereotype," CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard told Campus Reform.
How about that old favorite, a costume of Jon Benet, formerly of Boulder, Colorado?
And no witches, ghosts, or skeletons, which are highly offensive to the Wiccan, pagan, albino, and anorexic communities. We won't even go into pumpkins and that kid from Mask.
This PC crap has to end.
I'm going to wear a white hood and a swastika for Halloween and call my costume "a white person." At least mine will be accurate.
So...no bans on slutty costumes for the girls? Slutty nurses, slutty schoolgirls, slutty Disney princesses,slutty pirates, slutty nuns, etc?
[quote] This PC crap has to end.
Reverse racism is oppressing white people!!!!!
R7: It's time we gave "white" "people" a taste of their own medicine.
My godson is a student at CU Boulder. He takes a science class with 212 student. One is African American. The university administration is perpetrating the worst stereotypes through its admissions policies.
Hope the Halloween costumes on Univision and Telemundo pass muster with Sr. Gonzales.
"El Gordo Y La Flaca"? Uh-oh.
Can't link, but search Carnaval Son Negro, and alert Gonzales
What the hell? How is a cowboy costume offensive? Next thing you can't dress as a cop or doctor...
[quote] What the hell? How is a cowboy costume offensive? Next thing you can't dress as a cop or doctor...
Or a construction worker, a leather man, a military man, a Native American...
[quote]The university administration is perpetrating the worst stereotypes through its admissions policies.
You mean by not lowering the bar for academic achievement so that more black people can be admitted based on their skin color rather than their scholastic ability?
Affirmative action is racism in action. It is built on the premise that black people are inherently less intelligent and cannot compete on a level playing field with people of other races.
R14 - If one out of 212 students in a class is African American, it's the fault of admissions practices. CU Boulder students aren't geniuses. It's not a matter of "lowering standards" in order to allow Black students in. It's that the campus is just so white-by-design.
[quote] on a level playing field
You just negated your own premise, blowhard.
[quote]CU Boulder students aren't geniuses.
Nor are most students in the Ivy League.
R16 is a liar.
Cry me a river, white boys.
r17, I get your point. I should add that I taught at Yale, Columbia, and CU Boulder. The difference between your average Yale undergrad and one at CU Boulder from the perspective of intelligence is vast. Therefore, Boulder wouldn't be lowering some bar to have more African American students. There's something else going on.
By the way, when I was at Boulder in 2008, two administrators went as Sarah Palin for Halloween. Both have been promoted by the university. Not sure what that says.
R20, are you saying that Affirmative Action practices don't occur in lower-level universities? I suspect you are wrong.
Dressing up on Halloween as another race or culture is provocative and is ignorant. People who do this lack imagination and class.
Who says there isn't affirmative action? Colorado is 4% African American, which amounts to 200,000 out of 5 million people. There is no class where a gigantic proportion is going to be African American.
R22 doesn't know what he's talking about.
r23, one-third of CU students come from out-of-state. And 1 out of 212 is less than half a percent.
I don't get the point of the Sarah Palin comment. She seems like a pretty scary choice for Halloween.
[quote]My godson is a student at CU Boulder. He takes a science class with 212 student. One is African American.
R9, you're making generalizations broad enough to drive a truck through. Colorado's population is 4% black. Logically, CU's black population should be within 2-3 percentage points of that, since the large majority of its students are in-state. Also, you're failing to observe the larger problem of science and engineering programs, regardless of location, being overwhelmingly filled with white and Asian men. People have been trying for decades, mostly without success, to figure out why so few women enter fields like computer programming.
Incidentally, I'm in law school. In my first-year section of 60 students, there wasn't a single black man (but we had five black women, two of them from abroad). Again, that's representative of black men, for whatever reason, being generally disinclined to pursue studies in law, not them trying and failing to gain admittance (though obviously there are tons of exceptions, Clarence Thomas being the biggest one).
Being white is so oppressive. Some days I can barely stand up to the abuse. I'm currently in therapy learning how to stand up for my rights.
The point of the Sarah Palin thing was to illustrate that CU is a liberal school that has no problem satirizing Republicans. If someone dressed up like Hillary, however, it'd be another matter entirely.
CU-Boulder is 2% black, so if that course were like the others, it would have had 4 black students v. the 1 that was there. But did CU limit the number of blacks in the class? Of course not.
