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Costumes, Culture, and Adoption
Brooke Randolph, LMHC
As you are preparing your child's Halloween costume, for some their first Halloween costume, blackface probably didn't occur to you as an acceptable part of a costume. Yet, I was shocked to see an adult in blackface last year as part of a Tiger Woods costume. There are so many costumes available in the Fall that can be considered offensive, and you may want to shield your child from the costume aisle and all the "sexy" variations.
Ohio University's Students Teaching About Racism in Society
(STARS) is trying to bring attention to other costumes that can be offensive that you may not have considered, such as a gypsy, geisha, or Native American. The campaign has received backlash from people stating that dressing up is only "in good fun", but I think this is a campaign that many adoptive parents can support
Costumes that represent a culture or ethnicity are dependent on stereotypes and reinforce those stereotypes and prejudices
in others. Adoptive parents preparing to parent transracially
are often disheartened to hear how teens are treated in stores depending on race or even how likely I am to be searched by TSA depending on the
appearance of those with whom I am traveling. We do not want our children to be profiled or stereotyped based on appearance.
Cultures and ethnicities
include a variety of people; one of the basic tenets taught in psychological research courses is there are more within group difference than between group difference. The values and behaviors portrayed in a costume cannot accurately describe an entire culture, but generally only a charactiture of a culture.
- What are geisha costumes teaching our youth about Asian women?
- Does a Native American costume accurately and respectfully describe a current culture and religion?
- What do children of Roma descent see when Americans dress as "gypsies"?