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RA October Floor Meeting

October 29, 2019

o Make sure your costume/behavior best represents yourself and BC


 Culturally appropriate: See Handout
 Discourage the use of masks with your costume: Masks worn by
individuals over the age of 16 is against the law in VA.
 Discourage the use of weapons with costumes: Includes BB Guns, Paint
Ball Guns, or anything that may resemble a real weapon. These would be
considered a suspendable violation.
 Remember: Not illegal drug or alcohol paraphernalia
o BC Policies always in effect!
 No alcohol (even if 21 and over) and illegal drugs
• Includes “in the presence of” or ‘have knowledge of’
• Includes paraphernalia – empty cans/bottles, shot glasses, pong
table/pong set up, funnel, etc.
• Be mindful of your surroundings – what people are or are not
doing around you
 No tobacco or smoking products if under 21
 Remember fire safety regulations
• No lights or objects hanging from sprinklers
• Make sure decorations are the appropriate length from the ceiling
• No open flames/candles
• Doors cannot be covered
 Questions about policy? Contact Director of Student Conduct and
Restorative Practices, Alex Costner, at acostner@bridgewater.edu
CULTURALLY APPROPRIATED/INAPPROPRIATE COSTUMES TO AVOID

• ANYTHING INVOLVING BLACKFACE


o There is a long and terrible history surrounding blackface. Mostly it’s rooted in
19th century minstrel shows in which white actors donned blackface for comedy.
The white people got a laugh all at the expense of black people who were
demoralized and hurt by the portrayal.
o There is never an excuse to use someone’s skin tone as a costume.
• HOLOCAUST VICTIM
o In the past, celebrities — more than one! — have been called out for dressing up
as a Nazi for Halloween. Know what's just as bad? Dressing up as a Holocaust
victim. It goes without saying that anyone who went through such a tragedy
deserves more respect.
• TRANSPHOBIC COSTUMES
o This mocks and satirizes transgender men and women. It is also extremely
insulting to the community.
• A REFUGEE
o With refugee crises frequently in the headlines, there may be folks who think
this is a newsworthy topic to take inspiration from, but it's so important to
remember that it deeply impacts the lives of millions of people. The same goes
for any costumes that reference immigration issues — other people's real
struggles are not costume fodder. Period.
• GEISHA
o Geishas — along with Asian culture in general — have been sexualized, which is
a problem in and of itself when choosing a Halloween costume. Furthermore,
using stereotypes when making costume decisions is never a good idea. It
ignores the rich and complex history of the group and makes assumptions that
are often false.
• BODY SHAMING AND OBJECTIFYING COSTUMES
o Anything that is disrespectful to the opposite sex/gender/weight is
inappropriate.
• MEN’S ARAB SHEIK COSTUME
o There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it, Arab Sheik costumes — and any
costumes that seek to generalize Middle Eastern culture — are highly offensive.
It plays into stereotypes and, even worse, a costume sword that usually
accompanies the costume portrays the group of individuals in an intimidating
light.
o This would also include any other Middle Eastern stereotypes. Just don’t.
• CONVICT
o Trivializes the US Prison System
• VOODOO WITCH DOCTOR
o NPR reports the term “voodoo” is often a catch-all for “several distinct, but
related religions that combine elements of Catholicism and West African
Vodun.” The problem is — and this is really just the start of the problems —
most of us know nothing about the history and principals Vodou as an actual
religion. Instead, what we see is a commercialized, Hollywood-inspired, spooky
and often wildly misrepresented caricature that has no actual basis in Vodou.
• RELIGIOUS FIGURES
o Religions and faith should not be used as resources for costumes but instead
respected for their history and traditions. Any costume that seeks to continue
false ideology and stereotypes has no place at Halloween time.
• ANY KIND OF ILLNESS/MEDICAL CONCERN
o Cancer, Amputee, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse, Pregnancy. Get it?
• A TERRORIST
o Whether it's a member of ISIS or someone who's committed a horrifying mass
shooting, we can all agree that it is 100% a bad idea to dress up as a terrorist.
While we're at it, let's cross dictators, like Hitler, off the list, too.
• ZOMBIE VERSIONS OF RECENTLT DECEASED CELEBRITIES
o We've lost a lot of entertainment icons recently, so it's understandable if you're
inspired to pay tribute to them in costume form. Dressing up in their iconic
outfits is one thing, but a dead — or undead, a.k.a. zombie — version brings to
mind the phrase "too soon."
• RASTA COSTUMES
o This can be considered to be very offensive to the island cultures.
• AN EATING DISORDER
o This costume — and many others just like it — trivializes eating disorders.
• NATIVE AMERICAN PRINCESS
o Yes, you can dress up like Moana. No, you cannot dress up like Pocahontas.
Remember when we talked about that gray area, fine line above? This is it. And
here’s why: The Disney version of Pocahontas is based on a real person and the
real story wasn’t all happily ever after.
o “History has almost completely erased the name of this Powhatan child who was
stolen from her family, taken prisoner, forced into a child marriage, made a
mockery of, harassed, and killed by a ‘New World’ disease she never would have
contracted otherwise,” Medium reports.
o The article goes on to say the Powhatan nation has long been ashamed of the
Disney adaptation. It romanticizes the oppression and destruction of their
people.
o To dress up as Pocahontas or any Native American princess ignores the history of
oppression and minimizes the ceremonial significance of their wardrobe, which
has ultimately marginalized and stereotyped this culture.
• GYPSY
o Dangling jewelry, colorful bohemian skirts, scarves and a head wrap make up
what most of us know as a “gypsy” costume. What most of us don’t know is the
real history behind the Romani people who suffered intense hatred and were
considered lower class citizens.
o According to Cracked, even the word gypsy comes from sordid origins. “The term
‘Gypsy’ evolved from the habit of calling the people Egyptians, because they sort
of looked Egyptian and the locals were apparently too shy to ask the people
where they were actually from.”

• MEXICAN MAN
o Let’s collectively face palm at this costume fail, which seems intent on poking fun
and stereotyping an entire culture of people.
• ANIMAL CRUETLY
o Anything that causes harm to an animal is not funny.
• A MENTALLY ILL PERSON
o Wearing a straightjacket, as well as any other equipment typically associated
with the institutionalization of someone with a mental illness, trivializes how
devastating these conditions can be.
• SEXUAL HARRASSMENT
o Flasher jokes go back decades, but someone exposing themselves on unwitting
viewers is a very real and traumatic form of sexual harassment, which isn't the
least bit funny. Especially with the #MeToo movement, these types of costumes
are straight-up insensitive.
• DIA DE LOS MUERTOS COSTUMES
o If you're not Mexican, it would be offensive for you to dress in Day of the Dead-
inspired garb. It patronizes a very important holiday to the Mexican culture.
• A HOMELESS PERSON
o Adults, teens, and even children dress up as "hobos" every year, but in reality,
homelessness is a devastating circumstance that affects millions, including kids.
• A NATIONAL TRADGEDY
o We shouldn’t have to say anything about that, I hope…
• ANY SYMBOLS OR REPRESENTATION OF RACISM, CULTURAL STEROTYPES, OR
DISCRIMINATION
o Such as but not limited to:
 Slavery
 Trivializing Immigration (i.e., dressing as a wall, wearing the label “illegal
immigrant”)
 Noose
 Any Nationalist Groups or Paraphernalia
 Dressing up as stereotype forced on different communities (i.e., dressing
as someone perceived to be from a ghetto, thug, gang member, drug
dealer, etc.)
• ANY FORM OF CULTURAL APPROPREATION
o The unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas,
etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more
dominant people or society.