While I generally agree with the university's stance, I think they're overlooking the equally large problem of suppressing freedom of expression and, in effect, acting as thought police. It's also a slippery slope issue: where do you draw the line? If it's unacceptable for a white man to dress up as a Native American, what about a black man who does so for the purposes of representing the two groups' shared oppression during the 17th through 19th centuries? What about a man who "looks white" but is in reality 3/8ths Native American blood?
[quote]Additionally, some students have also hosted offensively-themed parties that reinforce negative representations of cultures as being associated with poverty (“ghetto” or "white trash/hillbilly"), or with crime or sex work."
So, this is a problem, but television shows that glorify these types of lifestyles, like "Duck Dynasty" and "Honey Boo Boo," are okay? Btw that last bit is clearly referring to Pimps 'n Hoes parties, which were prevalent even when I was in college 20 years ago, and personally I don't have a problem with them.
There IS no problem with satirizing Republicans, which AFAIK is not an oppressed racial, ethnic or gender minority, and hence free game. (Although mental disability may be a consideration.)
R32, I agree, but FWIW using your logic there's no problem satirizing Democrats, which are also not an oppressed racial, ethnic or gender minority, either.
You sound like an entitled cunt, R31. Your racism is also not obscured by your long winded posts focusing on trivial points that only matter to privileged white cunts like yourself. I'm sure your more intelligent students see through your windbag facade after only a couple lectures.
[quote]This PC crap has to end.
That's something only true assholes say.
I'll never understand how people want to fight so hard to hold on to their racist beliefs. "It was OK to do that when I was in college in the 1940s, there's no reason it shouldn't still be OK today."
so now I have this urge to go to Colorado for Halloween dressed as a blackfaced geisha cowboy carrying a tomahawk, wearing a serape and lederhosen, and a helmet with horns attached.
Good luck getting the tomahawk past TSA, R36.
[quote]By the way, when I was at Boulder in 2008, two administrators went as Sarah Palin for Halloween. Both have been promoted by the university. Not sure what that says.
It doesn't say a lot.
In 2008, about half of the women I saw at Halloween parties went as Sarah Palin.
r36, now THAT sounds like a great South Park episode.
And, again, I understand why people who aren't familiar w/ CU's administrative practices miss the irony of their "PC-ness" in light of how they run the campus. But the science class example (and it's a required gen ed science course) is an example of the environment that greet African American students on campus.
R17, It is just plain stupid. One of the problems is that it is all about identity politics power play. A sexy Geisha is culturally insensitive, but I am certain dressy as a sexy Fräulein is not. Indeed, I wonder how quickly after complaining about insensitivity to German culture, the Nazi card would be played. I am certain that someone feels that Raggedy Ann and Andy costumes are insensitive to the red headed community and that their "I love you" heart is a "trigger" and sexual harassment.
Uh, oh, better get rid of my fat ballerina costume.
[quote]My godson is a student at CU Boulder. He takes a science class with 212 student. One is African American. The university administration is perpetrating the worst stereotypes through its admissions policies.
How many black people live in fucking Colorado? All of them could probably fit in one room. It's not the University's fault that the state of Colorado is something like 85% white people.
I trolldared R3 and he CLEARLY has issues with race:
[quote]You never worked in a government office run by black women.
R3 Cubefag with an axe to grind.
R43 pretty much sums up the racial situation in America today. EVERYBODY gets the statement, but it is forbidden to say it, write it or even admit you get it.
Now, if I was one of the white trash students at this university, and there are many, this controversy is totally asking for too much beer on a chilly Autumn night. BTDT!
I actually teach at CU-Boulder. Being a renowned research institution with several Nobel laureates and some of the world's best departments in sciences and engineering, the admission standard for CU-Boulder is incredibly low and most students here really aren't that bright. The undergrad part of the school is one of the least selective among America's large universities. The low percentage of black students has little to do with admission standards; it mostly has to do with the demographics of Colorado and the cost of living in Boulder.
I think cultural appropriation (of which the racial-stereotyped Halloween costumes are an example) deserves debate, this campaign is excessively PC. Geisha is not a race stereotype; it is a profession that is, albeit with certain cultural and ethnic ties, no different from an electrician or a farmer. In fact, I believe that any racial or ethnic group claiming ownership to elements of their culture is inherently racist and such act furthers the status quo of race dynamics and perpetuates the cultural dominance of white Europeans by self-designating a "protected" culture.
