Ohio Univ. Activist Explains ‘We’re a Culture, Not a Costume’ Campaign

Activist Stephanie Sheeley talks to Colorlines.com about the anti-racist Halloween campaign that's gone viral.

By Jorge Rivas Oct 31, 2011

By now you’ve probably heard about S.T.A.R.S., the small group of Ohio University students that took it upon themselves to start an educational campaign about Halloween costumes that are based on race, ethic traditions or stereotypes. S.T.A.R.S., which stands for Students Teaching About Racism in Society, launched a campaign that not only made national headlines, but raised lots and lots of questions.

The Colorlines.com story that featured S.T.A.R.S.’ "We’re a culture, not a costume" campaign quickly became one of our most popular posts. Some disagreed with the campaign, while others loved it and still others weren’t quite sure what to make of it.

On Friday, Ohio University student and S.T.A.R.S. treasurer Stephanie Sheeley spoke with me via Skype to provide an update on the campaign and how they’ve dealt with all the attention since it’s gone viral. She also addressed some of the questions that arose from the almost 300 comments on our story.

Watch the video above that’s above. But be gentle; it’s our first try at this new Skype-interview format. We’re excited about it, and hope it gets better with time.