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Editorial: Culture, Costumes and Conflict

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By Will Camillo, Opinions Editor

Another year, another Halloween celebration come and gone. However, something seemed different about this year’s festivities. There was a sense of hostility in the air along with the usual ghosts and goblins. Just as they have in previous years, the Student Government Association (SGA) began their “Culture, Not a Costume” poster campaign. As many of us saw over the past few weeks, the aim of the campaign was to remind students that Halloween costumes that stereotype or mock people of other races and cultures can be offensive to people of those cultures, and that Halloween is a holiday that should be fun and inclusive for everyone in the Stonehill community and beyond.

Unlike last year, there seemed to be far more posters around campus. Not only that, but it seemed like the campaign hit a nerve with more than a few members of our community. If you were on social media, particularly Yik Yak, during the weeks leading up to Halloween, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who did not have some sort of issue with “Culture, Not a Costume.” While some thought that, because their friend of a certain ethnicity or culture said it was okay, that they could wear a costume that someone else of that culture may find offensive; others had, in my eyes, far more understandable complaints. The biggest issue that many seemed to have with SGA’s campaign was the assumption that we, as adults and members of a college community, were not responsible or intelligent enough to make the right judgments about possibly-offensive costumes.

It seems to me that we need to trust each other a little bit more, no matter what side of the debate you find yourself. Maybe SGA should trust us to make the right decisions and should not have to rely on a poster campaign to avoid offensive costumes. Then again, maybe we should put more trust in our fellow students, that we elected to SGA, who simply want to make sure everyone feels included.

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