Before you go out tonight, check your costume privilege at the door

Well, it’s Halloween once again, boys and girls, and you know what that means, right? No… not bags of candy and silly parties. It’s time for endless lectures from your social justice betters on the evils of cultural appropriation. And nowhere will this trend be more common than on our nation’s college campuses. Campus Reform reports that plans have been in place for weeks now, with public warnings being issued to those who might choose a costume that offends someone.

Humboldt State University, for instance, plans to host a discussion Monday on how “cultures are disregarded, mocked, or simply dehumanized” by Halloween costumes, encouraging students to avoid “cultural appropriation” in their costume selections.

“Costumes that…disrupt our community’s sense of inclusivity and unity…should be avoided.”

Several other schools, such as Oregon State University, Michigan State University, and the University of Colorado-Boulder, will host similar discussions on the meaning of “cultural appropriation” in the context of a “critical examination of Halloween costumes.”

Princeton University, meanwhile, recently offered a “conversation circle” to students to help them “engage in a dialogue about the impact of cultural appropriation, Halloween, and why culture is not a costume.”

At still other schools, administrators have chosen to get involved in the discussion directly.

These cultural scolds are on the move over most of the country, so you’ll want to carefully consider how you’re dressed this evening. Of course, the alternative is to simply ignore them and use your own common sense.

It seems that the basic premise among the SJW crowd is that any costume you choose was only selected to mock the “culture” being represented. This is, of course, a baseless assertion. Perhaps some people are looking to mock a public figure with a costume (you’ll lose count of the number of Trump masks out there tonight), but that’s far from the only design theme. Originally costumes were designed to be scary. After all, you need to threaten some of the marks before they’ll give up the treats. But once we started doing Disney princesses, pop stars and other entertainment icons, that idea went out the window.

Some costumes are actually meant to honor those being represented. Do you really think little boys (or even girls these days) are mocking or criticizing military personnel, policemen or firemen when they dress up as GI Joe or our first responders? I haven’t seen anyone dressed up in Native American dress in ages, but reenacting the old Cowboys and Indians game wasn’t intended as a cultural attack.

There are limits, of course. If you’re a white person going out in blackface you’re going to get into trouble. Yes, I could make an argument here about how that’s still free expression, but you’re not going to find many defenders. As with all things, use your own judgment and accept the fact that you can almost always find somebody who will be upset no matter what you choose. I noticed that our friend Matt Lewis is going out dressed as Captain James Kirk of Star Trek fame. Surely that’s got to be an insult to all the Trekkies.