Is it ok to dress as another race or nationality for Halloween?

Now that the Halloween stores have opened up in the Hudson Valley, many people have started thinking about what they want to dress up as this year. The real question they should be asking, however, is IF they should be dressing up in some of the costumes that are now stocked on local shelves.

During a trip with my son to the Spirit Halloween store in Poughkeepsie, I was checking out some of the costumes when I stumbled across one called "Mexican Man."  The bag shows a white man dressed in a long mustache and brightly colored poncho with a sombrero on his head. As soon as I saw it I blurted out, "Oh no."

The Mexican Man costume isn't the only controversial costume that's still available to purchase. Spirit is also offering a few different styles of Native American costumes, that some may say are also pretty insensitive.

I was kind of surprised that no one at the Spirit Halloween company or the local store manager thought that maybe these costumes were a little bit over the line. I'm certainly not one of those politically correct nazis (see, I used the word nazi) that thinks you can't laugh at taboo subjects.  But if we've learned anything over the past few Halloweens, it's that dressing up as a different race or nationality is something that can get you in a whole heap of trouble.

Last year, Megyn Kelly was fired from NBC for defending a reality star who dressed in blackface for Halloween. Other celebrities have been the target of outrage for wearing insensitive or racist costumes thinking that it was just innocent fun. A few years ago, Julianne Hough dressed as "Crazy Eyes" from Orange Is The New Black, complete with blackface. In 2012, singer Chris Brown caused a stir by putting on a turban and beard and calling himself a "terrorist." And in 2016 Hillary Duff and her boyfriend get dressed up as an Indian chief and pilgrim, causing Native Americans to call for an apology.

With so many options for Halloween costumes, it amazes me that anyone would even consider dressing up as someone else's nationality or race. There are millions of costumes that you could choose, so why even bother wearing something that could label you as as racist?

I showed the Mexican Man costume to a pretty good sample of people of all different age groups and the majority of them cringed just like I did. If that's any indication of how you'll be judged by dressing up in one of these costumes, you might want to opt for something different this year.

I'd love to hear what you think. Would you still dress up in one of these costumes knowing that it's going to upset a whole lot of people? Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page.

 Listen to the Boris & Robyn Show weekday mornings from 6AM to 10AM on 101.5 WPDH. Stream us live through the website, Alexa-enabled device, Google Home or the WPDH mobile app.

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