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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.

by Anonymousreply 11010/28/2013

How about that old favorite, a costume of Jon Benet, formerly of Boulder, Colorado?

by Anonymousreply 110/26/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 210/26/2013

This PC crap has to end.

by Anonymousreply 310/26/2013

So...no bans on slutty costumes for the girls? Slutty nurses, slutty schoolgirls, slutty Disney princesses,slutty pirates, slutty nuns, etc?

by Anonymousreply 510/26/2013

Hope the Halloween costumes on Univision and Telemundo pass muster with Sr. Gonzales.

"El Gordo Y La Flaca"? Uh-oh.

by Anonymousreply 810/26/2013

Can't link, but search Carnaval Son Negro, and alert Gonzales

by Anonymousreply 910/26/2013

What the hell? How is a cowboy costume offensive? Next thing you can't dress as a cop or doctor...

by Anonymousreply 1010/26/2013

[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...

by Anonymousreply 1110/26/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 1210/26/2013

[quote]CU Boulder students aren't geniuses.

Nor are most students in the Ivy League.

by Anonymousreply 1510/26/2013

R16 is a liar.

by Anonymousreply 1610/26/2013

R20, are you saying that Affirmative Action practices don't occur in lower-level universities? I suspect you are wrong.

by Anonymousreply 1910/26/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 2110/26/2013

R22 doesn't know what he's talking about.

by Anonymousreply 2210/26/2013

r23, one-third of CU students come from out-of-state. And 1 out of 212 is less than half a percent.

by Anonymousreply 2310/26/2013

I don't get the point of the Sarah Palin comment. She seems like a pretty scary choice for Halloween.

by Anonymousreply 2410/26/2013

[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).

by Anonymousreply 2510/26/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 2710/26/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 2810/26/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 3110/26/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 3410/26/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 3510/26/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 3610/26/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 3710/26/2013

Uh, oh, better get rid of my fat ballerina costume.

by Anonymousreply 3810/26/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 3910/26/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 4510/26/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 4610/26/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 5010/26/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 5110/26/2013

Thank you for some sanity, R46.

by Anonymousreply 5310/26/2013

[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?

by Anonymousreply 5410/26/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 5510/26/2013

Aren't all Asian men's wives Geishas?

by Anonymousreply 5610/26/2013

[quote]Heather Donner, UC-Boulder Sophomore

It's CU-Boulder, not UC-Boulder. This isn't California, cunt.

by Anonymousreply 5710/26/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 6110/26/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 6210/26/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 6310/26/2013

I would dress as Saul Goodman On The Run, wearing a Cinnabon apron and carrying empty suitcases. Or maybe as Slave Jesse. It's the final Halloween for Breaking Bad.

by Anonymousreply 6410/26/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 6510/26/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 6610/26/2013

Damn. I just bought "Dead Intact Black Man with Removed Organs" at Party City.

by Anonymousreply 6810/26/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 6910/26/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 7010/26/2013

R72 'belies' doesn't mean what you think it means.

by Anonymousreply 7110/26/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 7210/26/2013

R75 I wasn't paying any attention to your argument, to be honest. *yawn*

by Anonymousreply 7310/26/2013

and beyonce can keep wearing her blonde wigs and bleaching her skin huh?

by Anonymousreply 7410/26/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 7710/26/2013

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?

by Anonymousreply 7910/26/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 8010/26/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 8110/26/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 8310/26/2013

R87. = Embarassingly earnest, sexually frustrated college kid.

by Anonymousreply 8510/26/2013

Warnings against offensive costumes now....

LEGISLATION against in the future.

by Anonymousreply 8610/26/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 8810/26/2013

R98 needs a parody class, pronto.

by Anonymousreply 9610/27/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 9710/27/2013

Bunch of crybaby bitches.

by Anonymousreply 10110/27/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 10510/27/2013

These people are from Quincy, Mass. What college do they go to?

by Anonymousreply 10610/28/2013

In Massachusetts?

They probably go to Zoo Mass (Boston, not Amherst - Amherst is a real school).

by Anonymousreply 10710/28/2013
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