By Ashton Trumble
Fun. It’s something the Left despises. With the über-fun holiday of Halloween just around the corner, what better way to ruin it than with university campaigns dedicated to “offensive costumes” and student temper tantrums over “cultural appropriation?”
In order to survive in modern higher education, you must not only adopt the fallacious claims of cultural appropriation, but you must also shout those claims from the rooftops. This is especially true on Halloween, as there are zero costumes that are safe from Social Justice scrutiny. The indignant Northern Arizona University student’s war cry, “It’s a culture, not a costume!” has been applied to everything from a skimpy Tomahawk outfit to the old-fashioned ghost sheet. (It’s offensive because it sort-of looks like a Ku Klux Klan robe, obviously).
Northern Arizona University isn’t alone in its dedication to fighting the imaginary “harmful” issue of cultural appropriation. According to National Review, the “Social Justice Peer Educators Group” at Washington State University recently started a poster campaign titled “We’re a Culture, Not a Costume.” Likewise, the University of Southern Indiana is holding an event titled “Culture Not Costumes,” in which the school plans to “quiz” students on their “evaluation of cultural awareness.” (Doesn’t that sound exciting.) Minnesota State will hold a panel discussion: “Not Your Festival Wear: Fashion and Cultural Appropriation.” The “Vanderbilt Feminists” are gearing up for a panel of their own, while Princeton is holding a “Conversation Circle” to “engage in a dialogue about the impact of cultural appropriation, Halloween, and why culture is not a costume.”
Consider this: The mere notion of cultural appropriation is flawed because it assumes the idea of a purely original culture. This, a purely original culture, does not exist. Cultures evolve over time, influence one another, and are malleable. In fact, for this reason it is impossible to seek the pluralistic cultural relativism that Social Justice Warriors so desperately crave while simultaneously holding that cultural appropriation exists and is wrong. However, it’s no shock that students don’t know this, considering that less than one-third of universities in the United States require history majors to take even a single course in American history.
Culturally offensive Halloween costumes are only a microcosm of the behemoth that is “Social Justice and Fairness” on university campuses. That, however, is not where the real damage lies in the fuss over “cultural appropriation.” The real loss is in the distraction it causes.
I have speculated before as to why these virtue-signaling campaigns on universities get so much attention. In large part, it is because students know it is easier for them to spend their time protesting and opining on some random social issue than studying math and science. In other words: Education and genuine study-time are sacrifices of Social Justice missions on universities. As the university skews its purpose from an institution of education to a nucleus of social outrage, so does the student change his identity from a scholar to a social activist. Now that’s offensive.