Michigan State University Posts ‘Costume Sensitivity’ Flyers for Halloween

Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Casamigos Tequila
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Casamigos Tequila

Michigan State University has been displaying costume sensitivity flyers in dormitory hallways in order to caution students about how their Halloween costumes may be perceived by others.

“A culture is not a costume,” affirms signage in the dorm room halls of Michigan State University (MSU). “Is your costume racially, ethnically or culturally-biased?”

The flyers also attempt to explain the difference between “cultural appropriation” and “cultural appreciation,” according to a report by WSLS-TV.

“There’s some good intention behind it, in the sense that we don’t want to make fun other people’s cultures, you don’t want to say, ‘I’m going to wear this to purposely mock you or mock what your culture stands for,’ but I think there’s a difference between that and then telling students wearing a sombrero with a mustache is somehow racist,” said MSU student Sergei Kelley to WSLS.

Nonetheless, Kelley — who discovered the flyers in his dormitory halls — says that this should not be the university’s priority.

“The first priority here, of students, is to learn,” said Kelley. “They’re here for their degree, they’re here to get a career later on, and so, this doesn’t fall in line with MSU’s job.”

Another student who spoke to WSLS said that he actually likes MSU’s message.

“I really don’t think that it’s too much too ask for people to not appropriate another culture,” said Yancy Wingard. “I think more universities should take a stance against certain things like this, especially in the times that we have today, where there’s so many issues going on with race and whatnot, so I think it’s really important they make this message.”

The report added that an MSU spokesperson said that RA’s choose what to put up on dormitory walls, adding that the politically correct messaging is not new to the university, and has been promoted on campus for the last few years.

The spokesperson added that the university is not telling students what they can and cannot wear, but that the messaging is letting students know how their costumes may be portrayed.

The issue of so-called “cultural appropriation” involving Halloween costumes is not isolated to MSU, nor is it isolated to one specific college or area. A number of schools around the country have also attempted to be proactive by cautioning students against wearing offensive costumes — some even reminding students of the “consequences” for doing so.

Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina has in its handbook a policy that claims students can be punished for wearing offensive Halloween costumes.

Some may argue that U.S. schools establishing a cultural stigma promoting political correctness on campuses has played a role in students’ glaring and ever-increasing misunderstanding of some of the most basic human rights enjoyed in the United States.

A recent poll revealed that over half of college students desire to see their peers punished for wearing “offensive” Halloween costumes.

Moreover, a separate poll recently found that 48 percent of Americans believe “hate speech” should be illegal, with about half of those respondents saying that the punishment for “hate speech” violations should include possible jail time, while a staggering 51 percent believe that the First Amendment is outdated and should be rewritten.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo and on Instagram.

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