A student-led and University funded protest group called Students Teaching Against Racism (STARS) created a poster campaign showing what they consider to be offensive Halloween costumes, writes Todd Starnes at Fox News.
In one poster an Asian girl is holding a photograph of someone dressed like a Geisha. In another photograph, a Hispanic student is holding a photograph of someone dressed in a sombrero.
The posters read: “We’re a culture, not a custom. This is not who I am, and this is not okay.”
“Some costumes can be offensive to some people where you are highlighting their culture in a negative way,” said Stephanie Sheeley, a spokesperson for the group and a student at the university.
“We understand that Halloween is supposed to be fun but in doing so you don’t have to offend others,” Sheeley told Fox news. “There are plenty of costumes that don’t hurt other people’s feelings and don’t degrade other people.”
One of the more shocking posters features a man dressed in Middle Eastern attire with dynamite strapped around his waist.
“That’s obviously offensive,” she said. “It’s offensive to a lot of people because that doesn’t highlight all the people in that country. That takes one specific angle.”
But she also cautioned people about dressing up in other ethnic outfits.
“Don’t dress up like a Guido,” she said. “That’s offensive to Italian Americans. Don’t dress up in black face. That’s offensive to African Americans.”
“It’s different if you are saying I’m Snooki or dressing up as Obama,” she said. “It’s difficult when you cross the line between being someone specific and just being a representation of a culture. That’s a lot different than saying I’m a Guido.”
Ohio University is not the only institution of learning that’s trying to create a more inclusive and politically correct Halloween.
Schools across the country have either cancelled or curtailed celebrations this year. These include:
In Portland, Oregon, the principal at Buckman Elementary School banned costumes at his school, calling instead for boys and girls to embrace a “spirit of equity.”
“For many reasons, the celebration of Halloween at school can lead to student exclusion,” Principal Brian Anderson wrote in a letter to parents. “There are social, financial and cultural differences among our families that we must respect.”
And in Springfield, New Jersey, elementary school principals banned costumes claiming it caused classroom disruptions. Superintendent Michael Davino told the Springfield Patch that dressing up is not something kids should be doing at school.
“I do believe it is something you should do with your friends, believe it is something you should do with your family, and it is something you should do as an activity that has really nothing to do with school or about school,” he said.