October 19, 2009
Students: Halloween masks are racist
By Meghan Kalkstein
SALEM, Ore. – A Halloween mask is sparking outrage among some Willamette University students.
The students say they first saw a mask they said is depicting an illegal immigrant.
After searching online and in stores, they claim they found a number of other costumes and masks with the same theme.
The students say the mask is de-humanizing and depicts a stereotype that is offensive.
“Some people may think it’s a joke; it’s not,” said Willamette University student Reynaldo Goicochea. “It’s wrong. The migrant people are reminded of their second class status every day, day after day.”
The students said other minorities are targeted too. They’re asking all the stores and Web sites that carry the products to recall them or take them off shelves.
So far, the Lancaster Mall’s Spirit Halloween store has said they have pulled the masks off their shelves.
Source: KATU News
Activists blast ‘illegal alien’ costume
1:04 p.m. CDT, October 19, 2009
Several well-known chain stores have halted sales of an “illegal alien” Halloween costume after complaints from immigrant-rights activists.
The costume includes an orange jumpsuit similar to prison garb, with ILLEGAL ALIEN stamped across the chest, a “green card” and a space alien mask.
Activists began complaining Friday when they learned the costume was being sold in stores or on Web sites of retailers including Target, Walgreen’s and Amazon. The costume was priced between $27.49 and $39.99.
The costume makes a “mockery of the status of millions of immigrants in need of immigration reform,” said Jorge Mujica of Chicago, an activist with the group March 10th Committee.
Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, urged a boycott of stores selling the costume. “When a corporation dehumanizes immigrants, the best thing is to stop buying from it,” he said.
After Target heard from activists it apologized and halted sales of the costume. “It was never our intent to offend the consumers with the products we offer,” a Target statement said.
Walgreen’s spokeswoman Vivika Vergara said the costume was never on sale in its stores and was pulled from its online store. “We received feedback from customers and decided it was best to stop carrying it so it would not be subject to varied interpretation,” she said in an e-mail message.
The maker of the costume, Forum Novelties Inc., based in Melville, New York, could not be reached for comment.
Activists also were offended by a revealing “illegal alien” costume for women that included a mini-dress, sleeveless top and handcuffs.
Activist and Radio Arte host Tania Unzueta called the costume “a mockery.”
She said anyone who sells the costume doesn’t “know a thing about the depression, anguish, pain, frustration and anger that comes from being an undocumented immigrant in the United States.”
Source: Chicago Tribune
From Hispanic Heritage Month to Hateful Halloween
By Maegan la Mamita Mala
Oct. 18, 2009
As a Latina mami, I think I hate September through November more than any other time of the year. Hispanic Heritage Month, Columbus Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving provide way more damn teaching moments than I care to experience and the worst part of it is that I’m not teaching my children, but rather those charged with educating them, why certain things are just plain old fucked up.
So far, with la Mapu, my older daughter, in a new school, I haven’t had to send notes to her teacher or make copies of articles, as I have done in the past, about why it’s wrong to teach what a great guy Columbus was. For Latino Heritage Month, she wrote about Chile and it’s U.S. sponsored 9-11-73 military coup and was praised. I was pleased to hear that there was an actual discussion of how the conquistadors contributed to what amounted to Native American genocide. There was discussion not of the contributions the Europeans brought to the not so new world but rather of the diseases they brought.
Now comes Halloween. Now I love Halloween. It’s always been one of my favorite holidays. With a long family history of good relationships with muertos, it was more about dressing up in fanciful costumes, begging for candy, and decorating the house with carved pumpkins. I don’t ever remember thinking that it was ok for me to dress up as an “Indian Princess”, a stereotypical Mexican (or a Puerto Rican for that matter), and sure it sure as hell wasn’t ok for me to dress up as an “illegal alien”. I was a smurf, a vampire, a poodle skirted 1950’s girl, and a devil. I even wanted to be he-man one year because I was obsessed with He-Man pero that’s another post. My kids have been cats, hot dogs, turtles, pirates, dead punk zombies, mimes, dinosaurs, skeletons and ghosts. As if the racist costumes that have me pretty much boycotting most Halloween shops wasn’t enough, there’s a lack of appropriate tween girl costumes. My 12 year and I, thanks to my mom, have put together a pretty awesome costume but that came after hours of being disgusted by having to treat my daughter like a baby or a slut.
And then it’s only a hop, skip and a jump to thanks for nothing day or as I always used to hear Tiokasin Ghosthorse on WBAI say, “There goes the neighborhood day”.