This is just too priceless. A grammar school in New York City sent home a letter warning parents about “cultural appropriation” just in time for Halloween. It’s kinda’ awesome in the most smarmy condescending politically correct way, I’ve gotta’ admit.

My favorite part is when it says they will pass no judgement on costumes but then proceeds to lecture in the most judgey way possible.

Dear Families,

This Friday is Fall Festival at the XXXX XXXXX School. We welcome students to wear costumes and participate in activities related to this time of harvest, change, and abundance in addition to the traditions of Halloween.

For the pre-K/Kindergarten classes, we will highlight fall-themed activities this week, including baking with apples, pumpkins, and corn; exploring pumpkins through observation and opening one up; printmaking with artifacts of the fall; and stories and songs about this time of the year.

We will march in our very own parade around the neighborhood in the morning after Work Time. We’ll walk, count pumpkins in the neighborhood, and sing some of our songs. In the event of inclement weather, we will march around the building and visit other schools.

Costumes are welcome at school on Friday (please, no costumes on Monday). If your child wants to wear a costume, please send your child in, wearing their costume, so they can jump right into the day. Please do not send in any costume weapons or masks that cover the whole face. For children who do not have costumes, we will have some festive accessories on hand. Please reach out with any questions.

As a school this past week, the teachers here at Xxxx Xxxxx, discussed children wearing costumes at school. We discussed concerns like safety, consumerism, and exclusion. We also discussed how cultural appropriation comes to the surface at Halloween time. We know that for most children, costumes have been purchased or made, and of course, we will pass no judgment on those costumes. We want this to be a joyful occasion for our students, a reason to celebrate the fall.

Still, we hope these major events can be a cause to be reflective, and costumes can be a starting point for a conversation on issues of cultural appropriation and respect for all. We want to share this article in the hopes that it might provide some illumination on the subject. n-and-my-daughters-halloween-costume/

In this article, the writer’s child wanted to dress as the American Girl Kaya, a Native American, out of love for the character. The family ultimately chooses a different costume. Sometimes, costumes are inappropriate because they are blatantly offensive, like stereotypes of a culture. But other times, even an authentic costume chosen out of admiration is not appropriate. As this article points out, some indigenous clothing is associated with spiritual, sacred traditions, and is not regarded as a costume in that culture. At times, when we wear the clothing of another’s culture, it may disregard the
people of that culture as whole beings, with complexities and layers. This is a complex issue, and so I would love to discuss this article and the topic at large with anyone who is interested. I know for some, this may be a new concept, and for others, you may already have an opinion on the topic. Let’s keep thinking, learning, and talking, and let’s encourage our children to do the same!

I am. In LOVE. With This Letter.