There are 4 more days to not dress up as blackface Trayvon Martin for Halloween

Travyon Martin and George Zimmerman costumes

Other blackface costumes for white people not to wear include Black characters from Orange is the New Black.

This weekend an image of white kids dressed as Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman for Halloween went viral. This tweet nails my reaction to the photo:


The hand held up as a gun really does make the image look like old, celebratory photos from lynchings.

Meanwhile moderately famous person Julianne Hough also thought blackface was a good idea. She dressed as Crazy Eyes as part of an Orange is the New Black group costume.

Julianne Hough in blackface as Crazy Eyes

A rich white lady dressing up as a Black woman in prison is a bit much.

Hough went for the blackface aesthetic popularized by Saturday Night Live, whereas the kids with the Trayvon Martin costume went the traditional route. Guess what? Both are completely unacceptable.

There are plenty of great ways to dress up for Halloween without appropriating someone else’s culture or donning blackface. If you’re white, there’s most of pop culture and plenty of history for you to draw on for costume ideas without being appropriative or mocking the Black victim of a violent crime. Feministing has some non-racist, non-sexist suggestions if you’re looking for costume ideas.

But let’s not do blackface this year, or ever.

 

Jos Truitt
Jos Truitt‘s favorite costumes from years past include Taylor Swift at the VMAs and a sexy anti-choice clinic protester.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/retroarama/ Sally Edelstein

    There is no disputing that blackface was and is an embodiment of racism. Hard to believe but well into the mid 20th century blackface was a popular form of entertainment. It was not uncommon well into the 1950s for high school, fraternities and local theatre groups would perform in blackface. The real Mad men of Madison Ave. had no compunction utilizing blackface in their advertising. Take a look http://wp.me/p2qifI-1LM