Queen’s university policing Halloween costumes

Canada is quicking joining the U.S. in its frenzy to turn colleges into Nanny States. The subject, as ever this time of year, is party costumes, rapidly become a political flashpoint, and a great excuse for Regressive Lefists to call people “racists”.

What happened last Saturday in Kingston, Ontario, as reported by the CBC, is that students held a costume party off campus. The theme was “countries,” and students dressed as Buddhist monks, Mexicans (with sombreros or as Mexican wrestlers), Turks (with fezzes), and people from other countries.  Here are some of the costumes (the CBC gets some of it wrong: the fezzes don’t adorn “Middle Eastern sheiks” and the face coverings are not “Mexican prisoners”):

Mexican wrestlers:






Buddhis monks, with stocks meant to represent bald heads:


Turks and gypsies?


Daniel Woolf, Principle and Vice-Chancellor of Queens, then issued two statements on the University’s website, threatening sanctions against these students. Here’s an excerpt:

As the principal of Queen’s, I am upset and disappointed by this incident and want to learn more about it so that the university can take appropriate measures to address concerns that have arisen, including my own.

As I stated yesterday, any event that degrades, mocks, or marginalizes a group or groups of people is completely unacceptable at Queen’s.

That is why I have asked the provost to gather as much information as possible, and, based on what he learns, determine if this event falls within the scope of Queen’s Student Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct is applicable to students’ off-campus conduct in certain circumstances.

Others objected as well:

[Toronto comedian Celeste Yim] called the event “shockingly racist.”

“The costumes are indisputably and unequivocally offensive, tasteless, and should not be tolerated. Context and intentions have no bearing,” Yim wrote.

Most of the students at Queen’s University who spoke to CBC News on Wednesday said the images from the party were inappropriate.

“It’s definitely a joke in poor taste. And it’s not right in present society,” said Sutheeksan Sunthoran. “I think we can do better. We should do better — not just as members of Queen’s, but as Canadians, generally.”

Hisham Imtiaz called the party costumes “extremely inappropriate.”

“It doesn’t represent the university as a whole, but it definitely represents a small part of the uneducated group who just says it’s all in good fun — when it really isn’t.”

John Siferd said he believed issues around cultural insensitivity exist on other Canadian universities as well, and that it would be a mistake to view the weekend’s party near Queen’s as a special case.

“Other campuses probably have similar issues relating to race on their campuses. And they should be addressed.”

Well, judge for yourself, and remember that it was a costume party meant to represent “countries”. If the USA were represented, what would the costume be? Probably a Hawaiian shirt and plaid Bermuda shorts, maybe with an American flag in the hand. How about Canadians? Probably a flannel shirt with moose antlers on the head, and a Molson’s—or a Mountie costume. Are these costumes representative of bigotry and racism, or the students’ attempts to look like members of different nationalities? Do they show racism and bigotry? What about the Mexican wrestler masks? You be the judge.

What isn’t ambiguous, I think, is the University’s threats to discipline students for what they do off campus. Even if you think some of the costumes were tasteless (and I probably wouldn’t have worn many of these), one should have the freedom to show poor taste without being disciplined by one’s university for an off campus party. The costumes are simply an expression of free speech, and Queens, while it may have the right to condemn those costumes, has no right to threaten or punish their wearers.

I doubt that these students are racists; if anything, they’re probably just naive and clueless. So boo to Queens for investigating this incident. Yes, perhaps there can be a dialogue about this incident, but the dialogue should not consist of the Perpetually Offended demanding that others agree with them. That’s a monologue.

Here’s what the Advice Goddess Amy Alkon said:

I become more and more convinced: College is now nursery school with beer.

If you, back when I went to University of Michigan in 80s, told me that college students would be “investigated” for going to costumes dressed up in “bad taste,” I think I would have just stood there and gaped at you.

Isn’t that the point? Costume party…dressing up in bad taste?





  1. steve oberski
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Well at our last halloween party one couple came as Red Green (Canada) and Martha Steward (US).

