The First Amendment is a very simple statement of several freedoms, including stereotypical Halloween costumes. It’s designed to protect speech in all its forms while leaving room for laws against libel and slander. Politicians are even permitted to lie without any violation of the law unless they lie under oath giving testimony. Now we are learning that students at the University of Colorado Boulder are being encouraged not to wear certain stereotypical costumes for Halloween and “not to host parties with offensive themes including those with ‘ghetto’ or ‘hillbilly’ themes or those associated with ‘crime or sex work.’”
A letter was sent out by a university official asking students “to consider the impact that their costumes could have.” Christina Gonzales, the dean of students, wrote:
“Making the choice to dress up as someone from another culture, either with the intention of being humorous or without the intention of being disrespectful, can lead to inaccurate and hurtful portrayals of other people’s cultures.”
I think the students should dress up as college officials, professors bureaucrats, and politicians on Halloween, zombie style. These are the people who are truly frightening. But that would violate the “crime and sex work” prohibition outlined in the letter.
People need to grow up. If cultural stereotypes are now out-of-bounds, every comedy performance in America would have to be outlawed.
There’s a flip side to all of this. How many times have college professors gone out of their way to stereotype conservatives, Christians, anti-abortion advocates, to name just three groups? Students will tell you that it happens every day. And what do we hear from university bureaucrats: “freedom of expression.”
The latest debate over the Shutdown has been all about stereotypes and then passed off as “journalism.” Joel E. Pollack writes on Breitbart:
“Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC’s All In, has a favorite tactic—though not an original one: connecting today’s Republicans with the racist Democrats of the old South. In June, he rewrote history by casting George Wallace as a Republican—an error for which, to his credit, he later apologized. On Wednesday, he appeared to use a more subtle tactic to connect the Tea Party’s Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio to the Ku Klux Klan.
“In a segment on possible Tea Party contenders for the Republican Party’s nomination in the 2016 presidential race, Hayes used a graphic . . . that portrayed Cruz, Paul, and Rubio as kings in a deck of cards—and that, rather conveniently, spelled out the initials ‘K K K.’ (Hayes did not say the word “kings” during the segment.)”
The folks at the University of Colorado at Boulder should spend more time teaching the facts of history, honesty in journalism, and how political stereotypes are more destructive than someone dressing up like Walter White on Halloween.