Halloween hypocrisy: Why can't everyone be offended?

Hannah Scherlacher
Program Manager & Opinion Writer

  • The scariest Halloween costumes on campus are no longer monsters and bloody zombies, they’re Hawaiian Hula dancers and native warriors. Yes—the PC police have managed to suck the fun out of yet another harmless holiday.
  • As colleges across the country preemptively warn students against cultural appropriation and otherwise "offensive" Halloween costumes, the sensitivities of conservative students never seem to come up.
  • The scariest Halloween costumes on campus are no longer monsters and bloody zombies, they’re Hawaiian Hula dancers and native warriors. Yes—the PC police have managed to suck the fun out of yet another harmless holiday.

    Princeton University’s Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding started preparing early by posting a guide to avoiding cultural appropriation when selecting Halloween costumes.

    "The scariest Halloween costumes on campus are no longer monsters...they’re Hawaiian Hula dancers."   

    [RELATED: UNT asks if certain Halloween costumes should be allowed]

    The guide includes more than a dozen photos of “offensive” Halloween costumes and “STRONGLY DISCOURAGES” students from wearing costumes that portray other people’s cultures or marginalized groups.

    The featured costumes include a man in a “Call me Caitlyn” sash, Mexican attire replete with Sombreros and guitars, a Hawaiian Hula outfit, and ancient warrior garb.

    In addition, Princeton’s Undergraduate Student Government sent out an email warning students not to alter their skin color or body features, or to wear any costume that otherwise has the potential to create “an unsafe or hostile environment.”

    Hypersensitivity is rampant on college campuses, and cowardly administrators lack the courage to allow these students to be offended and learn how to work through controversy like adults.

    Once they graduate, those students can't go whining to sympathetic administrators to get their way. If they see someone out and about during Halloween with a costume they find offensive, they can’t demand a cop to make them remove it. Part of adulthood is accepting things won’t always be pleasant and realizing your personal discomfort is not a reason to punish others.

    [RELATED: Students ask UMD to ‘expand the consequences of hate speech’]

    Earlier this month, a magazine run by Ohio State University students put out similar guidelines in the form of a flow-chart designed to help students determine whether their costumes are offensive, warning against traditional headwear and dressing up as a person of another race, unless the person is non-white.

    Anti-Trump costumes, however, are not only considered allowable, but are actually encouraged.

    Cultural appropriation policing is nothing new on college campuses, of course. Last Halloween, Pennsylvania State University costume-shamed students with a poster campaign and Tufts University threatened police response for students wearing ‘offensive’ costumes.

    Florida State students have no need to worry, though, for their school offers counseling to students who feel offended by Halloween costumes.

    [RELATED: Not wearing blackface this Halloween? NC State worries you may be Hitler]

    Ironically enough, these same schools never bothered to consider the most targeted and marginalized group on college campuses: conservative students.

    In fact, I came up with a few examples of costumes that may be considered offensive to Conservative or Republican students that seem to be missing from their victimhood flow-charts and appropriation guides, at least based on the standards they purport to use.

    Is not Trumpism a culture in America? Is not “Make America Great Again” intellectual property (a component of Princeton’s definition of “cultural appropriation”)?

    I hope these schools consider these examples when making next year’s Halloween guide, but in the meantime, these colleges might consider whether they are acting worse than the behaviors they are trying to prevent.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @h_scherlacher





    Hannah Scherlacher

    Hannah Scherlacher

    Program Manager & Opinion Writer

    Hannah Scherlacher is the Program Manager and a Contributor for Campus Reform. Previously, she studied at Liberty University and the Anglo-American University, where she co-founded an anti-sex trafficking nonprofit, competed as a D-1 scholar track athlete and wrote for publications in the U.S. and Czech Republic. Hannah also worked in advocacy for the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, where she directed an interfaith leadership program in the West Bank.

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