    It’s interesting that Daniel Woolf, Principle and Vice-Chancellor of Queens, is deeply concerned over this incident and wants to “take appropriate measures” while at the same time admitting that “I … want to learn more about it”.

    Perhaps Mr. Woolf should first learn more about it before expressing his concerns in a public forum.

  2. Claudia Baker
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    I just don’t get this. Why not spend time helping kids with their “binge drinking” and sexual exploits at university, instead of this b.s. Seriously misguided expenditure of energy and resources.

    “…nursery school with beer” is exactly right.

    I think the monks’ costumes are ‘genius’!

  3. GBJames
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Hey! Fezzes are cool.

    • Wunold
      Posted November 25, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      As are mustaches. 🙂

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 25, 2016 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      And bowties.

  4. Posted November 25, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I guess Queen’s has a “Principal” because it treats students as if they are still in high school.

  5. Andrew
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    The guys in sombreros are also wearing orange jumpsuits. Hence, Mexican prisoners.

    What struck me is that everyone in the pictures appears to be white. The people objecting to the costumes in the quote have names that imply they are not white. So is it so hard to understand that some people would not see this as a free speech issue but rather a race issue; white people, yet again, mocking non-whites.

    I’m not saying the university’s response is the right one, or that all the responses are justified, but simply writing off anyone who objects to ‘inappropriate costumes’ as Regressive Leftists isn’t going to help us understand why we’re seeing events unfold as they are.

    • Posted November 25, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Yeah, even if you think policing Halloweeen costumes is an infantilizing erosion of liberty, which I think it is, you can still say that someone choosing to represent a culture by wearing a prison jump suit is an instance of racism.

    • cherrybombsim
      Posted November 25, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Prison jumpsuits – Offensive
      Sombreros – Pretty lame for party sombreros, but otherwise inoffensive.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 25, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        How do we know it wasn’t a backhanded jab at the Trump?


        • Craw
          Posted November 25, 2016 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

          We don’t. This is an excellent point. Why can’t this be mocking a prejudice?

          • Posted November 25, 2016 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

            I don’t know. Who says it can’t? If it is, good.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted November 26, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

          I thought the exact same thing. Mexicans aren’t a very prominent minority in Ontario and if someone were being racist they probably wouldn’t think to specify a slur against Mexicans. Canadians learn about Mexicans via American TV and how Americans view their borders (because sadly there are American politicians who don’t live along the US-Canadian border who think Canada is exactly the same as what they think Mexico is). I can almost guarentee the orange jumpsuits are a mockery of that vision.

    • Posted November 25, 2016 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      “What struck me is that everyone in the pictures appears to be white. The people objecting to the costumes in the quote have names that imply they are not white.”

      Let me paste next to this a comment to the previous post on this site:

      “…Whites have bought the line that they’re getting screwed in favor of minorities and immigrants.”

      To me, being threatened because of a private party is the definition of getting screwed. Reminds me of morality police in Iran.

      • Andrew
        Posted November 25, 2016 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        For better or for worse, once the pictures hit social media, private gatherings are treated as public events by anyone inclined to do so.

        Not saying that’s right, just saying that’s the way things seem to play out.

        • Posted November 26, 2016 at 6:10 am | Permalink

          Yes. I remember also the British athlete Louis Smith who found himself in hot waters after privately mocking Islamic prayer.

    • chris moffatt
      Posted November 25, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Unless the students wearing them admitted they were jump suits you sure can’t tell that from the picture. But of course in a post-factual world it doesn’t matter. As for the sombreros they look like any of the dire souvenir sombreros people pick up on their vacations to Cancun. If the mexicans don’t want cultural appropriation they shouldn’t sell such tat to tourists.

      • Posted November 25, 2016 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        You can’t tell those are jumpsuits? They have zippers. They have metal snap buttons. They have pleating on the back of the shoulder. Those are not orange Oxfords.

        Even if they managed to find “regular” orange shirts with zippers and metal snaps, the fact that they’re all wearing the same thing is highly suggestive that they intended to allude to prison garb.

