By Mike Wishart
The leaves are falling, there’s a slight chill in the air, and face paints of every skin tone are being purchased at your local Party City. Halloween is upon us. And whether you’re dressing up as a slutty Theodore Roosevelt or you were pranked into being a horse’s butt without a head, the University has not minced words with costumes that will not be tolerated on campus this year.
The head faculty members gathered all the students by grade this past week to talk about the somehow still prevalent issue of doing blackface as part of a costume. There was palpable tension as students filed into the Quick Center to take their seats while “The Monster Mash” played quietly over the speakers.
Campus leaders walked on stage and the Dean took to the podium to announce that there would be no painting of faces to dress up as a person of another race tolerated on this campus. He elaborated by explaining how blackface has a long and offensive history in this country and how it helped perpetuate false negative stereotypes about black people. A confused look appeared on the faces of students that never paid attention in social studies.
“But what if my costume is LeBron James?” one student seated in the back asked, “Like I have the jersey and everything but it’s gonna be obvious it’s not me if I don’t have the paint.”
The Dean, looking genuinely confused, responded that it would absolutely not be acceptable even if it makes your costume more “accurate.” The young man that asked the question immediately began looking at return policies for NBA jerseys as several more hands shot into the air and a back and forth between the students and administration began.
“What about O.J. Simpson? I mean he said that he wasn’t black, he’s O.J.” another student added, which was met with murmurs of agreement from the crowd.
“If the person has a different skin color than you, then you are not allowed to paint your face to a tone closer to theirs. I’m not sure how much clearer I can get,” the Dean responded.
Questions like these continued for some time, and it was reported you could visibly see the Dean’s faith in humanity evaporate. After much deliberation and further questions, the students walked away from the meeting with several specific guidelines for costumes. “Thriller”-era Michael Jackson costumes were deemed off limits, but 2000s-era Michael Jackson would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Costumes as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are fine, but costumes of Trudeau at an “Arabian Nights” themed party in 2001 were forbidden.
Also off limits are Mickey Rooney’s character in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, Mr. Yunioshi, as well as John Wayne’s portrayal of Gengis Khan in “The Conqueror.” The meeting ended on a note of uncertainty over whether it would be acceptable to dress as Zoe Saladana’s blue character, Neytiri, in “Avatar” or her role as the green alien Gamora in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Be sure to stay tuned to Stagnation for updates on who ignored the warnings of the costume meeting as we march deeper into Spooky Season.