UMass Now Has Flow Charts for Offensive Halloween Costumes

Supermarket chain ASDA has been accused of selling 'Halloween Day of the Dead Costumes' disrespectful to Mexicans / AP
October 19, 2016

The University of Massachusetts-Amherst now has a flow chart to help students figure out just how offensive their Halloween costume may be to others.

The flow chart, called the Simple Costume Racism Evaluation and Assessment Meter, or SCREAM, allows students to determine if their costume is offensive based off of factors like race, historically accepted cliches, and humor. The results come up in a five section, color-coded area, similar to the government's terror alert level, ranking from a "low" threat level in green to a "severe" threat level in red.

Campus Reform first reported the fliers being posted in dorms around the campus to warn against "cultural appropriation."

Other fliers that are up around campus have pictures or illustrations of white people dressed up as Native Americans. One sign, for example, reads, "No, it's cool, it's not like your ancestors killed them all or anything," and another poster of scantily clad women says, "Hypersexualized racism is still racism."

The Washington Examiner pointed out that some of the different fliers around campus contradicted each other.

Other displays on "cultural appropriation" contradict one another. One flyer says that "cultural appropriation is an act of privilege, and leads to offensive, inaccurate, and stereotypical portrayals of other people's culture." Another flyer states that "culture is fluid" and contains a quote from author Susan Scafidi, who wrote a book titled Who Owns Culture?: Appropriation and Authenticity in American Law.

"It's not fair to ask any culture to freeze itself in time and live as though they were a museum diorama," the Scafidi quote says. "Cultural appropriation can sometimes be the savior of a cultural product that has faded away."

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