COLUMN: Embrace different cultures

Like any other Halloween since the age of 16, I attended and enjoyed Alpha Psi Omega’s production of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

This year, I dressed up as Daphne and my roommate dressed up like Scooby Doo.

We weren’t the only ones dressed up. Some women walked around in corsets and fishnets, while some men walked around looking even more fabulous than the women.

And then I saw it.

Two young, fresh-looking Central Michigan University women wearing all black with black paint covering their face and bright red lips. I was floored.

Blackface is never OK. I don’t care if it’s Halloween. It doesn't matter if you’re ignorant of the racist connotations or you just don’t care about how you look. If you wear black paint and bright red lips, I will not respect you.

Back in 1913, black face was a regularly depicted thing. People in movies and in vaudeville shows wore shoe polish and paint on their face and acted in a racist manner. Blacks weren’t allowed to portray their own race in cinema or on the stage, so of course, white people believed they had to.

News flash: It’s 2013.

I never thought I would see someone in blackface in my lifetime. Millennials are supposed to be the progressive generation, looking past race and gender, having the ability to work together to create a better future for our offspring and us.

I realize that Mount Pleasant is a fairly homogenous community. I grew up here. I graduated with a class lacking racial diversity.

I’ve had people tell me their parents sent them to CMU because it’s a fairly white community. As a Mount Pleasant resident, I’m embarrassed.

I feel our community is rich with culture from all over. We have a strong connection with the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. We have a thriving international student community.

The CMU Student Government Association is working on a campaign called “My Culture is not a Costume.” This campaign should include everything from the culture of our school's mascot to those cultures of other ethnicities.

The SGA campaign a great cause and I hope that it will bring more tolerance and acceptance to our small town in the middle of nowhere.

We’re rich with culture. Embrace the cultures by visiting the Ziibiwing Center or spending some time with a group of international students. Don’t spoil the Halloween season by smearing paint on your face and mocking someone’s heritage.


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