In Miss(ed) Representations, Part One: ‘I’m a Culture, Not a Costume’ Campaign, the Racialicious blog discusses some of the responses. It highlighted one particular response from "Jerry Stein" at Autostraddle:
Watch any movie or TV show and you will see a racial stereotype. Are all stereotypes negative NO! Why is it that this campaign only sees that.
This country is dividing itself. Nobody wants to be American. Everyone is so narcissistic and self important it makes me sick to my stomach. Bring back people with humility and a sense of humor before we all end up selfish deluded idiots thinking the world owes them something.
Based on this all costumes which feature Cowboys, Irish Leprechauns, Michael Jackson, Lady GaGa, Bin Laden, OJ Simpson, Madonna, Jersey Shore cast members will all now be banned because they offend the Irish, African Americans, Italians and Muslims. Thats pretty much Halloween cancelled.
This country is becoming a laughing stock for the wrong reasons.
Naturally, Racialicious fans ripped Jerry the apologist for racism:
Well, I'm glad to see this discussion in a place that isn't going to be chock full of people who heartily defend their right to be racist, or who do nothing but make excuses about why their right to be insensitive racists outweighs my right to be offended by said racism. You know, the whole, "why are minorities so sensitive, it's just a costume, why can't I be whatever I want to be for Halloween, it isn't fair, white people don't have any rights anymore." It is as if I'm in a forum of people preparing to write dissertations on how to effectively derail discussions about racism.
It kills me how so many non-minorities think that their right to be offensive is more important than anything at all. Supposed progressives will argue that it's just a costume, or it's not offensive b/c they really ADMIRE the culture that they are emulating/mocking with their ethnic Halloween costume. B/c nothing says "I respect your culture" more than reducing it to a bunch of played out stereotypes in a room full of drunken idiots. There are about eleventy hundred things that you can dress up as for Halloween. And honestly, it stops being a costume when you are in fact showing the world that you are just a racist jerk, which you in fact are, 365 days of the year. The only difference is that instead of being a racist jerk in your own clothes, you are a racist jerk wearing a leather vest or a cheap kimono.
The meme reeks of "I can't believe you're trying deprive me of my right to be racist against you" and also "non-white people are on par with animals and fictional characters." The whole thing is an attempt to "punish" people of color for daring to assert our humanity. Ugh.
I love the people whose argument is that they "have a right to do it." Sure. You have a right to do lots of quite awful nasty foolish cruel things, if we're talking about legal rights. That's not in question. The question is, why would you want to?
I loved STARS for doing this and I so glad that this blog mentioned the campaign. Wearing an "ethnic" costume is just an excuse to be a jackass and it shows your lack of creativity.