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:
Notice the blackface Halloween costume is of a DEAD Trayvon Martin. Not a living breathing human being but dead like lynchings of the past.
— Adrienne Gravish (@AquafarE) October 27, 2013
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.
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‘s favorite costumes from years past include Taylor Swift at the VMAs and a sexy anti-choice clinic protester.