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By Vivian Lin

Still don’t know what to wear for Halloween?  While Halloween brings fun nights of trick-or-treating in your costumes, it is important to be mindful towards other people’s cultures in your costumes.  Cultural appropriation has been a raging issue in the media, from music festivals to holidays, especially Halloween.  But what is cultural appropriation?

“For me, cultural appropriation is using someone else’s culture without understanding it, using it frivolously, ” claimed sophomore Aayushi Shah.

Certain costumes depicting “native” headdresses and “oriental” qipaos can be offensive towards people of that ethnic background because it is turning their culture, something with centuries of rich history, into a silly and shallow costume.

“You’re taking something that is very sacred and you’re being offensive with it.” remarked social science teacher Jeff Loggins.

With all this controversy over cultural appropriation, some people might be hesitant to engage in discussions or events regarding other cultures.  That’s where cultural appreciation comes in.

“If you’re trying to learn something about a culture, and a teacher dresses a certain way to teach a lesson, then it’s cultural appreciation,” explained Spanish teacher Claire  Gonzalez.

“Appropriation is when you pick it for yourself and you don’t respect the other culture.  It’s appreciation if you respect the culture and if someone from the culture invites you to celebrate,” elaborated sophomore Kristle Dela Cruz.

To avoid insensitivity this Halloween, make sure you check yourself before going out in your costume.  Ask yourself: Would you wear it in front of a person of that culture? If you’re having doubts about whether or not it is offensive, chances are that it is.  Better safe than sorry!

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