Still More Help for Your Halloween-Challenged Friends

Oct 27, 2010

Jorge Rivas’ list of the most racist Halloween costumes he’s seen on sale this year has been a big hit with ColorLines readers. And a number of you have some helpful additions to the list.

Readers teeteetee and Danielle Docka-Filipek point to variations on the "Poca-hottie" theme–sexualized Native American women you can buy off the rack. Teeteetee adds that the same online retailer is offering up dirty "Geishas".

Reader Claudia Arroyo chimes in with, "Another one that I personally find entirely inappropriate is the border patrol costumes. I don’t think people realize what border patrol symbolizes to many people." Agreed.

And our own Julianne Hing adds:

Check out this "Super Sexy Asian Girl" outfit.

AND the accompanying copy for the merchandise: Buy that costume and they promise you’ll be set "so you can start your own Chinese Cultural Revolution." Someone shoulda told Mao.

What a fraught holiday for Americans! A friend of mine has always pointed out the funny thing about Halloween: We almost always see it as a chance to appropriate or mock somebody else’s life, whether it’s a plumber or a ethnic group. Other cultures have celebrations–say, the Afro-Caribbean carnival–where they dawn costumes and disguises as well. But there it’s a chance for magical thinking and social inversion. Here, it just becomes a free pass to act out racist fantasies. Where’s the fun in that?