Around the old neighborhood it was a rather typical Halloween. I was visited by groups of greedy goblins who threatened tricks if I did not fork over the protection money in the form of mini chocolate bars and a variety of gummy things.
Law enforcement was apparently off duty since among the shakedown artists was a policeman, a sheriff and an FBI agent. There were a few members of royalty in the form of princesses, a witch or two, one zombie (I think), a bloody-toothed Dracula, a couple cartoon characters and some dreadful monsters I could not identify. More ominously, there was an American Indian and pint-sized Poncho Villa.
While everything was quite normal in the neighborhood, the cyber world and news feeds were awash with stories of the real horrors of Halloween as expressed by the humorless identity-crazed political-correct left-wing merchants of division and hate – you know, the really scary folks. As is their practice, they have conjured up new reasons for tribal animosity – reasons that did not exist in times of greater costume tranquility.
According to the politically correct Gestapo, it is racist for a white person to dress up to be President Barack Obama if it includes blackening the face. It appears to be acceptable, however, if that same little white boy or girl dons an Obama mask. Does the same apply to a black child whitening his or her face and wearing a garish orange wig to be President Trump? That seems less clear.
I guess dressing up like Al Jolson as a minstrel singer for Halloween would be totally out of bounds in today’s overly-sensitive restrictive and judgmental world. On the other hand, what kid would even know who Al Jolson was. I should have considered a better example.
For kids to dress up across racial lines is harmless fantasy. It is play. It can actually be quite funny. But to the left, it rises to the edge of criminality and deserving of social retribution. The defense of both blackface and whiteface as Halloween costumes actually got Megan Kelly canned from her job at CNN – one of those institutions monitoring the boundaries of tribal divisiveness. Imagine that. She merely believes that Halloween pretending by kids should not be the political issue of our times — and she actually loses her job in a case of a punishment NOT fitting the “crime.”
This is not a black and white issue. School Superintendent Josh Middleton took to Facebook to issue a formal public apology because some teachers dressed up as Mexicans – which has been one of the standard traditional costumes of every Halloween. In liberal-think, it seems only Mexicans can dress up as Mexicans – in which case they are not dressing up at all.
Proving that our college campuses have become the bastions of intolerance in the name of tolerance, Kevin Nadal, professor of psychology at John Jay College, posted this response to the Halloween sombrero-wearing amigos. “The fact that these elementary school teachers thought this would be okay [to dress as Mexicans] demonstrates how much more cultural competence training is needed in education.” “Cultural competence training?” Now THAT is really scary.
Isn’t that the sort of “education” that we hear about in those authoritarian countries like China and Russia? The answer is, “yes.” If Professor Nadal needs a costume for next year’s Halloween party, he might consider Mao Zedong or Joseph Stalin to reflect his inner psyche.
I well recall the Spanish flamenco dancer costume my mother made for me – with sequined vest, flared pant cuffs with red inserts and a bolero hat with dangling balls. (Don’t go there). By today’s standards, would I be insulting Spaniards and flamenco dancers? I fear so.
Much of the costume-killing snowflake movement operates under the banner “my culture is not a costume.” Under this rubric, it is not acceptable to wear any historical costumes that are iconic to a culture. No be-feathered, tomahawk bearing, war paint-wearing Native Americans – not even Elizabeth Warren. No Cleopatras or pharoahs. No sheiks of Araby. No Roman emperors. No geisha girls, No Cisco Kid – and definitely no Pancho. Ironically, the aforementioned are among the most popular costumes in the catalogs and are seen all over America on Halloween.
The left is very good at making up new terms to label their otherwise unknown social maladies. In this case, it is “cultural appropriation” – taking up the appearance, customs and even the cuisine of other ethnic groups. In terms of Halloween, it is pretending you are someone of a different ethnicity than what you are. Hmmmm. I thought that was the entire idea of Halloween – to dress up like what you are not.
I once attended a Halloween party as a Chinese emperor. According to left-wing orthodoxy, I was guilty of “cultural appropriation” and Professor Nadal would have me committed to “cultural competence training.” I actually showed the picture to a number of my friends in China, and not one of them seemed offended. It elicited hearty and friendly laughs. Perhaps the good professor needs to explain to them why they should be as offended as him since they apparently not smart enough to see the evil insult in my costume.
Even in China, they do not get it. Just inside the Forbidden City, they had a concession stand in which we westerners dress up in traditional Chinese garb for photographs. Rather than being offended, they seemed to be proud of sharing their culture.
This cultural appropriation is not limited to costumes at Halloween. The most devout advocates of identity politics allege that it is improper for Caucasians to prepare foods associated with non-Caucasian countries. No … I am not making this up. According to the hypersensitive left, if you are white, you should not be allowed to open a restaurant that serves anything but white food. I don’t know what that is, but it sounds rather bland.
It seems that if you are a white restaurant owner and you serve Asian, Latin, Indian or African cuisine, you are “a tool of white supremacist culture.” According to a website that targets whites serving up ethnic foods in Oregon, “it’s about profit, ownership, and wealth in a white supremacist culture.” In other words, the white owners are making money off the culture and traditions of a different – usually minority – culture. Geeez! I thought it was just about enjoying a good dinner.
If you are a Swede running a German restaurant, that appears to be okay. But if you have tacos or egg foo young on the menu, you are a fraud – stealing money from that other culture. Not sure how Taco Bell figures into all that.
And what if it is a non-white minority that is cross cooking. Here in Boca, we have a fine Chinese restaurant that is run by Hispanics – including the cooks. And as a guy who likes to cook, I spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen appropriating virtually every culture on earth. My stir fries could be served in Shanghai.
I really have a very simple solution to all this Halloween nonsense. Since Halloween started as a Celtic (Irish) tradition, it should be celebrated only by white people – maybe only by the Irish. After all, we do not want to have the Emerald Isle’s culture appropriated by all those sweet Asian, Hispanic, Indian and African kids on Halloween. The next thing you know, they will be dressing up like leprechauns.
There is also a second solution – an even better one. LIGHTEN UP!!!
So, there ‘tis.