By the way, studies have shown that black students tend to self-select away from science majors, just like women do. Even if a black student is equally likely to end up in a science class as a white student, the probability of a class of 212 having only one black student out of a school with 2% blacks is actually 6%, or 1 in 17, not that unimaginable for one specific class, considering how many sciences classes the school offers.
I'm non-white and I will be going to a party tonight in a blond wig.
R46 Self-loathing person of color living in a Republican hotbed. *Yawn*
Most black college students self-segregate themselves on campus anyway. At my college in the late 90s, they all sat together in the cafeteria, only socialized with each other, and had very little to do with non-black students of any race.
The Asians, Indians and Latinos mixed with everyone, and didn't stay isolated in their own groups. In fact, the Indians seemed to prefer hanging out with the white kids instead of their own kind.
I'm not being racial here, this was all 100% factual.
[quote]You sound like an entitled cunt, R31. Your racism is also not obscured by your long winded posts focusing on trivial points that only matter to privileged white cunts like yourself.
Um, rage issues much? Btw I'm not "entitled," in possession of a vagina, or white.
[quote]In 2008, about half of the women I saw at Halloween parties went as Sarah Palin.
...but I, too, went dressed as Sarah Palin in 2008.
The Sarah Palin Halloween costumes were mostly done ironically.
[quote] Geisha is not a race stereotype; it is a profession that is, albeit with certain cultural and ethnic ties, no different from an electrician or a farmer.
Last time I checked, Geishas were pretty exclusively Japanese. Go as a prostitute instead.
R34 - do you see the irony of calling someone on their racism by using the word "cunt"?
I realize there's no point in responding to projecting trolls like R47, but at the risk of sounding condescending, I might as well provide a little bit more background information about Boulder for those who care to read about it.
The Boulder county is one of the most liberal and democrat-heavy counties in the nation. Our elections are done with after the Democratic primary. Our congressman is the openly gay Jared Polis.
That said, it is also a highly racially homogenous county that is lily white and very affluent. Racism here is not overt; while people here take pride in being open, inclusive, and progressive, living here is also inaccessible to many minority groups. The elephant in the room is that people probably prefer it that way.
True Geishas, in their day, were respected if not revered. I wouldn't really equate them with prostitutes, although it's possible some of them were.
[quote]Last time I checked, Geishas were pretty exclusively Japanese. Go as a prostitute instead.
So is sushi, does that make you a culture-appropriating racist when you partake in it? Is California roll a disrespectful bastardization of Japanese cuisine that is an affront to all Japanese people?
Thank you for some sanity, R46.
[quote]CU-Boulder Warns Students Against Halloween Costumes Perpetuating Racial, Cultural Stereotypes
So if I go as a fat black whore with six "welfare babies" hanging off my tits as I have planned, I have to wear a t-shirt that says, "This is so wrong"? Can it say that on the back, because on the front I want it to say, "Not Too Stoopit 2 Luv the Bucks!"
Just trying to understand the fucking rules. 'kay?
[quote]Racism here is not overt; while people here take pride in being open, inclusive, and progressive, living here is also inaccessible to many minority groups. The elephant in the room is that people probably prefer it that way.
Sounds just like my neighborhood in Silicon Valley. They love everyone until somebody "different" moves in.
Aren't all Asian men's wives Geishas?
[quote]Heather Donner, UC-Boulder Sophomore
It's CU-Boulder, not UC-Boulder. This isn't California, cunt.
Fine with me. This shit is so often just an excuse to vent prejudiced opinions.
[quote] So is sushi, does that make you a culture-appropriating racist when you partake in it? Is California roll a disrespectful bastardization of Japanese cuisine that is an affront to all Japanese people?
R46, you're just not as smart as you think you are. Geisha is a race stereotype, you dumb ass. There's a difference between eating food and dressing up like a cultural type you probably don't know shit about.
Drag queens better take notice because using this type of PC logic the portrayal of exaggerated female "stereotypes" can and will be deemed offensive,insensitive and ignorant. The calls for legislation will not be far behind.
The BF and I are all ready to go as Miso Horny and Fee Ling Yu. Don't call us racist!
[quote] Drag queens better take notice because using this type of PC logic the portrayal of exaggerated female "stereotypes" can and will be deemed offensive,insensitive and ignorant. The calls for legislation will not be far behind.
I've never seen a drag queen do blackface.
