The University of Florida is joining the battle against bias and discrimination this Halloween as the school urges its students to think carefully before putting on a costume that might be derogatory to some.
The UF shared a reminder for the student body to be mindful of their costume and theme choices this Halloween and avoid anything that may promote bias and discrimination.
In Western culture, Halloween is celebrated as a way of warding off ghosts that superstition dictates have access to the world of the living as the border between the two worlds becomes blurred, according to History.com.
Given the circumstances, the celebration which was initially called “All Hallows’ Eve” that was based on the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain later turned into a dress-up event where people from all walks of life gather together as spooky creatures or fictional characters.
But as decades passed, Halloween has become a destructive venue for biases as people start wearing makeup and costumes to look like other people, making it a very potent source of misunderstanding and fuel for discrimination.
The University of Florida vs. Discrimination
The reminder, which was posted earlier this month on the official website of UF’s Gator Times, discussed how Halloween can become an avenue for collusions and misunderstandings.
“October brings fall weather and Halloween. If you choose to participate in Halloween activities, we encourage you to think about your choices of costumes and themes,” the warning began.
“Some Halloween costumes reinforce stereotypes of particular races, genders, cultures, or religions. Regardless of intent, these costumes can perpetuate negative stereotypes, causing harm and offense to groups of people.”
While it was not directly mentioned in the reminder, the warning against discrimination appears to be directed at sororities and fraternities that hold Halloween parties that sometimes cross the line between fun and derogatory actions like the ones listed in a Vogue article.
The UF warning also covered the dangers of posting on social media and reminded everyone to think before clicking.
“Also, keep in mind that social media posts can have a long-term impact on your personal and professional reputation.”
In addition, the University of Florida’s Division of Student Affairs Diversity and Social Justice emphasizes respect of diversity which they defined as a “variety of personal and social experiences that make individuals and communities different from one another.”
Moreover, the UF shared university counselors’ hotlines and the “U Matter, We Care” program email as well as a webpage for the school’s Bias Education and Response Team where people can file their complaints should they witness any incident covered therein.
Similar actions were made by other colleges all over the world such as Brock University in Ontario, Canada, which recently unveiled the “Halloween Costume Vetting Protocol” website that covers all banned costumes during the festivities.
According to the school, this program was created to establish a “climate that prevents costumes reinforcing harmful stereotypes around race, gender, culture, and mental health.”
Examples of costumes banned at Brock University are sacred ceremonial dresses and outfits from other cultures like geishas, thobes and Day of the Dead makeup as well as Indian headdresses and the traditional head decoration known as the “bindi.”
I was so close to buying a Caitlyn Jenner costume to use for my naked SIM cosplay ???????????? pic.twitter.com/8eBA88nmV0— Ana (@anadroid614) October 23, 2016
Racial and third sex get-ups like the black face and outfits that pinpoint to Caitlyn Jenner are also not allowed in the school.
In the same manner, a school in Connecticut has also banned clown costumes as well as other “symbols of terror” in the wake of reports about creepy clowns roaming the West.
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