Racists, dummies and bad costumes: Robyn Urback

Always good to have nuance rather than the automatic reactions:

There is, however, nuance to be found under the impassioned name-calling being sputtered from both sides. It involves the recognition, for one, that most of these students probably aren’t frothing racists, but rather, just uninformed dolts who didn’t read the news last Halloween, and who don’t understand why someone might take offence to them wearing a symbol of profound religious or cultural meaning as a costume.

It also involves the recognition that while some people might not have a problem with students dressed as people of other cultures, there are very legitimate, genuine reasons why Mexican prisoner or Tibetan monk costumes would be considered offensive. Some of those reasons are more obvious than others (see: Mexican prisoner), but just because it might take a bit of digging to find the “offence” doesn’t mean it’s any less real.

All that said, we will certainly never get anywhere if the impulse, from all ends, is to sprint to the extreme each and every time this comes up. So, how about next October, instead of the conversation going as it did this time — “This is shockingly racist!” then “Pft, crybabies…” —  we opt instead for, “Hey, I don’t think you’re a Nazi, but maybe dress as a cat next time?” followed by “OK”?

Maybe then we’ll have a shot at getting through the year without playing out the same tedious routine.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: