02 Nov More Than Skin Deep – Stop Racism
With Halloween happening earlier this week, we felt like now would be as good a time as any to write this post. We saw a lot of fun, playful, and even scary costumes (the Trump ones in particular were most frightening to see). But in 2016, like in many previous years, we continue to see racist and offensive costumes. People, if you’re wearing an “Indian” costume with a feather headdress and red face just know you’re doing it all wrong. In fact, if you believe your costume involves you to paint your face another color say black or yellow, then head back in the house, change your clothes and re-evaluate your life.
I say all of this because hindsight is 20/20. I’ve never dressed in a matter as discriminatory as I have just mentioned, but as a White man who has always loved Black culture I have learned a lot. Thinking back on my life, I remember being a kid and repping a Dennis Rodman Bulls jersey circa ’98. I felt no need to paint my skin a different color because I related to him and other athletes on a level that’s more than skin deep. I related to them and saw beyond the color of their skin because I knew there was much more to them than that.
So with that experience, I decided to dress as Jidenna, the self-proclaimed “Classic Man” this year. His song topped the charts and I really dig his style, so I figured, “why not pay homage to a cool guy like him.” Even though I’m not a beautiful mixture of Black and White like he is, I realize that we all share similar origins that take us back to East Africa. It may be hard for some to believe it, but there are those of us who have similar facial features, fashion sense, and hair styles even though we aren’t the same race.
So to celebrate this, I didn’t change my skin color with paint. I didn’t feel the need to and I’m glad I didn’t. People still realized who I was without the derogatory depiction that would have occurred had I painted my face. I’m so thankful I dodged that bullet. My wish is that we can all celebrate Halloween next year without the use of offensive costumes. I hope we can all do a better job of celebrating other cultures without appropriating them.
I say all of this to share with you that Halloween is a night to be yourself, but also to respect others. Take notes from little Andy who dyed his hair yellow to look like Dennis Rodman and the same Andy who dressed like an eccentric Classic man in 2016. Be kind, be smart and have fun – spread peace and love and you’ll shine bright like the sun.
Words by Andrew Bogart of We Take Note for The Wishwall Foundation | Photo Credit: Ashley Coffey of We Take Note