Let me rephrase this for you in case that was too abstract and college professor-y:
Don’t. Wear. Blackface. Ever.
Now, here’s the advanced class. Having abandoned your Trayvon Martin outfit, when you are considering your new costume and party theme options, ask yourself: is this like blackface — but Asian? Mexican? Native American? Then proceed to the advanced class and ask yourself:
Does my costume or party invitation say: women are sluts? If so, adjust to preclude sending this message too.
Somehow Theta Xi Fraternity at the University of Michigan did not get the memo that just because some hip-hop stars tell stories about gang life, and call each other niggah, and talk about how much they hate women, doesn’t make any of these things ok. Nor does the fact that you can buy various derivations of African-American culture, or admire Black cultural producers and media stars, mean that you can try to be African-American. Even for a night.
Theta Xi’s Halloween party “Hood Ratchet Thursday ” violates these rules. ”Many students of color say they were personally offended by the invitation that was sent via Facebook,” The Michigan Daily reports, “complaining that it parodied Black culture and offended women, referring to twerking contests, ‘bad bitches,’ gang references and repeated use of the word ‘ratchet.’” You have to dig way into the article if you are Dumb Like Me and don’t know what “ratchet” means. Apparently it is a hip-hop word, deriving from the word “wretch,” meaning (according to the Urban Dictionary), “The girl who thinks she’s hot she’s actually ugly and unflattering, probably being sloppy and obnoxious, and has a big attitude.”
Two minor tweaks, editorial board of The Michigan Daily: first, it is not only people of color who are offended by racism; anti-racist white people are offended by racism too. Got it? Second, there is too little reflection here or in the response by fratmember Allen Wu (“Get the Asian kid to write it! Awesome idea! That will prove we aren’t racist”) that the party is appallingly sexist too.
So here’s a great training video for all the college kids, and their parents, and Hollywood stars, who are out there trying to figure out how they can possibly pull together a *great* Halloween costume without being a racist a$$hat: