The Sheffield Students’ Union Women’s Officer, in collaboration with BME Committee, has launched a campaign aiming to “encourage students to question the common practice of cultural appropriation in Halloween costumes and celebrations”.
The campaign, called ‘My Culture Is Not Your Costume’, has released a series of posters depicting common Halloween costumes including insane asylum scrubs and traditional Native American headdress.
All of the posters read: ‘This Halloween, question whether your costume choice mocks or demeans other people for their race, religion, culture or disability’.
The campaign follows recent NUS advice to ‘Check Your Costume’ after their campaign ‘Don’t let racism be the real horror this Halloween’.
“Cultural appropriation describes the inappropriate use of elements of a culture that has previously been seen as ‘lesser’ than the dominant population,” said Rosa.
“For me, it exposes one of the earliest, most enduring examples of racist ideals: the belief that people who belong to marginalized cultures are somehow less than human and that their language, dress, and customs aren’t worthy of the respect that people reserve for their own.
“We hope that students will refrain from choosing halloween costumes which mock or demean another person’s culture or disability, highlighting the importance of having an inclusive and respectful campus here at the University and Student’s Union.”
BME Committee President Loma Jones said: “We just want people to be mindful of how their costumed might affect people, whether that be culturally, racially or because of other aspects of their life and experiment.
“Everyone should be able to have fun as long as people take a second to check their costume (a costume being extremely different to a respectful exploration of different cultures) isn’t singling out or offending any minority social group.”