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted November 26, 2016 at 9:31 am | Permalink

          Here in the UK orange jumpsuits are standard uniform for motor sport marshals.

          • Posted November 26, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink

            If the picture was taken in the UK perhaps we’d have a little more reason to doubt the allusion, in that case. Then again, do motor sport marshals in the UK also wear sombreros?

            • HaggisForBrains
              Posted November 26, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

              Not very often – just saying orange jump suits are used in various ways. I have one in my garage for working on the car.

              To be honest, I think this whole issue is a joke. If someone is offended, fine! Let us all know you’re offended. Then bugger off. (Not you, musical beef 😉 )

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted November 26, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

                Besides, everyone knows that Latinos are crazy about motorsport.



      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 26, 2016 at 1:34 am | Permalink

        “If the mexicans don’t want cultural appropriation they shouldn’t sell such tat to tourists.”

        Probably the ones selling the tourist tat aren’t the ones (if indeed any Mexicans are) whining about cultural appropriation.

        In fact I’d bet that *if* any Mexicans are complaining, they’re more likely ones that live in the US – that is, ex-Mexicans.

        (It’s a well-known ‘fact’ that expatriates of all sorts are far more patriotic for the country they left behind, than the ones who still live there…)


  6. Charly
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    This has already Totalitarian status.

    Zizek has been really clear about this, even if you dislike him for his opinions or theories on some other issues, you should listen to him about this:

  7. Posted November 25, 2016 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Costumes in general are based on tawdry stereotypes meant to illicit humor. Although costumes are not an indictment of nefarious intentions or immoral sentiments, the proposed theme was tendentious enough to elicit unsurprising results among college kids. Not a radar-worthy event in my opinion.

    • Posted November 25, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      elicit (both times). sorry, the pedant in me is asleep at the wheel this morning.

  8. Posted November 25, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Given all the energy spent for such controversies, it’s striking that the Social Justice Warriors not even deem it necessary to explain their reasoning. It is simply asserted as self evident that country-based or cultural costumes are verboten. It’s all obvious isn’t it?

    But maybe not. The only costumes I deem off-limits are those that double as political statements (e.g. Nazi uniform). I know that Americans find blackface beyond the pale, but even this is under close inspection not as clear. It depends on what the person represents. Blackface that signifies race, i.e. going as a “black person”, that’s racist. But as a means or feature of something else? If they represent a cultural icon, a prototype, or someone famous, I don’t see what the issue is. I guess we imagine it looks badly done, but what if it is a really good costume?

    Let’s say somebody went as Django, with blackface and all, and it’s dome with great care and quality? Where’s exactly is the problem? Is it generally wrong to portray an ethnically different character, say going as Flash Gordon’s villain “Ming the Merciless”? The pulpish original is probably already “problemtatic”. But why exactly? It rests on dubious postmodernist ideas which are not generally accepted. If a European can attach a fu manchu beard and makeup the eyes to look Asian, why is blackface dubious (as a means, not an end)? It’s tradition in the Netherlands soon again that Sinterklaas goes around with his sidekick Zvarte Piet, which mostly means blackface. But he’s a specific character, just as Ming or Django.

    The problem is rather that certain costumes are deemed offensive by others, and this overshadows their quality and ingenuity. There’s an argument that there are enough possibilities, that somebody doesn’t have to pick exactly one that requires change of ethnicity and which might offend, but the problem is offense taken, not the costume itself. But that way costumes become signs that don’t signify an idea, culture, icons etc but are seen as “provocative” in the first place. And this is not for good reasons, but as a learned behaviour where reasons are invented as rationalization (i.e. post hoc).

    PS: the typical American costume is of course cowboy and generic native. But they don’t represent any person, tribe, or culture, but are pop culturally translated icons of a fictional historical time.

