Why your Pocahontas costume isn’t okay


The Mirror reporter

Blackface and dressing as Pocahontas are just two of many costumes that people love to wear during the Halloween season. But have you ever thought about the story behind Pocahontas or what black people have to deal with every day?

Halloween perpetuates stereotypes. Negative stereotypes that harm these groups being appropriated. Let’s take a step back and understand the meaning of cultural appropriation.

Appropriation is when privileged groups misrepresent and disrespect marginalized cultures. Originators never get credit, but always deal with consequences.

While other groups can appropriate others, if a group was to dress up as a white person, it would be assimilation.

Assimilation is different from appropriation. Other cultures had to assimilate to the white culture, while whites have the privilege to appropriate any culture they’ll like. White people have privilege not knowing how it feels to have their land taken away, or the fact that because of their skin color they were enslaved.

Privileged that you can misrepresent a different group. Privileged to take someone’s land. Privilege to say “I’m just embracing the culture.” Privileged that if the cop pulls you over you can just take that blackface off, but in reality, black teens are dying due to police brutality.

Embracing someone’s culture is not taking it away and misrepresenting the group. Have you asked that group to see how they feel about you “embracing” them?

Different groups have different ways of representing themselves and embracing themselves. It’s not only for their own safety, but to also have the representation in the system of their culture the right way.

Next Halloween, or just in your daily life, think if you’re appropriating, or if people around you are appropriating.

Every day cultural appropriation happens. Halloween is just a holiday that pushes people to do it more. If you want to “embrace” a group, learn about them, learn their stories. Ask them how you can help support them on embracing their own culture.