According to legend, some primitive cultures demurred at having their picture taken in the early days of photography, believing the camera was an evil device that would steal their soul.
Nowadays, we know better. We live in more enlightened times and know that such fears are mere superstitions.
Well, some of us do. Not so members of protected classes at universities all over the country and their administrative protectors, who are warning once again as Halloween approaches that “culture not a costume.”
“The ‘culture not a costume’ campaign,” Campus Reform writes, “was first popularized by Ohio University students in 2011, with a series of images showing minority students holding photos of people dressed as interpretations of their respective ethnicities.”
Last year, for instance, students at Arizona State University held an on-campus rally during which they dressed up as stereotypical portrayals of their cultures, holding signs with the hackneyed slogan.
“These costumes, I guess, are a mockery of our own traditions,” explained one student dressed in native garb, while another remarked upon how inauthentic the costumes were.
So serious is the shibboleth against what social justice warriors view as offensive costumes that…
- one of them led a campaign at Yale in 2015 to oust a professor who dared to speak out against the university’s endorsement of silly form of censorship. (The student who lead the witch hunt for the teacher’s head was later honored by the university.)
- in 2015, the University of Florida offered round-the-clock counseling for students traumatized by Halloween costumes.
What’s permissible on campus, meantime, is “harmless” tributes to one or more oppressed groups. For example, the University of Southern California a couple of years back sanctioned a lesbian feminist haunted house on campus. The event, organized by a group called ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, was described as a “sex positive, trans inclusive, queer lesbian-feminist-fear-fighting celebration.”