    PPS: of course Germans are seen as with Lederhosen, but that’s more an Alpine style also found in Switzerland and Austria. Why not try something else, like the North German / Frisian stereotype: http://i.imgur.com/TQQwpiE.jpg

    • Posted November 25, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      The problem is partially with “political statement”. There is sort of a (bad) slippery slope here. I read that some of the students came explicitly as *Viet Cong*. Is that political?

    • Posted November 25, 2016 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Why should political statements be “off-limits”? Just asking.

      • Posted November 25, 2016 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        Not per se, but I hope I don’t need to explain why this example is.

        • Posted November 25, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

          So you are saying SOME political statements are off-limits.

          • Posted November 25, 2016 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

            You can do whatever you want, but political statement is not a costume. And the point I tried to make was that some historical “costumes” are such overwhelmingly a statement that they cannot function merely as a costume. But if someone feels confident with whatever statement it makes, they can go for it. You can emerge as Napoleon, and disguise as Castro and it is probably more joke, but if you are Puttin’ on the Reich, be prepared to be viewed as an actual Nazi.

    • Posted November 25, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      When it comes to Halloween, it’s long been traditional to dress up as a legendary monsters and villains, whether fantastical or historical. A Nazi uniform, in that context, is no more of a controversial political statement than Gilles de Rais.

  9. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Don’t know about the laws in Canada but I would guess that in the U.S. the school officials have no control over the students away from school. Unless they have standards of conduct contracts the kids sign before going to school there? They can dress up however they like when not on the institution’s property.

  10. Cameron
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I’m sad to say but I think Halloween will soon be extinct. Can anyone think of a costume that doesn’t offend someone somehow? Vampires can be an insult to Eastern Europeans, particularly those people who revere Vlad Dracula (sp?). Werewolves? People with hypertrichosis. Zombies? Just about any religion that reveres the dead. A Power Ranger? Every Power Ranger is in themselves a stereotype. How about a banana? Nope sorry, that may signal that corporate backed banana republics are a good thing. See what’s going on here? Someone will always be deeply offended by something, and it’s only time until everything is offensive enough to ban.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 25, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      The Village People would never have made it as a band in modern times! 😀

      • Merilee
        Posted November 25, 2016 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        @Diana: Neither would The Flying Karamazov Brothers.

        It’s OK for the entire world to wear jeans and eat hamburgers ( or the mystery meat that is a Big Mac)…oh, I guess ’cause that’s “punching up.” Insanity!

  11. Posted November 25, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Ugh. I’ll have to ask my contacts at Queen’s about this one.

    I *really* find it difficult to deal with the “extramural policing” stuff. I think now that it should never be done for students. (Barring sentences for crimes, that is.)

  12. Diana MacPherson
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Universities take their time to investigate rape but wear a costume with a grass skirt and watch the action unfold!

    • Bob Murray
      Posted November 25, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Surely the Police investigate crime. The University should be teaching.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 25, 2016 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        Not when the complaints are against your employees.

        • Bob Murray
          Posted November 25, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

          I know British law not Canadian Law. I still have to ask why weren’t Police involved? A question not directed at you Diana.
          Universities are not crime investigators.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted November 25, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

            I think the police were involved in some of the cases. However, the issue remains that the university (UBC) thought that it had no obligation to address the issue (a criminal offence) with their graduate student, an employee of the university, because the assaults or at least one of them, happened off campus.

            This is in stark contrast to another university (Queens) felt that they needed to investigate a costume party (not a criminal activity).

            It appears that universities in Canada are far more concerned with what their students wear to costume parties off campus than they are about what their students do to harm one another in criminal ways. Moreover, while these costumes could be considered racist, the blasé attitude of the university toward sexual assault is, to me, systemic sexism and the injury to those women affected far more profound and longer lasting than the offence taken by a costume.

