The University of Southern Indiana offered a student workshop this week to help students prepare to be culturally sensitive in their choices of Halloween costumes.
The Halloween workshop, titled “Culture not Costumes,” explained the dangers of “cultural appropriation,” defined in a handout as “the taking of intellectual property, knowledge, and cultural expression from someone else’s culture without permission.”
Among the taboos of cultural appropriation are costumes related to American Indians, such as feathered headdresses, dressing up as “Pocahotties” and “sexy Indian Princesses,” according to first-hand reporting from the attentive folks at The College Fix.
Some have taken the issue so far as to suggest that wearing hoop earrings is itself another form of cultural appropriation. “Hoops exist across many minority groups as symbols of resistance, strength and identity,” so non-minority women should not be wearing them, declares a recent article in Vice.
Students attending the Southern Indiana event, hosted by the University’s Housing and Residence Life, were given dress-up materials along with instructions on how to devise a Halloween costume that wasn’t culturally insensitive. Among the appropriate costumes suggested were superheroes, ghosts and cats.
Along with four handouts distributed to participants, students were treated to two videos about “very disrespectful” people dressing up in “inappropriate costumes,” which included some people in Japanese prostitute outfits and others in Native American getups.
One of the hand-outs featured a yes/no flowchart questionnaire to guide students through the perilous ordeal of choosing a costume that will not offend protected identity groups. Every time a student makes a wrong move, the flowchart tells them to “go back and start at the beginning” until they get it right.
Politically correct costume protocol is nothing new on college campuses and has been spreading for some years. As Breitbart News reported last October, a number of universities have banned un-PC Halloween costumes such as Arab turbans, feathered Indian headdresses, Japanese Geisha outfits, and Caitlyn Jenner costumes.
Brock University in Ontario, Canada, for instance, set up an entire website laying out its “Halloween Costume Vetting Protocol,” complete with a list of offending costumes and pictures of inappropriate wear, which now includes burqas and niqabs.
The university declared that the measures were instituted so as “to create an inclusive and diverse environment,” while warning that “some costumes may be denied.”
“If a member of your party is denied entry because of their costume, they will be escorted to a space where they can change or remove the offending item,” according to the protocol. “They will not lose their place in line during this process, and can enter Isaac’s once the costume has been deemed appropriate by team of Isaac’s Bar and Grill Management and Student Justice Centre Staff.”
The University of Florida issued similar warnings to students who might be tempted to don offensive costumes, while once again appealing to “diversity.”
“Some Halloween costumes reinforce stereotypes of particular races, genders, cultures, or religions,” the university noted. “Regardless of intent, these costumes can perpetuate negative stereotypes, causing harm and offense to groups of people.”
In an incisive article in Forbes last year, the celebrated British historian Paul Johnson called political correctness “one of the most dangerous intellectual afflictions ever to attack mankind.”
PC has “enormous appeal to the semieducated,” Johnson observed, and it “appeals to pseudo-intellectuals everywhere, since it evokes the strong streak of cowardice notable among those wielding academic authority nowadays.”
“Any empty-headed student with a powerful voice can claim someone (never specified) will be ‘hurt’ by a hitherto harmless term, object or activity and be reasonably assured that the dons and professors in charge will show a white feather and do as the student demands,” he said.
“Thus, there isn’t a university campus on either side of the Atlantic that’s not in danger of censorship,” he concluded.
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