Texas A&M flowchart advises students on costume sensitivity
Students at Texas A&M University (TAMU) got a costume sensitivity flowchart for Halloween this year.
“Wondering about your Halloween costume? Here are some things to keep in mind,” the TAMU GLBT Resource Center tweeted on October 25, along with a flowchart bearing the title, “Is My Costume Culturally Insensitive?”
“Freedom of Speech Does Not Mean Free [sic] From Responsibility,” reads the flowchart’s subtitle.
Users of the flowchart are asked a series of questions, including, “Is the costume supposed to be funny?” “Does the costume represent a culture or community that is not my own?” and “Is the humor based on making fun of real people, human traits, or cultural communities?”
Other questions included “Do the costumes being used have packaging that include the words ‘traditional’, ‘ethnic’, ‘colonial,’ ‘authentic’, or ‘tribal’?” and “Does the costume perpetuate stereotypes, misinformation, or historical and cultural inaccuracies?”
If students answer “yes” to any question save for whether the costume is supposed to be funny, the flowchart tells readers that it would be “best to find a new costume.” Otherwise, students are told that they are “good to go!”
Organizations listed on the flowchart include the TAMU GLBT Resource Center and Aggies to Aggies (A2A), a “peer diversity education program housed in the Department of Multicultural Services” that “seeks to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within our communities.”
“A2A uses an array of activities to enhance students’ understandings of these topics and what it means to be a socially conscious Aggie,” the program’s description states, adding that “our A2A peer diversity educators are formally trained to facilitate workshops and discussions.”
There have been other demonstrations and presentations on campus regarding culturally appropriative Halloween costumes, as well.
On October 26, for instance, TAMU Multicultural Services put on a “Cultural Appropriation 101” workshop, which TAMU Student Affairs described in a tweet as “an interactive conversation about appropriation vs. appreciation this Halloween season!”
In a similar vein, the TAMU Delta Xi Nu Multicultural Sorority prepared a demonstration on October 27 titled “Culture vs. Costume: Where is the Line?,” tweeting, “Culture Appropriation vs. Good costumes.. Where is the line? Come to our table this Friday to find out!!”
Campus Reform reached out to the TAMU GLBT Resource Center, Aggies to Aggies, and TAMU Multicultural Services for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @rMitchellGunter