A high school in Brampton, Ontario banned a student of Colombian descent from dressing up as a mariachi for Halloween, claiming it was ‘cultural appropriation.’
Joshua Sewerynek, a ninth-grade student at the St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School, told MRCTV that he and his friends had planned to dress up as a mariachi band for Halloween. After submitting his costume to his school’s official Twitter account as per instructions, he was informed that it was “too offensive.”
When Sewerynek informed the school of his hispanic heritage, he was told that “while you may not find it offensive, others may” and that “culture is not a costume.”
This echoed the slogan of a former ad campaign against allegedly insensitive costumes that went viral on the internet, mainly due to the large number of parody remixes that were created to poke fun at the concept of “cultural appropriation.” After informing Sewerynek that his costume was too offensive, the school’s Twitter account then retweeted images from the same campaign.
Please keep this in mind while choosing your 2015 Halloween costumes! pic.twitter.com/dTku2yeuTz
— Cardy (@STABrampton) October 24, 2015
Sewerynek said that “the social justice movement has gone too far when kids can’t even represent their own culture”, and has said that he and his friends still plan to attend school dressed up as a mariachi band.
Sewerynek also posted about his experience on Reddit, where he mostly received support for his position. “PC Principal shuts down Halloween, sad day” said one Redditor, referencing South Park’s recent mockery of social justice warriors. A more critical commenter suggested that mariachi bands were Mexican, and that Sewerynek shouldn’t get a “free pass.” Sewerynek responded by arguing that Colombia has a long history of mariachi bands.
The idea that culture can be “appropriated” has become increasingly popular among social justice warriors and campus activists, and other “cultural appropriation” controversies have hit the headlines in recent months. This summer, SJW protesters staged sit-ins at a museum where visitors were allowed to wear the traditional Japanese Kimono, although they also faced a counter-protest by Japanese-Americans, who wore Kimonos and held signs welcoming others to share their culture.
More recently, an online campaign was recently created to bribe members of the public to leave negative reviews under allegedly “racist” costumes on Amazon.