A blog by an Ohio University student named Sarah is getting some international attention because of her stand against certain Halloween costumes she and others consider racist. My question to you is are they actually racist? Are they more stereotypical than racist? Or is this group being overly sensitive? Here are 3 of their posters with examples of "racist" costumes.

Now let's break these down 1 by 1 shall we?
1. The Suicide Bomber: Is it racist? Most suicide bombers are Muslim extremists from the middle east. Islam is a religion that covers the entire world and is even more prominent in much of Africa and Asia as well, however suicide bombers from those areas are rarely heard about. So is it racist or merely a reflection of a group of people from a certain part of the world?

2. The Geisha Girl: Is this racist? I don't think that anybody is wearing this and making fun of the culture any more than a guy in a samurai outfit is making fun of that part of the culture. "Geisha girls" are still a part of Japanese culture today, and not all of them are Japanese either. Yes there are women who aren't Japanese who become Geishas, in fact there are some white American women who are Geishas. In fact this is from Wikipedia: "Geisha (芸者?), Geiko (芸子) or Geigi (芸妓) are traditional, female Japanese entertainers whose skills include performing various Japanese arts such as classical music and dance." So it seems that dressing like a Geisha is about as offensive as a little girl dressing like a ballerina, to me at least.

3. The Donkey Rider (I don't know the actual name of this one): This is the only one of these 3 that I could even barely see as racist, but then you have to take it in context. This isn't a costume about any kind of current latino/latina person. It's a caricature of a period in time in many Central and South American and even European countries. The comedy part to me is that the guy has fake tiny legs riding a fake donkey. But even then how many hispanics do you see riding a donkey, wearing a sombrero, with an over-sized mustache? I've seen quite a few, in curio stores in Mexico. Yes I've seen these so called "racist" items being sold by the same people they are rumored to be mocking. So is it racist to you?

Think about it this way, If a non-white person dressed up as Abraham Lincoln, would that be considered racist? What if the same person dressed up as The Unabomber, a notorious American terrorist? Or possibly a Victorian Era American prostitute? Are any of these racist to you? They sure aren't to me. So why is it that these costumes are? What's the difference?

Notice also that the woman running the blog has at the top of her blog the phrase "Hard to be humble when you stuntin on a jumbotron."


Is this racist? Or is it ok because she's African American? Wouldn't many African Americans find this insulting just through the use of culturally specific language? Or is she just having fun? Again, where's the difference?

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