I love how the suggestion, the mere suggestion, by the university administration that students be careful that they do not infantilize and stereotype ethnic groups for the purpose of Halloween festivities makes DL racists mad with anger. Racists like these seem to simultaneously have thick skin ("I wouldn't mind it if minorities made fun of my ethnic heritage.") and thin skin ("Oh, why can't I make fun of Mexicans anymore. It is PC gone berserk. White men are being oppressed.")
Damn. I just bought "Dead Intact Black Man with Removed Organs" at Party City.
[quote][R46], you're just not as smart as you think you are. Geisha is a race stereotype, you dumb ass. There's a difference between eating food and dressing up like a cultural type you probably don't know shit about.
R62, please enlighten my dumb ass as to how geisha is a racial stereotype. Do people associate geisha with Japan? Absolutely, because that's where they're from. But the recognition of something's uniqueness to a culture doesn't make it a racial stereotype, does it?
Asians wearing rice hats, driving poorly, and having small penises are established stereotypes. The fact that there are geishas in Japan is not. There may be stereotypes as to what a geisha does or looks like, but most people, no matter how unaware, would not associate an Asian person automatically with a geisha. Unless, may I venture, you do?
Food is an inseparable part of any culture and the discourse on culture appropriation naturally includes the appropriation of a culture's cuisine. The failure to see the connection belies an insufficient understanding of cultural appropriation and origin of stereotypes.
Since the point of a costume holiday is to get out of one's own skin, the pc brigade will soon be assailed by costumes impersonating them. As it should be. Halloween has survived the "devil's holiday" assault from the right, and it will sail through this assault from the (fake) left.
R72 'belies' doesn't mean what you think it means.
[quote][R72] 'belies' doesn't mean what you think it means.
I concede the error, but I surely hope it's not the only argument you have against mine.
R75 I wasn't paying any attention to your argument, to be honest. *yawn*
and beyonce can keep wearing her blonde wigs and bleaching her skin huh?
R46, something can be a racial stereotype without applying to all people of that race. Got it? If I dress up like a slave boy, it doesn't make it less racial because slave boys are only boys.
'Appropriating' food (sushi,say) by eating it is not the same thing as dressing up like a someone else. Are you for real?
[quote] and beyonce can keep wearing her blonde wigs and bleaching her skin huh?
Well, she certainly doesn't need permission from a bitter, racist fag like you.
[quote][R75] I wasn't paying any attention to your argument, to be honest. *yawn*
Very well. Why would you? After all, I'm just a self-loathing person of color living in the Republican hotbed, despite the facts.
Exactly, R80. And your vocabulary sucks, too.
What about dressing like an ancient Egyptian? Or a gypsy fortune teller? A leprechaun? A Viking? A genie in a turban and blowsy pantaloons? Chelsea Manning? Edward Snowden? Daryl Dixon? Bob and Emily Hartley? A Rio carnival goer? A Frenchman wearing a beret, a black and white striped shirt with a curly mustache?
That's the point R82, costumes are supposed to overturn the world as it is for a day.
They are not intended to "enhance stereotypes" etc. You can't make a satire holiday into a serious holiday. Can't be done.
[quote][R46], something can be a racial stereotype without applying to all people of that race. Got it? If I dress up like a slave boy, it doesn't make it less racial because slave boys are only boys.
Black slave is not a stereotype, and I hope for your sake that you're not seriously arguing that the inappropriateness of dressing up as a black slave comes from the same place as the perceived inappropriateness of dressing up as a geisha.
[quote]'Appropriating' food (sushi,say) by eating it is not the same thing as dressing up like a someone else. Are you for real?
But yes I am for real. The adoption of sushi as a cultural staple in the United States underwent the same process as the adoption of Kung Fu and Hello Kitty, all are partial digestions of other cultures, not too different from adopting a specific look from another culture.
Unless someone shows up at the party dressed as a geisha and say "I'm dressed as an Asian," I refuse to take offense in it.
Alright it's been fun. Now it's time for me to go the party as Peter Berlin. Peace.
What a bunch of PC pussy bullshit.
God..college kids can be so overbearingly,embarassingly EARNEST that it just makes me want to put my head inside a hydraulic press and pull the switch.
Frontal lobe developement doesn't fully mature until the late 20s....couple that with an out of control endocrine system and unsatisfied horniness and you get this kind of story.
[quote] makes me want to put my head inside a hydraulic press and pull the switch.
But how would the rest of us survive without your insight?
R87. = Embarassingly earnest, sexually frustrated college kid.
