CEDAR CITY (ABC4 Utah) – A Halloween campaign is getting attention on Southern Utah Universities campus – posters are hanging to help people understand what is and isn’t offensive when it comes to dressing up for Halloween.
“I remember whenever we would have Halloween parties, people would dress up as a stereotype and I think that’s when it becomes really really harmful,” said Christopher Mendoza, SUU’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator.
When Mendoza was a student, and as a Latino, he found many costumes at Halloween parties insensitive.
I think people reducing it to that stereotype of: Latino’s are drug dealers and criminals and that repeated hurtful rhetoric that reduces us to something that isn’t our true full experience is something that can be really harmful,” said Mendoza.
After having conversations with students about the topic, the center decided to launch: “My Culture is not a costume.”
“It’s just a campaign to remind people to be mindful of their costumes and how they could potentially be offending different cultures,” said Maria Martinez, Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.
The campaign includes posters of actual SUU students holding photos of different racial and ethnic outfits in hopes to spark dialogue.
“Especially those who have been historically oppressed, it’s really offensive when someone dresses up like them and kind of mocks their culture, kind of reduces them to be a character.
“I think the importance of this campaign is to get people to understand the perspective of these marginalized groups, so whether people agree at the end of the day or not, to sort of stop, reflect, and consider the perspective of those who look different than you or sit in different shoes,” said Mendoza.