Racist Halloween costumes have been highlighted by an Ohio University student group. Students Teaching Against Racism in Society (STARS) have launched a poster campaign to highlight racial stereotypes in Halloween costumes.
Sarah Williams, an Ohio University student president of the group, said in an interview with colorlines.com that she was at a Halloween party last year when she took a picture of someone in a black face.
“It angers me and it’s unacceptable,” she said.
“This is happening across the country. It’s not just here in Athens, Ohio,” Williams said.
The group launched educational campaigns headlined “We’re a culture, not a costume,” with images of people from different ethnic groups, with the statement: “This is not who I am, and this is not okay.”
The posters have gone viral on Tumblr and Facebook pages. They will be passed out throughout the dorms of her university campus. STARS Facebook page reported that other schools are also interested in distributing the posters on their campuses too.
Williams said in a statement yesterday: “These posters act as a public service announcement for colored communities. It’s about respect, human dignity, and the acceptance of other cultures (these posters simply ask people to think before they choose their Halloween costume). Although some Halloween costumes aren’t as racist as the blackface minstrel shows back in the day, they harken to similar prejudices. What these costumes have in common is that they make caricatures out of cultures, and that is simply not okay.”
Williams’ says STARS has a message for classmates joining Halloween events: “It’s not funny. STARS doesn’t believe that making a costume of a culture or race is funny. It only reinforces stereotypes.”
One poster shows a young Arab-American man holding up an image of a man dressing up in Arabic attire and a suicide bombers vest. Another poster shows an Asian girl holding up a picture of a Japanese geisha girl.