Universities Warn Against Blackface Halloween Costumes

By Daryl Hannah


With Halloween less than a week away, universities are warning students against dressing in Blackface, hosting watermelon-eating-themed parties, and other Halloween antics that preclude diversity and inclusion “all in the name of fun.”

For the second time in as many years, officials at the University of Minnesota sent a letter to students encouraging them to avoid “culturally insensitive” costumes that might also land them in trouble with the university.

The letter reads:

“In particular, please keep in mind that certain Halloween costumes inappropriately perpetuate racial, cultural and gender stereotypes. Although it may not be the intent, these costumes, and choosing to wear them, can depict identities in ways that are offensive or hurtful to others. Please take care in selecting your Halloween costumes. And, as always, keep in mind the potential for social-media posts to have a long-term impact on your reputation.

“Halloween is just one occasion on a broad continuum where we all benefit from acting with an understanding of the concepts of diversity, inclusion and respect. At the U of M, we work to foster an environment that supports these values, and we seek to weave them into the life and work of every member of our community.”

Advising students against racist and homophobic costumes and parties isn’t unheard of. Especially after the racist and homophobic costumes flooded social media last year.

Last Halloween, the Delta Kappa Epsilon sorority at theUniversity of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, threw a 1960s-themed party featuring “hippies” mixing with men in rice-paddy hats. In June 2013, students at California State University, San Marcos hosted a Cowboy and Indian themed graduation party. The new members of University of California, Irvine’s chapter of Lambda Theta Delta issued an apology last year after photos and videos of them donning Blackface ignited a furor on social media. The entire video can be seen below.

And unfortunately it’s not just colleges. Three hockey fans in the audience of a North Dakota high school state semifinal game in February wore Ku Klux Klan-ish hoods and robes as a “joke.”

In response, schools started warning students about their culturally insensitive costumes.

University of Colorado Boulder Dean of Students Christina Gonzales has also warned students that “sombreros geishas, ‘squaws,’ cowboys and Indians” fall under the university’s insensitive category.

“Unfortunately, stores often sell stereotypical and offensive costumes,” Gonzaleswrote in a letter to students. “If you are planning to celebrate Halloween by dressing up in a costume, consider the impact your costume decision may have on others in the CU community.

“As a CU Buff, making the choice to dress up as someone from another culture, either with the intention of being humorous or without the intention of being disrespectful, can lead to inaccurate and hurtful portrayals of other peoples’ cultures in the CU community.”

After similar incidents at Ohio University, Students Teaching About Racism (STARS), a student group “dedicated to the prevention of racism through education,” started a dialogue about racist-themed costumes. STARS hosted a Halloween poster campaign called “We’re a Culture, Not a Costume”that informs students that some of their holiday get-ups are probably misguided and possibly racist.

Latest News

degeneres, work, show

Leadership Lessons to be Gleaned from Ellen DeGeneres’ Toxic Workplace Scandal

Ellen DeGeneres began her daytime talk show’s 18th season with an apology after a summer of allegations against her that claimed her show promoted a toxic work environment rife with racism, sexual misconduct and other mistreatment. In August 2020, three senior producers — executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman…

COVID entrepreneur

Explosive New Growth in Small Businesses Due to COVID-19; America’s Police Force is Not Becoming More Diverse Despite BLM Movement; the Best and Worst Performing States in the 2020 Census; and More

Even with incredible nationwide unemployment rates, the creation of new small and diverse businesses has exploded due to COVID-19. Finally some news coming out of our pandemic: The Philadelphia Tribune reports that as bars and restaurants closed and stay-at-home orders were put into place earlier in 2020 to help fight…

Justice for Breonna not served; The essential rule of politics; Teen serves two months in jail for not doing homework; and More

Justice for Breonna not served as grand jury indicted officer who shot her with wanton endangerment — but not murder. “Outrageous and offensive.” Those were  by attorney to the family, Ben Crump to describe the grand jury’s decision in the March 13 fatal police shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor. While…

IBM, EEOC, age

EEOC Unearths Years of Intentional Age Discrimination within IBM

After a long investigation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has revealed that IBM leaders had directed managers to replace older workers with younger ones. Between 2013 and 2018, nearly 86% of those considered for layoffs within the organization were older employees over the age of 40. The investigation showed…

Breathe March in Globe Park, New York, USA - 12 Sep 2020

Cities under attack from the Justice Department; Louisville bracing for the Breonna Taylor murder charge; Twitter reveals its racist side; and More

Justice department attacks three U.S. cities, declaring them anarchist zones — despite most of the protests that took place in each city being peaceful marches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In a move designed to pull federal funding from New York City, Seattle and Portland, OR, the…

ginsburg, supreme, court

The Lasting Legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — Plus the Four Biggest Issues Currently at Stake Following Her Death

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who served on the nation’s highest court for 27 years, passed away Friday, Sept. 18 at the age 87. “As the second woman ever to sit on the highest court in the land, she was a warrior for gender equality — someone who believed…

Abbott Receives CE Mark for Next-Generation Mitraclip Heart Valve Repair Device to Treat Mitral

Originally posted on Abbott.com – CE Mark for MitraClip G4 offers physicians an innovative next-generation system with more options for mitral valve repair using proven clip-based technology – MitraClip is a first-of-its-kind transcatheter mitral valve therapy, now on its fourth generation, improving further on MitraClip’s history as a safe and…