racist costumes, which is basically any time a white person dresses up as a minority person, really. But what about costumes for minority kids? Are there issues and pitfalls to be aware of?
I'm curious as to what y'all make of this -- Maya got to wear her costume to the ballet class before Halloween. That's a yearly tradition at her ballet school, and the students are still required to wear the usual pink tights and ballet shoes. After class, Maya asked me if she had to wear tights with her costume on Halloween. I told her it would be up to her, unless it was cold, and then she'd need to wear them for warmth.
When it came time to get ready for trick-or-treating, I told Maya it was her choice whether to wear tights since it was plenty warm. Maya declared she wanted to wear her pink tights, since it "makes my legs look more like Dorothy's." Of course, Dorothy doesn't wear tights in the movie. So my thought is that Maya was saying wearing tights made her legs look Caucasian, like Dorothy.
How much "race-bending" are you comfortable with for your non-Caucasian children for Halloween? As Cinderella, would your Chinese child wear a blonde wig? Would you put your non-white child in "white-face" to be Harry Potter? Would you paint her face white to be a ghost? A zombie? Is that different from painting her face green to be a witch? If your Chinese child wants to be a farmer, to you put her in Howdy-Doody freckles? Or is she simply a Chinese farmer? And does that mean a "coolie" hat?!
The questions are difficult, it seems to me, because the line between dress-up and "wanting to be white" is so thin for minority kids. And the line between "wanting to be white" and self-loathing is even thinner.
Have you had to deal with these issues with your child? I've always said no to the blonde-wig thing, but that's about all I've had to address (except for the "Dorothy's legs" thing this year!). And yes, Maya wore her tights. So where do you draw the line?
4 weeks ago