Look, it's 2023 and we can't believe we still have to have this conversation, but cultural appropriation has always been a hard no.
We thought we'd take a hot minute to remind everyone that if it's someone else's culture, it shouldn't be your costume. Full stop.
We mean it: don't go chasing loopholes, don't come at us with a "but it's appreciation, not appropriation" — none of that.
After 2020, our world has collectively acknowledged systemic racism in a way it never has before - so now that we know better, we have to do better.
You can't "pretend" to be part of a culture
If you don't belong to a culture, and you adopt cultural identity markers that represent that culture, that's appropriation. Not only does it perpetuate stereotypes, but it also infantilizes and reduces that culture to something you can just put on for a day.
Wearing the cultural identifiers of another community reinforces the same power dynamics that we see playing out across systems in our country.
Cultural appropriation means that elements of a culture are taken and used for their aesthetic value while the people belonging to that culture have been criminalized, discriminated against, and oppressed for belonging to that culture.
Halloween isn't an excuse to be a bigot
People seem to think that Halloween is an excuse or some sort of free pass for racism. News flash: it's not.
It's actually a trend that goes beyond October 31. For example, there's a constant appropriation of Black and Indigenous culture and aesthetics by celebrities and everyday folk who attempt to "cleanse" it for white consumption.
Think of how the Kardashians — a family with Dutch, British, and Armenian ancestry — have picked up different elements of Black culture to build their brands. Or Ariana Grande, a woman of Italian ancestry, that has altered her appearance to look racially ambiguous while still retaining all of her white privilege. FYI Ariana, God is a woman and she's not impressed.
"UGH, you're taking the FUN out of Halloween!"
Look, if your idea of fun is dressing up like another culture, sexualizing children, or dressing up as a perpetrator of violence, then we're all sorts of worried for you. Seriously.
Use your imagination and creativity! With the one exception of not being an asshole bigot, you can literally be anything you want. If all you can come up with are costumes that offend someone, you might not be as clever as you think you are, bud.
Here are some costume ideas we came up with using minimal effort: Barbenheimer, Succession’s Bridget and her “ludicrously capacious” bag, a nepo-baby, girl dinner (group costume!), Selena Gomez in her blanket, sexy Grimace, Taylor Swift’s seemingly ranch.
On Canada Project is a social advocacy group made up of neighbourhood nerds who are here to dismantle the status quo and champion change in our lives. Check our Instagram to learn more.