            • Posted November 25, 2016 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

              UBC completely bungled the entire situation from the beginning. Irrespective of their legal obligations, UBC – like any other university – has a code of conduct that all students, faculty, and staff must adhere to. The fiasco Diana pointed to is a glaring example of the university ignoring its own alleged ethics. See here: http://students.ubc.ca/campus/student-code-conduct

          • GBJames
            Posted November 25, 2016 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

            “Universities are not crime investigators”

            Well, this isn’t really true, at least not here in Wisconsin. Our state universities have police departments and the officers are, in fact, state police. They have power to enforce state law both on and off campus (although they tend to cooperate with local police off campus in order to maintain jurisdictional good relations with their municipal police colleagues).

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted November 25, 2016 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

              Same with universities in Canada, at least the ones I’m familiar with v

              • Posted November 28, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

                Some campuses have hired security and a porter system (which does some security stuff). Some have actual police. UBC, mentioned above, has police, because when they were founded they were well outside the Vancouver limits.

            • Bob Murray
              Posted November 25, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

              Surely though, the University Police are still officers of the court, investigators to put evidence before the Crown to be tried in court. If there is sufficient evidence to prosecute.

              • GBJames
                Posted November 25, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

                Well, we don’t have a crown. Police routinely investigate crime. I believe that’s what we’re discussing here. My point is that implying that universities “should be teaching” instead of investigating (relevant) crime is naive. It oversimplifies what a university is and ignores the existence of university police departments.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted November 25, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Attacking costumes is easy. So when they fail to address sexual abuse and alcohol abuse and drug abuse and students dropping out and student depression and student suicide, and they’re criticized for that, they can point to their intervention on costumes and denying a platform to someone like Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 25, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink


      • Posted November 25, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely true, this is the explanation.

  13. Mark Reaume
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I think Queen’s is overly sensitive about this issue due to previous incidents which included students use of blackface.

    Regardless, even if these costumes are offensive to some people they should still have the right to be offensive. Especially since it was off campus.

  14. Tumara Baap
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Sorry but none of this is even remotely offensive (with the exception of the orange shirts, which I hope do not denote prison garb). Those who claim offense need to be heard. But nothing further needs to be done if the complaints lack merit and are plain silly. Any suggestion that these kids have malice in their hearts is categorically rubbish. It’s a costume party. Frankly I’m more concerned with the ease with which the mere depiction of a minority culture translates to a mockery of it. It unwittingly may reveal something not-too-charitable about those making the charges. And good taste per se is not a pre-requisite for fun night out. At a halloween party in my area someone came dressed as a catholic priest in a flowing black robe. Could this have offended someone? To boot under the robe were tucked figurines of little boys. Tasteless and offensive? I personally thought it was a brilliant expression of one’s free speech rights.

  15. Kiwi Dave
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I can see why a sombrero plus prison jump suit is offensive but suspect the sombrero alone would still have been deemed offensive.

    As for the notion that context and intentions have no bearing, yes they do. Why should anyone take seriously costumes at a costume party? And if a costume is offensive or a negative stereotype, explain why; convince rather than suppress people.

    Full disclosure: I own and sometimes wear one of those Asian hats as sun protection while gardening. Am I perpetuating a stereotype of backward SE Asian peasants?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 25, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Even worse – I usually wear an ‘Aussie Hat’ (though without the dangling corks). And to make matters still worse, I’m a Pom, hence utterly unworthy to wear such apparel.

      I expect I’m causing hideous offence to Aussies (cultural appropriation), Kiwis (to whom anything Aussie is anathema) and quite possibly all right-thinking Poms (to whom I must appear to be a frightful renegade and bounder). At least, I hope so.

      But, seriously, a *costume party*? They’re *supposed* to be in bad taste!


      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 26, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        Haha! I wear some Aussie footwear sometimes. It’s only a little amusing to me as a half Kiwi. In Canada it’s no biggie. I did post on FB amusing sign in the liquor site as it had a big Australia label for Australian wine and inset in that big label was a little “New Zealand” where you could get some NZ wine. I thought it was perfect for what always happens to NZ and as a Canadian I totally get it as that happens with us and the US but only when we want the US to recognize us.

  16. José
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I simply can’t understand this. Not even if it happened in campus. You dress, accurately or not, like someone from othe country. So what? Someone gets offended? I can only see a logical leap of faith. For me is exactly as if someone… well, I jus’t can’t think of something as estupid as the original.

