Today in Post-Race History: The Halloween Press Release
Halloween is this week. Which is to say that on Thursday and the days following, black people will have their annual opportunity to remind white people who listen that blackface is offensive #neverforget. Last year, my Halloween community service included a checklist that white people could use to determine whether their chosen costume would offend people of color. This year, I had intended to compile a list of acceptable white people costumes, but started to get bored with the idea after coming up with adoptive parent of Asian and/or black orphans, Barney’s customer, racist, colonizer, and member of the Obama cabinet as viable costumes. So instead, I thought I’d take some time and speak for white folks. Below, you will find an easily adaptable statement that should be used if and when a white person of note, Dutch clown, and/or fraternity finds themselves in trouble once those Halloween party photos are instagrammed. It can also be read as a translation for any statement the offending parties will make in the wake of their racist faux pas.
Dear [insert acceptable group name here: Asians (use cardinal direction modifier, if at all possible), African Americans, Latinos, Indigenous People (Native American is an anachronism), and anyone else who voted for Obama],
On Halloween 20__, I decided to dress as a ______. After photos of me in this costume were Facebooked/tweeted/instagrammed, it was brought to my attention that members of your community were offended.
[Choose one of the following options:]
A. Since my whiteness insulates me from being aware that such antics are disrespectful and rooted in a history I don’t have to pay attention to, I’d like to apologize to anyone I might have offended. Sorry. Now that I have apologized, please get off of my timeline and move on, as I have.
B. My best [black, Asian, etc.] friend said she wasn’t offended, but I guess she doesn’t speak for all of you guys. My bad.
C. I knew that some would find me dressing as _____ offensive, but you know what? I don’t care. Halloween, along with St. Patrick’s Day, are the two days a year I get to get extra, extra (Walter) white and turn up! And if I want to dress as Trayvon and pass out Skittles to the little trick-or-treaters or become Washington’s favorite redskin, I will. Why? Because I can. Face it. no one with any pull cares about this after November 1. I will rock a headdress, blacken up, smack a bindi in the middle of my corked forehead while eating a taco and screaming “Olé, Olé, Olé!” at the same damn time. And I will still pass Go. And I will still collect $200, because whiteness allows for that. None of this is punishable by law or anything else. You all exist to provide me with entertainment, ancient wisdom, or something for me to dress up as when the spirit moves me. Stay in your lane.
D. Racism is the high fructose corn syrup in this here American recipe, and I just served you some. Drink up. Mmmm mmm. Tasty.
E. Here’s your blog topic for next week. You’re welcome.
Sorry, not sorry,