Queen's University

'Racist' Halloween costumes

2011-10-31

Queen’s University sociology professor Cynthia Levine-Rasky is available to discuss a controversial Ohio students group’s campaign against ‘racist’ Halloween costumes.

The Ohio University's Students Teaching About Racism in Society campaign is gaining wide media attention and features posters headlined "We're a culture, not a costume." They say wearing ethnically inspired costumes – such as a Geisha, Rastafarian or Arab terrorist -- is feeding stereotypes. Critics of the campaign argue costumes shouldn’t be taken too seriously because it is Halloween.

Dr. Levine-Rasky, who teaches a course in race and racialization and has done research on inequality, believes the costumes are offensive. “Critics of the ‘We're a culture, not a costume' campaign haven't asked themselves three things: First, why are there no costumes depicting white stereotypes? Second, for whom are these costumes a joke? Finally, what impact do these costumes have on the groups they are supposed to represent? With a bit of reflection, critics should see that there is no appropriate defence of the costumes,” says Dr. Levine-Rasky.

Please note Dr. Levine-Rasky is only available for phone interviews and will be in meeting between 12-4 on Friday, Oct. 28. She is available on the weekend and Monday Oct. 31.

To arrange an interview, please contact communication officers Michael Onesi at 613.533.6000 ext. 77513 or michael.onesi@queensu.ca at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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