Who You S'posed to Be?

Halloween costumes are not a cover for racial insults.

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blackface
Be careful what you wear...

Last Halloween, we were preparing for Election Day in the midst of much racial tension surrounding then-nominee Barack Obama. Here's Meera Bowman-Johnson's article, reprinted below, on the top five costumes that she doesn't want to see at her door.

Halloween has crept upon us and this year, I'm more afraid than ever before. After all, this is no ordinary All Hallows Eve: It's Halloween in the age of Obama. Scarier to me than any ghoul, goblin or woman with a black eye and a backwards "B" on her face, I'm scared of how some people may use the occasion to express their political views. And what certain costumes might imply about the outcome of this year's election. After all, on what other occasion can a person wear their racial politics on their sleeve without fear of serious repercussions?

Now of course, this is a free country, and people have the right to adorn themselves however they see fit (or forego costumes and candy altogether).

But tonight in particular, I'm going to be eyeballing certain get-ups with a little more scrutiny than the ghosts of Halloween past. These are the top five Halloween costumes that are guaranteed to give me pause this year. Some make my skin crawl just a little more than others:

 

Not on Halloween; not ever.

 

1. Blackface. I know it's hard for certain folks to stay away from this one. After all, it's just too easy. College students across the country have made that clear with the popularity of gangster parties. Self tanner and cosmetics have replaced Al Jolsen's shoe polish allowing for more accurate simulations of the modern Negro. But almost more disconcerting than the shoe polish and/or self tanner itself is the choice of get-ups that often accompany the faux skin tones. And from Aunt Jemima to Young Jeezy, the costume options to rock with blackface are unlimited. Regardless, it makes my blood boil. You'd think that a white guy would think twice about walking into a bar in blackface, a grass skirt and a bone through his nose. But for the record, dude, it's not funny.

 

Baby Baracks beware of which doors you knock on.

 

2. Baby Barack Obamas. I'm not as afraid of this costume as I am of the people it might offend. Without a doubt, there will be a myriad of Halloween presidential hopefuls storming the subdivisions this evening, hoping to earn as many treats in one evening as Obama himself earned in donations last month. I just hope that before they march up those manicured lawns, mom and dad sniff out the territory. If there's a McCain-Palin sign on the front lawn, by all means ring the bell (those Republicans might have good candy). Just realize that more than one Obama Mini-Me might be more than the average, undecided candy giver can handle in one evening, let alone the next four years. And by all means, put a flag pin on the boy's lapel. Just in case.