Aztecs learn to avoid offensive Halloween costumes


by Jasmine Bermudez, Staff Writer

San Diego State’s Women’s Resource Center and the Center for Intercultural Relations collaborated to create a seminar this week to educate students about being considerate when choosing a Halloween costume.

The seminar was an interactive discussion between Administrative Support Assistant for the Center for Intercultural Relations, San Diego State alumna Erika Perez, and students attending the event.

Perez said students must continue to become aware of others in their community.

“I have seen cultural appropriation being used to misrepresent different cultures and I want to make sure it is addressed and student are made aware of the power of their choices this Halloween season,” Perez said.

She said that offending others by dress can be avoided. She feels this event is important because it educates students about being mindful in order to create a community that is welcoming, inclusive, and values diversity.

Speakers at the event pointed out it is difficult for one person to have a clear answer at all times as to whether or not something is offensive.

“We have to decide what is appropriate and what is not appropriate,” SDSU Women’s Resource Center Coordinator Jessica L. Nare said. This includes coming together as a community, sharing our views about where we think the line is between offensive and acceptable, and be open to different perspectives.

Nare said the ultimate goal is to make SDSU as inclusive of an environment as possible.

“We want to create an environment that does not exclude people and make them feel unwelcome,” Nare said.

Perez said that people do not always realize how their costume could make others feel.

“We have to be mindful of the statements we are making through our dress, the ways in which we celebrate holidays and the costumes we wear,” Nare said. “These statements have the potential to be quite offensive and make people feel uncomfortable by being insensitive to race, gender, and gender identity.”

This group also discusses the ways in which a person should respond if they find themselves in a situation where they feel offended by another person’s dress.

“We want SDSU students to become agents of change without putting themselves at risk,” Perez said. “Be conversational and explain how a person’s costume offends you and can be offensive to others.”

Halloween should be a fun and festive time, however humor should not be at the cost of someone’s dignity, Perez added.

“We hope to teach SDSU students to be culturally competent and culturally aware because when you are aware of isms and things that are offensive you would know to stay away from those costumes,” Nare said.