This article is a satire. While the storyline may be fictional, the racial and historical implications are not. Peoples culture are not costumes, so be a decent human being this Halloween.
An MBA student at the University of Windsor has expressed his dismay at accusations of racism following his attendance to a local costume party.
Brad Richards, the student in question, attended a costume party last weekend and was told by numerous other partygoers that what he was wearing was “inappropriate,” “extremely racist,” and “offensive to every person and institution with a sense of common decency.”
Richards’ so-called ‘costume’ consisted of black streaks of face paint running across his eyes, a feathered headdress, and faux buckskin clothing. He has described the costume as ‘Indian’, while others have mostly described it as an offensive caricature that hinges on the exploitation and stereotyping of a people who have been continuously oppressed by European settlers and their descendants since first European contact with the continent.
Richards, however, disagrees, as he made clear on various social media after the event. It is unclear how he had access to such social media, since by all other counts it appears that he has not yet reached the 21st century.
Taking to Twitter
Richards took to Twitter in a passionate tirade that has been dubbed by one fellow student as “one of the most controversial Twitter threads of this month, but the most controversial if you discount everything from POTUS.” Among the many inane comments made by Richards was his attempt at a defence of using body paint to emulate the characteristics of other ethnic groups.
“How come Dave Chappelle can wear makeup to look white but I can’t wear war paint to look Indian?” he said through Twitter, apparently unaware of the asymmetrical centuries-long experiences of racial oppression and structural violence perpetrated by one ethnic group against the other that make his statement a false comparison.
“I didn’t know we were still in the colonial period,” another tweet said, conveniently ignoring the many forms of racism that persist in Canada to this day, including but not limited to: disproportionate incidence of being assaulted, disproportionately high rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women, continual pollution of vital natural resources and ecosystems, disproportionately high rates of poverty, underrepresentation in government, and a lack of sufficient government action to address any of the above issues.
Response Falls on Deaf Ears
A member of the University of Windsor Native Student Alliance was reached for comment. When told of the controversy that had unfolded, she responded by mildly cursing under her breath and asking, “What else is new?” This student source did not feel the need to comment further, as anything she could say “has already been said by countless Indigenous people for the last, well, forever” and because “the people who need to hear what we have to say are the ones who choose not to listen.”
And of course, this all applies to any race of people, not just Indigenous Canadians. If you’re considering dressing up as anything that can be selected on a demographic survey, the best course of action is to just don’t do it.
To help alleviate any possible confusion on the matter, a handy little Q&A was put together:
Q: Should I dress up as another race?
Hope this helps.
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