In the 1970s my younger sister decided to wear an Indian saree for Halloween. A saree is a six yard long beautiful coloured cloth that my mother and aunts wrapped around their bodies and wore for work and home as clothing all through the ’60s and ’70s. My mom and aunts were scientists, doctors and office workers and it was accepted at the time that they could wear their cultural clothing to work. They stopped wearing them in the ’80s for work.
They were not outraged when my sister wore her saree Halloween costume. Instead they were quite baffled that she thought of the saree as a costume. Costumes are worn by people to try and be someone else. She wasn’t born in India, but didn’t she still consider herself as Indian?
Most people don’t intentionally try to be discriminatory or mean. However, the original blackface/brownface costumes in theatrical settings were designed to be derisive and abusive to the people that they were mimicking.
Men wear dresses at costume parties, not women. Is skin colour, gender, or culture an appropriate costume at Halloween? Maybe. What is the intention? To make fun of a group of people, or to be someone you are not?
For this coming election, I want to know how the parties are dealing with climate change, when will taxes be raised to get the healthcare we deserve, how will young people be able to afford tuition and housing, are we fully funding scientific research, are these plans realistic, etc.
Halloween costumes and election platforms are one day parties. I want to know what the long term plan is. Let’s not get distracted from the real issues.