Posts tagged as:

Halloween

Every Halloween, we saw news reports and editorial comments on offensive costumes du jour.  What I call Halloween Costume Conundrum. HCC.

This year, the HCC award went to Illegal Alien:

illegal alien

It was such a brouhaha partly because, in my opinion, it was sold through Target’s website.  Target, the one mega store that does not seem to garner public ires, not yet.  In fact, Target has been the trendy, cheap chic, darling for just about every social spectrum in the U.S.  (It is amazing if you think about it.  Kudos to their PR and marketing teams.)  Protests against this costume started garnering support when immigrant activists cried foul, loudly.  Several news programs commented on the costume as “distasteful” and “disgusting”, or even racist.

Now, I am as overtly sensitive as the next person of color, and probably have one of the largest chips on my shoulder.  But my first reaction to this costume was:

That is clever!

You see: here the costume plays on the double meaning of “alien” and twists it around.  The costume does not indicate the race/ethnicity/gender/sexual orientation of the wearer.  It reminds us, or me at least, that there ARE illegal aliens from all over the world.  (And as hinted by this costume, beyond this world even…)  AND, the “alien” is holding a GREEN CARD, therefore technically, the being is NOT illegal.

Subversive, no?

Furthermore, it could also be saying: Underneath the appearances, we are all PEOPLE.  Our common enemy should be the sons-of-bitches in the galaxy far far away that are scheming to invade Earth and enslave our minds and bodies.  We are the world.  Indeed. Nicely done.

Why would people look at this and immediately label it as “racist”?  Doesn’t the automatic association of  “illegal aliens = Latinos” expose the person’s own prejudice?

Why would the immigrant activists make the quick assumptions that the illegal aliens in the Extraterrestrial form are meant to target the Latino community?  Although I agree that most people, whether they admit it or not, do make the equation readily, I wish the immigrant activists would have seized the opportunity to dis-stabilize the stereotype that has been haunting the Latino communities.

“Look at this costume.  ‘Illegal aliens’ may not be illegal after all.  And underneath that label / mask, that could be ANYBODY.”

NOW, the more progressive (and yes, the “annoying” ones, the “hyper sensitive” ones, the buzz killers, the trouble makers, etc.) bunch amongst of us wince at any costume that aims to convey a different race/ethnicity when it is donned.  I still feel conflicted towards how I should react:

What if the wearer is a person of color?  What if a Chinese person wants to dress up as a Geisha?  What if an African American person wants to dress up as a Native American warrior or a Native American Princess?  (Yes. I am channeling my puzzlement towards the Tyra Bank’s “Hapa disaster” on America’s Next Top Model…)

How about dressing up as  a Bavarian with a beer mug in hand?   Yodel-a-hee-hoo, Yodel-a-hee-hoo!  Is that offensive to a person of Bavarian descent?

I do have a semi-answer to the above: A person of Bavarian descent would most likely be treated just as a “regular” person.  White.  Un-marked.  Even if they do speak with an accented English, as long as they don’t speak, when they walk down the street, they are “Just like everybody else.”  Whereas a person of color will always carry the visible indicator with them.  We are marked.  There are always assumptions, unconsciously, made about us.

“So, you are Chinese.  You must like rice.”

Yes, I do.  But when I look at a white person, I don’t go,

“So, you are white.  You must like cheese.”   Or, if you are a hip white person, “Sushi“.

Because I overthink things, especially things that matters to nobody else, I was at a loss when I saw this, at a costume shop, right in the middle of the PC, Liberal center of the U.S. – Cambridge, MA:

Pig Tail anyone

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Popular Halloween costumes

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

I visited Sad Trombone just now. Yet again. I am Today’s Failure #8418.

My failure today, as a mother: I can’t sew worth a damn.

I am not talking about elaborate arts and crafts. I am talking about simple hemming.

I failed Home Ec in high school. Or, rather, I cheated otherwise I would have failed by begging my cousin to make the simple stitches on a sewing machine for a dish towel. Yup, a dish towel. A big X across the fabric that’s all the teacher asked for and I couldn’t do it because I couldn’t, and still can’t, sew straight lines on a sewing machine even if my life depended on it. I can’t do that by hand either, needless to say.

Truth be told: I always have this phobia against sewing machines. I am dastardly afraid that it would sew my fingers together with the fabric.  I’ve always had bad luck with adhesives.

Once when the church school asked the parent (Nah. Why cover for them?  They actually sent home a letter that said “Ask your mother”.  Catholic churches are not big on being politically correct I assume…)  to sew a simple line across the top of a piece of fabric for a dowel to pass through, I actually mailed it all the way to another state for my mother-in-law to sew and send back to me.

I file this under “Me failed at being a mother” together with my nightmarish experience at breastfeeding. (But that’s another post I would probably never get around to write. Perhaps after I finally seek out professional therapy will I ever be able to confront the demons).

Like 99% of the elementary schools around the country, my kids’ school has the annual Halloween Party and Halloween parade this Friday.  I will be leaving for a business trip this Wednesday and will be missing it.  Therefore I am frantically getting things ready, in my absence, for one of the most important days as far as my boys are concerned.

My 6-year-old will be Elvis this year.  He will be wearing this costume:

Elvis my gosh

OMG. This kid scares the heck out of me. Please ignore his grimace and pay attention to the flared bottoms of the pants.

It is a JUMP SUIT. You know what that means: The inseam fits snugly but the pant legs are WAY too long.  (Always!)

I have been thinking, what if he just walks on stilts on Halloween?  Then he could wear this costume without me having to hem the pant legs… Reality called so I just spent the last 2 hours hemming the pants, sewing by hand, ’cause I don’t have a sewing machine AND I don’t know how to use one anyway.  Sewing and crying, actually.  The whole time I was feeling inadequate, complete with a violin in the background playing the kind of self-pitying music that I am sure Cinderella listened to while she was making her step-sisters’ party dresses.  But Cinderella got the birds to help her out.  My fingers and my foot (don’t ask) were pricked by the needle several times, so soon I was thinking of Sleeping Beauty too.  (The tragedy side of it.  Not the getting kissed by the prince part…)

I am going to show you the proof that I really really cannot sew, so you will understand if I vow to myself that my kids will from now on only wear robes on Halloween.  Robes or something that I can use the glue gun on.  Or a staple gun.

I can't sew

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Happy Halloween! saying it now ’cause this Saturday I’ll be too busy eating, eh, giving out candy

October 26, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

Tweet This post should file under: I am too lazy busy to write a proper post so I will just upload the really cute picture my 6-year-old made p.s. I know there are some of you that despise those who say “Halloween is my favorite holiday”, secretly condemning those as Heathens.  No apology given here. […]

5 comments

Tis almost Halloween. Do you know where your costume is? Let Zoltar inspire you…

October 13, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

Tweet Remember Zoltar? From the movie Big?  Well, here is to help you remember… How many of us have thought about seeking the exact Zoltar out, not to make a wish, but just to say, “I have seen it. THE Zoltar in the movie with Tom Hanks!” Well, this post is not about that Zoltar. […]

8 comments

Herald to Halloween? Walnut that looks like Jack Skellington

September 27, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

Tweet Originally uploaded by The Absence of Alternatives. My youngest went tramping in the woods with daddy this weekend and came upon this great looking walnut.  He was very excited since, at least to him and all of us in the family actually, it looks like Jack Skellington in Tim Burton’s The Nightmare before Christmas… […]

2 comments