    Here in Spain, (and I suspect that in most of Europe) that concept of “cultural apropiation” doesn’t make sense. We were hope to iberian/celtic cultures, who were conquered an merged with romans, who were conquered and merged with Goths, who were conquered and merged with arabs, who where conquered and merged with christians again, who conquered the americas and brought with them things like potatoes, tomatoes and corn, and all allong importing and exporting eslaves (and I am not saying slavery was good, only that it happened and had cultural consecuences, son we are a fusion inside a merge inside a cocktail (or a cultural apropiation inside a cultural apropiation inside a cultural apropiation).

    And Fuck, if some of this easy offended people came to the carnival in Tenerife, where I live, they would surely die from a heart atack, as the whole carnival is built on the premise of thousands of people in the street dressing (often more ironically and comically than acurately) like people of different cultures, places, gender (that happens a lot and is HILARIOUS) and time. There’s a lot of dancing (lating music) and drinking, so it would be not uncommon to see a man dressed like and arab woman, burka, veil or whatever included, dancing erotically with a priest, or even the pope…

  17. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I become more and more convinced: College is now nursery school with beer.

    That sounds a wonderful idea. What could possibly go wrong.
    I wondr what proportion of people alive today exist because of that extra bottle/ glass/ pint/ snifter the night before? There’s probably no way of really knowing, but I bet it’s closer to 1:3 than 1:30/

  18. Posted November 25, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    A lot of these objections are coming from the Humamities – which is ironic because when I was a student the humanities were obsessed with Mikhail Bakhtin and his notion of the ‘carnivalesque’.

    It was understood that carnivals – and by extension all public festivals – were a temporary suspension of the social order, not a continuation of it, and a vital pressure realease. Unruliness was the order of the day.

    Even the bloody Inquisition knew well enough to leave revellers alone.

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted November 25, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      As long as they stay away from the rishathra.

  19. tubby
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    I think the American costume would be a cowboy hat, belt holsters with toy revolvers, and an American flag cape. What’s funny though is that when I lived in Canada I recall a lot of hilariously bad American stereotypes being displayed for humor and advertising. Usually it was redneck hicks with bad teeth and watery beer. But that’s OK because it’s punching up, right?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 26, 2016 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      I don’t honk that was meant as an American stereotype. Canadians have their own rednecks promoted by Bob and Doug McKenzie. I think the redneck is more an amusing character of its own rather than an American stereotype.

      Most Canadians live along the border so our idea of Americans are tourists we see coming to canada if we don’t go to the US. Sadly, my experience was a very bad one when I worked in the tourist industry. It wasn’t until I travelled in the US that I realized Americans are mostly not like that and are actually on the whole very friendly.

      • Posted November 28, 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        “Redneck” is sort of a template you can acquire over American, Canadian and subcategories thereof (Acadien, Quebecois, Ontarian, Albertan, Hoosier, Yankee, etc.)

  20. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    “If the USA were represented, what would the costume be? Probably a Hawaiian shirt and plaid Bermuda shorts, maybe with an American flag in the hand.”

    Don’t forget the yachting cap with lots of gold braid. 😉


  21. Posted November 25, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    This sounds bizarre.

    My understanding is that the concept of cultural appropriation started out as something on the lines of a disadvantaged minority inventing a music style or food that is rejected by the majority because of racism, then picked up by a member of the majority and suddenly sold with great success without any acknowledgement, attribution or remuneration of the original inventors. It is not really hard to understand why that is a bad thing to do, although admittedly it would be hard to punish it in practice. The best one can do is tell people: be aware of what you are doing, consider going to the original, don’t reject it just because the provider has a different skin colour than you.

    But this? How did and why the concept mutate to “a private person may not wear anything associated with a different culture”? Crucially, where is the harm? How is a minority losing money or opportunities if somebody is wearing this or that kind of hat to a party? Is it not clear that there is a difference between using a stereotype as a party costume and using a stereotype to discriminate in a hiring process?

