Just this past weekend was Halloween, a time when a majority of people embrace a different identity for the night. Halloween has become a strange gray area, when is the line being crossed? People embrace various costumes and personalities, but when is it considered going too far? This article from the Huffington Post published a post asking Americans their opinion on Halloween costumes. The majority, 55%, felt that people should wear whatever they want regardless of if it is offensive. A shocking 47% of Americans also felt it was ok for white people to wear blackface on Halloween.
This poll parallels with the concept of racialization covered in class as well as Limerick’s piece about a haunted America. The practice of blackface came about in the early 19th century in minstrel shows, it essentially served as a platform to portray negative stereotypes and mock the black community. The use of blackface is rooted in a derogatory and negative nature. The use of blackface in costumes today is in a way romanticizing the past and the harsh truth of its original intentions. As Limerick discusses in her piece we often brush over the brutal truths of the past which is in a sense what is happening with the use of blackface today.
I personally feel that wearing blackface, even on Halloween, should not be acceptable. It plays down the historic value. The same applies to costumes such as that of native americans, transgenders, or various other culturally oblivious costumes. Mocking another person’s culture or a historical and cultural crime should be glorified in costumes worn around during a day as celebration. Is it acceptable to wear costumes that encompass another culture when it revisits a dark past?