On the day before Halloween as I sat in my Calculus class packing up my bag and getting ready to race out of school, an announcement from the Principal of my high school came on. It was a warning to make sure not to wear costumes that are offensive to various ethnic groups amongst other things. I sat there and thought, do people really exhibit such poor judgment that announcements of this nature need to made?
In school the next day, I was horrified. Walking past somebody in an Ebola costume, I saw people giving him high fives and telling him how great of an idea the ensemble was. Personally, I think it's a little too soon for that. The time for a costume of this nature? Never.
Scott Disick as an Arab Sheik, numerous people in my school dressed as "Mexicans," Ebola costumes, Ray Rice and abused wife as a couple costume, Oscar Pistorious and the door he shot through; people today continue to choose Halloween costumes that not only insult many groups, but also shed a light on the culture of insensitivity in our society today.
Halloween is a time to be funny, be scary, be whatever you want; just not insensitive. We make everything a joke and that is my concern for our society today. There is a fine blurred line between humor and taking it too far, a line which members of our society today continue to cross.
Costumes of various ethnic groups merely paint caricatures of what people of that race dress like. If anybody was to take these costumes seriously we would assume all Mexicans wear ponchos with sombreros every day and that if somebody is Arabic that makes them a sheik.
Yet even worse than these racial stereotypes are the various people who dressed up as ISIS. In the post 9/11 era, Muslims are assumed to be terrorists. The ISIS costumes not only further perpetuate the stereotype of Muslims as terrorists, but also make a joke of the war on terrorism that we continue to fight. Homeland Security is a major issue today, yet we make it into a joke.
Halloween can be a time for jokes, but keep it in good taste. One of the funniest costumes I saw yesterday was a group of high school seniors dressing up as every college bound students favorite websites: The Common Application, Naviance, Edmodo and College Board. I don't know about my fellow seniors, but I think that can almost be as scary as a horror movie at this time in my life.
Even if college application humor isn't your thing, there are many good ways to make a joke without offending people. Our society should not delegitimize serious issues just to make a good costume.
Sometimes we "YOLO" a little too much. While it's good to relax sometimes and have fun, this can't be at the cost of others. Instead of asking why so serious, we should be asking why not so serious?
I love a laugh as much as the next person, but our lives are not merely jokes.