Are These Halloween Costumes Racist?

A group of students in Ohio are so unhappy with racial stereotypes portrayed in certain Halloween costumes that they have organized a poster campaign against it. According to Daily Mail, the Students Teaching Against Racism in Society (STARS) of Ohio University claim that some costumes people don for the holiday can cause humiliation to minority ethnic groups.

According to Huffington Post, the mission of STARS is “to educate and facilitate discussion about racism." The organization also aims to promote racial harmony.

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Each poster in the group’s campaign is headlined We’re a Culture, Not a Costume and shows individuals from different ethnic groups holding up images of actual people dressed in costumes that ridicule different cultures. One poster shows a Latino young man holding up an image of a man in a multicolored poncho and atop a donkey. Under the headline, the posters read: “This is not who I am, and this is not okay.”

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On a blog titled Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a woman named Melissa Sipin said the STARS’ campaign serves as a public service announcement for colored communities. “It’s about respect, human dignity, and the acceptance of other cultures,” she wrote. “What these costumes have in common is that they make caricatures out of cultures, and that is simply not okay.”

The news of the student group has stirred up much debate in cyberspace about whether or not these costumes are actually offensive. According to Daily Mail, one blogger had to disable the comments on her website after she was flooded with 3,000 views and comments from what she described as ‘rude, racist people.’

The president of STARS issued the following statement recently on her tumblr account: “Thank you guys so much for the love! The purpose was to educate and create dialogue and it did :) We have a meeting with a lawyer on Monday so we can protect our posters and the posters will be all over Ohio University’s campus this week!”

Check out the others posters here and tell us what you think. Are you offended by some of these costumes?