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viewpoint

Our cultures are not your costume

| Thursday, October 26, 2017

PSA: Our cultures are not your costume.

In the 1990s, the Stanford band was banned from Notre Dame Stadium twice. Their racy performances referred to Irish people as “stinking drunks,” casually satirized a debate between the devil and a Catholic Cardinal and painted hurtful stereotypes for the purpose of “a mere joke.”

“We find the behavior of the Stanford band not merely … boorish, but personally offensive. Such bigotry — whether it is against Catholics, Jews, the Irish, African Americans, Native Americans or any other group — is unacceptable,” University president emeritus Fr. Edward “Monk” Malloy said in response.

As we approach Halloween, this coalition of cultural clubs would like to remind our campus that no one’s culture deserves to be a costume or a joke. There was no room for it in our stadium in the late ’90s, and there is no room for it on our campus now. Before you choose what you will dress up as this Halloween, remember that dressing up as any ethnic group is wrong and contrary to Notre Dame’s commitment to human dignity.

Anthony Luc
president
Asian American Association

Naana Ocran
president
African Student Association

Qai Gordon
president
Black Student Association

Gregory Jenn
president
Latino Student Alliance

Dominic Acri
president
Native American Student Association

Oct. 24

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Letter to the Editor

Letters to the Editor can be submitted by all members of the Notre Dame community. To submit a letter to the Viewpoint Editor, email viewpoint@ndsmcobserver.com

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  • RandallPoopenmeyer

    I would also like to remind people that murder is not a joke, so please refrain from dressing up as entities like Jason, Freddy Krueger, The Scream, Michael Myers, or other murderous and violent characters as these can trigger victims of violent crime. Also, please make sure that when you look for a Disney costume for your child, that you are not getting one of the cultural ones, like Pocahontas, Mulan, and others.Thanks!

    I am still appalled that Notre Dame has the ‘fightin Irish’ as their mascot. It resembles a drunken Irish man starting a bar fight.

    • Kelly Valenzi

      Notre Dame students in Ireland sometimes meet people who are, rightfully, offended by the mascot

  • warmupthediesel

    *Grabs popcorn to watch triggered snowflakes freak out about a white-kid wearing a sombrero*

    If you aren’t white and wear bluejeans, I guess you’re a racist, right?

    Find something legitimate to get upset about ffs.

  • warmupthediesel

    *Grabs popcorn to watch triggered snowflakes freak out about a white-kid wearing a sombrero*

    If you aren’t white and wear bluejeans, I guess you’re a racist, right?

    Find something legitimate to get upset about ffs.

  • warmupthediesel

    *Grabs popcorn to watch triggered snowflakes freak out about a white-kid wearing a sombrero*

    If you aren’t white and wear bluejeans, I guess you’re a racist, right?

    Find something legitimate to get upset about ffs.

  • warmupthediesel

    *Grabs popcorn to watch triggered snowflakes freak out about a white-kid wearing a sombrero*

    If you aren’t white and wear bluejeans, I guess you’re a racist, right?

    Find something legitimate to get upset about ffs.

  • Joe B

    Bahahaha dressing as any ethnic group is wrong… I guess it will be a naked Halloween.

    Seriously I’m all for avoiding offensive stereotypes in costumes but that statement is too humorous to pass up. Not to mention the irony of you telling people they have to look and act the way that would be expected of them by your perception of their ethnicity according to their outward appearance.

    • Kelly Valenzi

      What is humorous about it? They merely said that the vast majority of racially bases “costumes” rely on harmful stereotypes of minority groups.

      The article did not assume the racial identity of any of the student that are potentially dressing up, just referenced a historical event when the University was offended when another band mocked the (offensively ethnically based) mascot of the university.

  • Joe B

    Bahahaha dressing as any ethnic group is wrong… I guess it will be a naked Halloween.

    Seriously I’m all for avoiding offensive stereotypes in costumes but that statement is too humorous to pass up. Not to mention the irony of you telling people they have to look and act the way that would be expected of them by your perception of their ethnicity according to their outward appearance.

  • Joe B

    Bahahaha dressing as any ethnic group is wrong… I guess it will be a naked Halloween.

    Seriously I’m all for avoiding offensive stereotypes in costumes but that statement is too humorous to pass up. Not to mention the irony of you telling people they have to look and act the way that would be expected of them by your perception of their ethnicity according to their outward appearance.

  • Joe B

    Bahahaha dressing as any ethnic group is wrong… I guess it will be a naked Halloween.

    Seriously I’m all for avoiding offensive stereotypes in costumes but that statement is too humorous to pass up. Not to mention the irony of you telling people they have to look and act the way that would be expected of them by your perception of their ethnicity according to their outward appearance.

  • Daniel Esparza

    Thanks for writing this article. Many people (like the ones in these comments) forget that it’s not really about being offended, but questioning the power imbalances in society that lead to violence against marginalized peoples. They don’t realize that historical and social context is what separates cultural appropriation from simply “dressing up as something.”