Gender, Holidays and Seasons, Minority Issues

Halloween Harassment

Don't pull a Prince Harry this Halloween.

I hate this holiday. I hated this holiday as a kid for personal safety reasons. As an adult, it’s pretty clear that Halloween has devolved into nothing more than an excuse for girls to dress up as sluts and guys to be racist. That’s what it is, the one day where everybody can get away with their inappropriate or insensitive fantasies (unless you are Prince Harry).

The problem is, not everybody is on the same page. For instance, if I see a person dressed up as a “tribal chieftain” in some kind of get up that would be offensive on any other day of the year, I laugh it off. In exchange for my restraint, when I see a girl dressed up as “Booberella” I’m going to make lecherous comments I’d normally save for when she was out of ear shot. Quid pro quo, mofos; I’ll put my cards away if you lay down yours.

But not everybody thinks like me. So be careful out there this Halloween. For you edification, the Connecticut Employment Law Blog has compiled a list of horrors from Halloween past….

Both Gawker and The Root have run slideshows this week on potentially racist Halloween costumes. I don’t think that every costume on these lists are racist (though, “illegal alien” might be the most offensive thing I’ve seen in 2010 that doesn’t involve a Tea Party Rally).

But I take one overarching point from Daniel Schwartz’s brief rundown of Halloween harassment: don’t wear your costume to work.

Seriously, I don’t have a problem with somebody going as pocoHOtas, if she can pull it off. But why dress that way at work and risk having your colleagues make inappropriate, “exploratory” jokes? Why risk running into the Native American in your office (’cause it’s not like they’re two Native Americans in your office) and hurting someone’s feelings?

If you simply must show your co-workers your awesome costume idea, just post the photos to Facebook on Monday. That’s what I’m going to do.

Halloween is No Excuse for Harassment: A Spooky History for Employers [Connecticut Employment Law Blog]

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