Alternate headline: Sudden new appreciation for Black and Orange Spirit Day. Remember back when we dressed up in costumes for Halloween without obsessing over whether we were committing “cultural appropriation” for dressing up like ninjas, pirates, or the latest Disney characters? So do the editors of Redbook, who scolded young parents in a Cosmopolitan essay yesterday for expressing their racist impulses while, um, begging for candy from strangers. If your daughters want to dress like Princess Moana, the editors urge parents to recognize the racism in their offspring before their costumes expose them as well:
The original article, written by Sachi Feris, discusses how her white daughter was torn between dressing as Elsa, from Frozen, or the titular character from Moana. Feris expresses concern that while an Elsa costume might reinforce notions of white privilege, dressing up as Moana is essentially cultural appropriation — the act of reducing someone’s culture to stereotypes, and thereby belittling it. Though Feris puzzles over how one might wear a Moana costume respectfully, she ultimately decides it just isn’t a good idea.
At this point, you might be saying something like: “But, I dressed up as Jasmine as a child, and I’m not a racist!”, or, “It’s just a Halloween costume, please chill the f*ck out.” But one of the best things about time is that it moves forward. You should too. You can (and should) strive to be better than you were 10, 20, or 30 years ago. If you missed the mark when you were younger, maybe think about using this Halloween as an opportunity to teach your kids about the importance of cultural sensitivity. If your child’s dream costume feels questionable, don’t just throw up your hands and hand over your credit card. You’re the parent here, and the onus of what your child wears falls on you. If your kid wears a racist costume … you’re kind of wearing it too.
On top of that, Redbook editors argue, those costumes that celebrate Princess Moana are really stealing the specialness of her character for those oppressed by “racist [expletives],” so … stick to your own race when choosing costumes, or something:
Recognize this: Moana is a really special character to young girls of Polynesian descent who have never seen a Disney Princess who looks like them, just like how Tiana from The Princess and the Frog likely resonated with young Black women who had waited decades to see themselves represented. White girls have plenty of princesses to choose from — there’s Belle, Ariel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty … you get the idea. If your Caucasian son or daughter doesn’t get to be exactly what they wanted for Halloween, encourage them to take a step back and realize that they’re awash in privileges that the real Moanas and Tianas of the world will likely never see, because the world is full of racist [a******s].
Er … riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Recognize this: We must have solved all of the world’s other problems to be obsessing over the cultural statements made by little kids on Halloween. Does opting for Ariel over Moana lessen the oppression of a single person on the planet? Or does it teach children that we’re all human beings worthy of celebration regardless of our background? Wasn’t that the point of pressing Disney to diversify its princess catalog in the first place?
Oh, let’s not always see the same hands …
National Review’s Kyle Smith wonders when the Left stopped seeing people as individuals, rather than as ethnic collectives:
First, when did Redbook adopt the language of humorless campus social-justice police? Isn’t Redbook supposed to be about brownie recipes and decorating tips, not whom-have-you-unintentionally-oppressed-today? Second, if Halloween doesn’t mean kids get to pretend to be from other cultures, what is the point of it? Is Emily supposed to dress as Emily this year, and every other? Is a black kid not allowed to pretend to be a Scandinavian? Do you have to be of Transylvanian heritage to dress up as Dracula? Do you have to be Egyptian to be the Mummy? Do you have to be dead to play a ghost?
The Left used to insist on seeing people as individuals, not as members of groups. The goal used to be that kids of different races would play together oblivious to one another’s superficial differences. This was commendable, and many a race barrier has fallen. Now the Left is determined to put those barriers back up, to teach kids to obsess over race. It is adamant that pigmentation has to be of overriding concern to you, and if it isn’t to your children, your children must be indoctrinated to divide people based on skin color, to calculate varying levels of “sensitivity” and “privilege” based on melanin. It’s not only ludicrous, it’s alarming. Don’t let this diseased mindset take hold. Go ahead and dress your kid as Moana this Halloween.
Or don’t, but let your children choose the character they want to be. Costume parties — and that’s what Halloween is — have always been about taking on the identity of someone or something other than yourself. Can that be done tastelessly and objectionably at times? Sure, but don’t kid yourselves that it’s only the Left’s favored groups who get that treatment. Those transgressions almost all come from adults rather than kids, though, who just want to have innocent fun by briefly inhabiting the roles of their favorite characters. The only harm that entails is to the fragile sensibilities of the New Puritans on the Left, who have most definitely spent the last few decades reducing people to their DNA and melatonin structures.
As for me, I already have my costume picked out.
Kind of considering going with this year's hottest Halloween costume, the "Weinstein." pic.twitter.com/p5OWClCzKU
— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) October 24, 2017
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