AirTalk on KPCC: Are we too easily offended by Halloween costumes?

8A-2013-10-31-KPCCHalloweenCostumesHalloween is a time for candy and costumes. It’s also a time for us to talk about when someone’s costume has crossed the line.

(See Moye’s timeless posts about offensive Halloween costumes and her ever-popular suggestions for costumes for Asian Americans: 2010 edition and 2011 edition)

Our own senior contributor, John, joined KPCC’s AirTalk’s Larry Mantle to talk about the subject.

It’s not uncommon during Halloween for people to dress up like a Geisha, a Mexican in a mariachi suit, or like a redneck. But for some people, these costumes are just promoting stereotypes and are offensive.

Students from the Ohio University have started a campaign: “We’re a culture, not a costume.” This campaign is aimed at promoting awareness against racial stereotypes, and instead promoting dialogue. In the ad campaign different students hold a photo of an ethnic stereotype costume.

For example, a Muslim student holds a photo of a white person dressed up in a traditional ghutra with bombs strapped to his chest. The images from the campaign have been making their rounds online igniting the ongoing debate of how far is too far with Halloween costumes.

It is offensive to wear a costume from a different race or culture? How do you draw the line?

John Lin, senior contributor for, an online publication focusing on issues that affect the Asian American and Asian Canadian communities

Ruth Hopkins, founding writer of, columnist for Indian Country Today Media Network. She is also chief judge for Spirit Lake Tribal Court in North Dakota

Take a listen and let us know what you think.

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jozjozjoz is a taiwanese-american gal who lives and blogs underneath the hollywood sign and who doesn’t clean her fishtank unless the fish starts to do the backstroke. she is also able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but cannot stop from bumping into door handles, cabinet doors, and anything else that protrudes or has a sharp edge. she does not run with scissors for this same reason. she can pet the fur off a dog but don’t ask her to go anywhere near a horse. or a moth. or a roach. her dealings with L.A.’s finest (aka the parking violations department) are legend, as are her giant sneezes. Other than the two too many joz’s, jozjozjoz is a perfectly normal, relatively sane individual who defies the odds, reaches for the stars, and carries moonbeams home in a jar. She’d rather be a fish… but not in her own dirty fishtank.
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