Halloween: is nothing safe from the PC thought police?

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Children pick out treats during the Halloween carnival at a Catholic school in the US. The annual event brought together hundreds of students, parents and neighbours for a night of entertainment and fun. Photo: CNS, Nancy Wiechec

Read the ABC’s guidelines on its webpage Life about what to wear and what not to wear on Halloween and the comments by the Australian academic Dr Emily Brayshaw and it’s clear nothing is safe from the clutches of the politically correct fun police.

Gone are the days when children could innocently dress up as their favourite fantasy, movie or children’s fairy tale character.  Anything with a brown or black face is especially verboten as argued by the Australian academic quoted on the ABC website.

Brayshaw argues it’s politically incorrect for children to dress up as a ‘person of colour’ as doing so denigrates “First Nations, Indigenous people here, as well as black slaves from the US, Caribbean people, Pacific Islanders” and that such dressing up reinforces “historical relationships that are deeply grounded in inequality and racism”.

Children check out the haunted house during the Halloween carnival at Santa Cruz Catholic School in Tucson, Arizona on 24, October. The annual event brought together hundreds of students, parents and neighbors for a night of entertainment and fun. Photo: CNS, Nancy Wiechec

On the other hand there is nothing wrong if children dress as nuns or priests on the basis that such figures are part of the dominant culture guilty of oppressing marginalized and disadvantaged individuals and groups.

Brayshaw argues “Nuns and priest have been the fodder of dress-up for time immemorial, but the thing to keep in mind is they’re also part of the dominant culture … and the dominant culture has a voice [and power].  By dressing in such costumes, you’re lampooning those in power rather than poking fun at marginalised minority groups”.

There’s no doubt because of the insidious and dangerous influence of politically correct ideology that children’s events like birthdays, dress up days and especially this week’s Halloween are a minefield for those parents and children who are not politically correct and Woke.

Filipinos visit the graves of their loved ones in Marikina City, Philippines, on 1 November, All Saints’ Day. Photo: CNS, Ezra Acayan, Reuters

Wear the wrong costume or use the wrong makeup and as quick as you can say Count Dracula both you and your child will be ostracised and condemned.  In America the PC fun police are especially active.

The American comedian Bill Maher argues cultural-left group think has destroyed Halloween by decreeing “no hula girls, no Indian chiefs, no southern belles, no Daniel Boone, no geishas, ninjas, gypsies, mobsters, terrorists, no Cleopatra, pirates offend one-eyed people, you can’t dress as a hobo because it makes light of the homeless”.

Maher goes on to argue “Not everything that merely alludes to another culture is racist, or cultural appropriation” and that “Halloween was always fun because it wasn’t PC.  Not being PC was almost the whole point of the holiday. But now everything has to turn into a federal case of snowflakes v. humour”.

A man paints a boy’s face to look like “Catrina” in Mexico City, as part of Day of the Dead celebrations on 1 November. In Mexico “Catrina” symbolises elegant death. Photo: CNS, Carlos Jasso, Reuters

Such is the influence of the political correctness that increasingly Australia parents and children are being warned about the importance of being Woke.  Just witness what happened to a Perth mother who made the mistake of allowing her white, ‘privileged’ son to dress as his hero, the AFL footballer of colour Nic Naitanui, for a dress up day.

For this the mother was condemned and vilified on social networking sites for cultural appropriation and disrespecting the ‘Other’.  The Other refers to all those victim groups and individuals who are oppressed and disadvantaged by Australia’s white, Eurocentric and privileged society.

The ABC guidelines under the heading ‘Cultural appropriation’ provides further advice about what is PC and not PC when it comes to Halloween.  The Australian HuffPost defines cultural appropriation as “the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture”.

One example involves the Hollywood heterosexual actress Scarlet Johansson being made to withdraw from playing the role of a transgender character.  On Twitter Elise Bauman criticises Johansson arguing “the way you can use your privilege as a white Ciswoman is to amplify the voices of underrepresented communities, not speak for them”.

According to the PC thought police White Australians are especially guilty of unfairly taking from and misusing costumes, dress, customs, rituals, symbols and icons from cultures they have dominated and dispossessed.

While there is no doubt that some examples of cultural appropriation are unacceptable, for example white artists selling their work as traditional Aboriginal art, many other examples represent PC madness.

It’s obvious to any reasonable person that the Western Australian child ostracised for dressing up as his favourite footballer Nic Naitanui had done nothing wrong.  And when it comes to Halloween if children want to dress up as a native American Indian, a Geisha girl or a West Indies’ ghoul there are no grounds for complaint.

As well as being hypocritical and prejudiced it’s clear that the cultural-left’s political correctness movement is committed to destroying the fun and innocence of childhood by imposing its ideology on countless children.  It’s time for parents to say: ‘enough is enough’.

Dr Kevin Donnelly is a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University and author of A Politically Correct Dictionary and Guide (forthcoming Connor Court).