Warnings against offensive costumes now....
LEGISLATION against in the future.
R87 Impotent old queen, proud to be a white man.
Much ado about nothing. The students were asked not to wear offensive costumes but they will not be punished in any way if they do. So not a big deal. Personally, I wouldn't go out dressed as another race or ethnicity. But if I wanted to I have every right to do so. We cannot make being an asshole illegal, try as we might. There are bigger problems with which to concern ourselves.
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.
This insane PC nonsense is what turns people Republican. Don't dress up as a cowboy?? For Christ's sake! You should check out our PC thread a few weeks ago. Our society has gone overboard. The so-called progressive ones posting here are on a site that is the most non-PC site in history, only to be outdone by 4chan and Encyclopedia Dramatica.
R93 is so tone deaf, he doesn't understand that only racist assholes use phrases like "insane PC nonsense."
No, r94, only PC morons claim that in order to not be called out on their bullshit. If you're so progressive, this site isn't for you. That right there proves you're a hypocrite.
R94 doesn't understand that only race-card playing pc morons throw around terms like "racist assholes" at anyone with an idea they don't understand.
"only race-card playing pc morons throw around terms like "racist assholes" at anyone with an idea they don't understand."
Or an idea they don't AGREE with.
These PC freaks have gone too far! It's even infiltrated my own place of work - at last year's Christmas party a group of pudgy midwestern middle-managers dressed up as gay people in the style of Richards Simmons/Brüno and spent the whole time mincing and lisping and saying "Hey gurrrl, you look FIERCE!" It was an absolute scream! But for some reason, some overly-PC uppity liberal flew into a snit and got them in trouble - some people just have no sense of humor!
R98 needs a parody class, pronto.
I'd have no problem with that r98, as long as they were doing it in the right spirit. Furthermore, those people/characters exist. Are you honesty going to tell me that your head would explode seeing someone dressing up as a gypsy and them telling everyone's fortune at a Halloween party? Give me a break.
Everyone should just dress like a marijuana plant or a joint and smoke all night long.
Sorry, r98, no company is permitted to have a "Christmas Party" these days. It must be a holiday party. Elaborate scenarios are all in the details.
When I was 11 years old, I went as a Chinese man with the black jacket with the mandarin collar. I took a Mickey Mouse hat ,and took off the ears to make a Chinese hat. I wore a long fake braid as well. I chose that look for Halloween because I loved the whole attire the Chinese men wore back in the 1800s when they came from China to San Francisco. I didn't choose a costume and someone that I didn't like. I loved the Chinese way of dress when I was a kid and I love the LOOK.I did my own thing and I was outside of the box. BTW, everyone loved my costume ,but I didn't win the prize!
BTW, I did not paint my eyes to make them look Chinese because that would have been outrageous and hurtful.
Bunch of crybaby bitches.
[quote] Black slave is not a stereotype, and I hope for your sake that you're not seriously arguing that the inappropriateness of dressing up as a black slave comes from the same place as the perceived inappropriateness of dressing up as a geisha.
Black slave can well be stereotyped. Masta this, Masta that? I never said it came from 'the same place'. These might not have equivalent relevance in American society but I'm allowing that an Asian person might not be too thrilled to see someone in this costume. Maybe a geisha costume really isn't a big deal at all. But I'm trying to point out that your argument is that you've decided any cultural baggage it carries doesn't matter to you. There's a whole oppression of women thing around that look. Whatever. Go as a geisha. I think you're wrong about what qualified as racist. You don't have to claim to be representing all Asians and still put a pretty offensive spin on a Geisha outfit (all Japanese female submissiveness).
[quote] The adoption of sushi as a cultural staple in the United States underwent the same process as the adoption of Kung Fu and Hello Kitty, all are partial digestions of other cultures, not too different from adopting a specific look from another culture.
Are you really still arguing that eating Americanized sushi is 'not too different' from my white ass choosing to dress like a slave in blackface and camping it up for my white peers? I'll give you that they could be on a continuum of appropriations but one is harmless while the other insulting.
R4 / R8 & R7 Share a grease fire.
You should kiss the ground we walk upon.
CU Boulder is the same sad little school that stepped all over free speech by banning the 420 celebration -- all in an attempt to make the university look "serious."
It's a party school, pure and simple. It's the university California kids go to who want to ski. White California kids.
Well, who goes skiing except for white people?
These people are from Quincy, Mass. What college do they go to?