Discussing cultural appropriation surrounding Halloween costumes

MUNCIE, Ind. (Newslink) -- With Halloween approaching, students are picking out their Halloween costumes. Some have questions about cultural appropriation regarding Halloween costumes.

Professor of Sociology and Faculty Fellow at the Office of Inclusive Excellence Melinda Messineo said if you don’t know enough about the identity that you are dressed up as this Halloween season, then you should probably pick another costume.

“If in doubt, pick something else,” said Messineo.

Messineo encourages students to come to the Office of Inclusive Excellence if they have questions about their costume, or if they have questions about someone else’s costume.

Messineo stresses that cultural appropriation can be seen through an oversimplification of an identity or a stereotype. 

However, Messineo also acknowledged microaggressions and microinvalidations and the fact that the vast majority of them are unattended.

“Thinking, well what would it be like to be in that person’s shoes, is a great strategy,” said Messineo. 

Other resources at Ball State University include outlets at the Multicultural Center. The Multicultural Center has held programs on cultural appropriation in the past.

Bobby Steele, director of the Multicultural Center, said he hopes that individuals will be cognizant and mindful while dressing up for Halloween.  

Both Steele and Messineo both emphasized the resources online regarding cultural appropriation.

Messineo suggests that we broaden our exposure and awareness outside of just referring to people who have the lived experience of cultural appropriation.

“Embrace this idea of being curious and wanting to learn,” said Messineo. 

If students have any questions, they can refer to the Applied Technology Building in Room 101.

For questions or comments, contact the author at klsehgal@bsu.edu.

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