Letter to the Editor: Thoughtless, Appropriative Halloween Costumes Are Offensive to Others

Dear Members of the Emory Community,

Robust open expression and respect are hallmarks of a healthy intellectual community. As community members prepare for Halloween festivities, we remind you of the messages costumes may send others.

“My culture is not a costume” is a slogan popular on social media. This expression reminds us not to be disparaging in our choice of garb. We must consider whether our attire might be offensive to others’ culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, veteran status, race, ability or country of origin. Recent discrimination on campus and an unfortunate incident within the past few years in which Caucasian students wore blackface as part of their costumes create a context that challenges us to higher standards of conduct and regard for others.

Our superheroes, vampires, pirates and pumpkins should be joyful expressions of our personalities, not a disparagement of others or their cultures.

Our doors are open. If we can help, please reach out to us.


Matt Cone, Campus Life Communications
Matt Garrett, Student Leadership and  Community Engagement
Marlon Gibson, Student Conduct
Scott Rausch, Residence Life
Michael Shutt, Diversity and Inclusion
Melissa Wade, Barkley Forum
Andy Wilson, Campus Life Central
Heather Zesiger, Health Promotion