If a student at the University of Florida in Gainesville sees one of their schoolmates wearing a costume they find offensive, they can share their outrage and concerns with a “24/7 counselor in the Counseling and Wellness Center.”
The school has already urged students to “think about your choices of costumes and themes.”
“Some Halloween costumes reinforce stereotypes of particular races, genders, cultures or religions. Regardless of intent, these costumes can perpetuate negative stereotypes, causing harm and offense to groups of people,” the university said in the memo earlier this week. “Also, keep in mind that social media posts can have a long-term impact on your personal and professional reputation.”
So, if a student sees someone trick-or-treating in an appropriate costume, they are encouraged to either email the university’s “We Care Program” or call the counselor to discuss its impact — after all, what could be worse than seeing an immigrant dressed up as a cowboy for Halloween, right?
“The Bias Education and Response Team at the University of Florida is able to respond to any reported incidents of bias, to educate those that were involved, and to provide support by connecting those that were impacted to the appropriate services and resources,” read the statement.
The main question here is what constitutes a racist outfit and who is to judge its level of tastelessness?
In this age of political correctness, the correct definition of the word “offensive” is hard to comprehend. Cultural appropriation is considered offensive, yes, but what if a non-white person dresses up as a white public figure or vice versa, would it warrant objections or a warning from the school?
As far as the counseling is considered, perhaps regulating the costumes might be a tad bit better approach.
The University of Florida’s post came days after Wisconsin-La Crosse hosted an “Is Your Costume Racist?” event to educate students on not dressing like a racist.
About 30 students showed up.
Earlier this month, three students from Florida’s Wiregrass Ranch High School were caught wearing Ku Klux Klan costumes for the spirit day. The students claimed the costumes were meant to represent ghosts.
“Usually ghosts don’t have pointed hats,” said school Superintendent Kurt Browning.