    • Posted November 25, 2016 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      This belief system is infamous for a creep of once plausible ideas. There’s probably a Phd to earn how this happens, but I suspect that since SJWism is driven by picking fights and “virtue signalling”, they have a drift towards controversial ideas to show true commitment.

      This movement has no brakes or moderation: go against the grain, and you might be next on the chopping block. Hence, they wind up not only with a fabulated view on the world, built on hoaxes, telephone games and confirmation bias, but also have developed such concepts associated as ideologically wrong until they are Thought Terminating Cliché. If it “feels” like cultural appropriation, it’s good enough. No need to actually think it through. If asked, SJW characteristically react with utmost hostility, and say you can educate yourself. Which means that cult followers rationalize the desired conclusion why they deem it wrong.

  22. Posted November 25, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    According to at least one of the photos, some of the students seem to have come costumed as regular young people or college students. How about that! Wild!

  23. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Cultural appropriation! By dressing in such a way they are mocking all… oh, wait…


    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 25, 2016 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      That was of course a reply to Rowena.



    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 26, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Once I worked at a place where someone suggested we all dress in costumes of our ethnic backgrounds. I said 1) I’m already wearing my costume and 2) if you want me to dress as white tease you’re going to violate the dress code. Hahaha! I think I can still get away with that remark but I think it sometimes makes non whites wonder if it’s okay to make that joke.

  24. Merilee
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 7:37 pm | Permalink


  25. Dionigi
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Baseball being a minority sport, in this country, I suppose baseball caps must be outlawed. Not having praries and massive herds of cattle blue jeans are also gone. Japanese can only wear kimonos as western clothes are apeing a minority group in their country. It’s time to put an end to all this PC shit it has already got totally out of hand.

    • Tom
      Posted November 26, 2016 at 12:36 am | Permalink

      Precisely, 3/4 of the worlds population are wearing clothes other than their own “traditional” clothing.
      If someone is determined to be offended they will find cause.

  26. Craw
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    I am a graduate of this University. I am disgusted at the principal’s action. I wish I could say it surprised me.

  27. rickmcwilliams
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    If this comment appears actually posts I will edit it to contribute to the discussion.

    • rickmcwilliams
      Posted November 25, 2016 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, commenting has become extremely unreliable with this Apple computer.

      Communication bandwidth is too low to do any editing. My typing is vastly faster than the computer and website. I give up trying.

  28. Newish Gnu
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    My best Halloween costume ever was going as a Jackson Pollack painting. I painted a white shirt and white pants in the manner of Pollack. As with his paintings, most people didn’t get it.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted November 26, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      You should have gone as the Doppler effect”

      • Newish Gnu
        Posted November 26, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        Thank you! I’ve never watched that show despite lots of people telling I should. I’m beginning to see why.

      • Merilee
        Posted November 26, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        My youngest brother went to a prep school near Ojai, Cal, and when they went into town on fieldtrips on a school bus they would all drive the bus driver nuts by making the Doppler nyaaaaaa sound as they approached RR tracks.

      • Posted November 28, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        This one has always been dear to me, since I think it is the only time I’ve heard of someone (even if fictionally) dressing up as an event, not a thing. (I did work on the metaphysics of events in graduate school.)

        Think of how’d you go as (say) polymerization and you’ll see how odd it really is.

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted November 29, 2016 at 3:25 am | Permalink

          At the very least, you’d need a large group of siblings prepared to hold hands all night, after arriving separately. Or quintuplets could go as pentane; just stick some “H”s onto them. A benzene ring could be like Ring o’ Roses. Sorry, you’ve started me now! Going as nuclear fusion could be fun.

  29. srwb
    Posted November 27, 2016 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Every costume is a stereostype! As usual, what’s lacking in this situation is common sense and a sense of humor. Somebody brought up lederhosen; what about St Patrick’s day, etc.? Does anyone get upset about that cultural appropriation?

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