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We’ve all seen the many racist and sexist Halloween costumes on the market this year (and every year). And this soft bigotry, through objectifying imagery under the pretense of parody or entertainment, absolutely must be named, framed, and explained by us social justice advocates — simply because nobody else is going to do it.

That said… It’s Halloween, y’all, and unless you want your house TPed and your party status marked permanently to ‘pooper,’ you’d best find a more sanguine way of introducing the radical idea of not being racist or sexist on Halloween than an impromptu lecture series at the doorstop and the punchbowl. Of course, we should be ever vigilant, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the needs of our audience, and nothing will dis-enamor said audience from the cause faster than a sociological breakdown of his or her Illegal Alien costume right as the new Bangs single is coming on the stereo. Real talk. (I don’t know why you’re partying with people who buy their costumes at Walgreen’s, but that’s just me, I’m a costume snob.)

What to do? Proactively dominate the frame AND the party with one of these socially aware, party-positive costume ideas. Us lampshade jockeys at RaceWire will get you started below the cut.

Read on for our ideas, and put your own in the comments. (Bonus points for photos!)

From RaceWire’s resident video diva, Tammy Johnson:

The First Black President Who… — In my old neighborhood there was this kid would dress up as the first black president every year for Halloween. I’d like to see that kid again this year, but instead be the first black President that goes to the UN Conference on Racism, stands up against racial profiling, insurance agencies and racially segregated housing in New Orleans.

Pissed Off Voters — Run, you racist anti-immigrant half-wits! Boo to you, you Tea Parters, Birthers and Hope-Haters. Here come the registered naturalized citizens of African, Asian and Latino decent, armed with voter registration cards for their communities! And look! Who’s that right behind them? Is that US Attorney General Eric Holder and the Division of Civil Rights, ensuring their votes? Cool. [Channing notes: ‘Pissed-off voter of color’ and ‘Attorney General Eric Holder’ would make an adorable couples costume!]


From Susan Starr, the RaceWire commenter you don’t want to mess with if you want to stay uninformed:

black arm ending in raised fist

black-and-red flag with “viva la huelga”

map of usa with indigenous peoples’ homelands superimposed over state/national boundaries

and the most daring of all: a shirt that says “si, se puede, con o sin obama”


From Channing:

Are the ramifications of blackface scaring you away from an Obama costume? Barack’s got a lot of family members from a lot of places. ’60s Ann Dunham is an easy costume, and you can carry a baby Barry photo with you for partygoers to coo over.

Black-and-white striped prison uniforms are easy to come by, though out of style — which is exactly why Sheriff Joe Arpaio delights in dressing up his inhumanely treated detainees in them before parading them through town. Pair some prison stripes with a cowboy hat, moustache, and sheriff badge, and bam, you’ve got Arpaio Brought to Justice.

Polo shirt plus pig nose equals a chance to educate people about the real cause of swine flu’s spread. (In bad taste? Perhaps. In worse taste than the inevitable ‘Mexican Swine Flu’ costume that you’ll encounter? Definitely not.)

Dress as a parrot and spend the night cracking insults on hedge fund managers. You’re an Economic Diss Parroty.

Are you a beefy small-town Alaskan with dreamy lashes and a propensity towards mullets? Put on some high school quarterback-style eyeblack and cover your private life with the new Sarah Palin memoir, and take the opportunity to foster discussion about gender double standards in the dialogue around Levi Johnston’s forthcoming Playgirl spread. Stay in character by taking donations.

Read this online at http://colorlines.com/archives/2009/10/fight_halloween_bigotry_dress_provocatively_proactive_with_these_costume_ideas.html


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