Each of these images includes white people celebrating Halloween by connecting with other races. Or rather, with ideas of other races. Of course, the photo with the Obama pumpkin would seem entirely non-racist to most Americans (unless, perhaps, they're Republicans). That's because it's the only one where white people aren't dressed up as people of other races.
So among the other three photos above of various white folks in racial drag, is any one of them more racist than the other two (assuming you think that any of them are racist)?
I would bet that for most white Americans, the image of the three blackened white boys seems the most wrong. And for some, the only one that's wrong. That one is pretty widely recognizable as an example of the old-fashioned, denigrated entertainment practice of "blackface." That thing that got Ted Danson in trouble back in the day, during . . . what was it?
Oh right, a roast, for Whoopi Goldberg:
Friars Club Roast (1993)
Friars Club Roast (1993)
If the other two get-ups depicted above--the "Indian Brave" and the "Geisha"--don't seem as racist to a lot of white people as the one depicting blackface "wiggers," why is that? Why is it that blackface is more clearly wrong, while redface or yellowface are okay, or else, not as wrong?
What about Halloween parties that have racial themes? Do you think those are wrong? Like the "ghetto fabulous" or "tacos and tequila" parties that occur on college campuses? And in people's living rooms?
It's been my experience that when white folks are questioned about such Halloween choices, they usually brush off any allegations of racism with the claim that it's all just good, harmless fun. The implication is that they don't intend to be racist, and therefore, they're not. Never mind any actual effects of their actions.
But if those are "all in good fun," then how about a houseful of white folks throwing something called a "lynching party"? Would that be any different, or worse?
Actually, I wonder if that's what these young good ol' boys at Auburn University called this Halloween party:
So what do you think? Where do you draw the line on these things?
If you see anyone dressed up like a stereotype this Halloween, do you plan to say anything to them?
On that last point, how would the following idea work for you?
If you meet a white friend or acquaintance who's dressed up like a member of some other race or ethnic group, you could say this to them: "Wow, what a concept! Where'd you get the idea of dressing up like a racist dipshit?"