Why changing your skin color for Halloween is insensitive

The news has been saturated with terrible people doing terrible things for Halloween as of late. Many of them made the very poor decision of donning blackface as part of their costume. As pictures of these costumes reached the internet, most people were horrified and outraged – and rightfully so. Others, however, defended them saying ‘its just a costume’ or ‘they were emulating a the culture or a [insert race] celebrity – it is flattery!’ I do understand that these costumes can be put in different categories.

There are these guys who decided to mock the murder of a kid and on top of that in blackface! I personally hope their stupidity eventually brings about their demise.

Then there are these girls who actually decided to be a race for Halloween! I cannot even imagine what was going through their heads when they decided to do this. It probably involved something like ‘*racism* LOL *racism* JK *racism*’.  This falls under the category that includes the people who dress up as ‘Indians’ and ‘Mexicans’ – except these girls went in blackface!!! Cultural appropriation is a whole other discussion which will be left for another day.

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And finally, there are the people who wanted to be their favorite celebrity for Halloween. Like this guy who wanted to be Lil Wayne and decided to achieve his goal in blackface.

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The last category brings in the most support for people who don blackface. Many argue that it is a form of flattery or that they weren’t being malicious like the ones above. And while I do agree that some of these people may just be ignorant and not mini-devils on the earthly plane, this is still very offensive! First, there is the historical aspect, which I don’t feel like I need to explain. Second, and this applies to blackface and brownface alike, the need to change your skin color to portray a celebrity or character suggests that you define this person within their race. And that is the most unkindest cut of all.

The people who do this are basically suggesting that no matter how famous you get or how much you change the world in the end you are seen only within the boundaries of your race. When people decide to dress up as Britney Spears for Halloween they think of the outfits, the hair, etc. and not the fact that she is white. But when an actor/ musician is of color all of a sudden it seems pertinent to change one’s skin color. Does the man above really think that its Lil Wayne’s skin color that defines the image he has probably spent thousands of dollars developing? I hardly think that is logical. And neither is restricting someone’s identity to the confines of their race.

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