The Runner Staff
The Runner editorial staff believes that Halloween costumes that appropriate other cultures can be offensive; however, freedom of expression should never be hindered, especially on university campuses. Open discussion should always be admired.
According to an article by Fox News on Oct. 23, Goucher College in Maryland, University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, UC Santa Barbara, and many others have issued guides or held events expressing concerns about students wearing costumes that may offend different cultures.
CSU Bakersfield has not taken a specific stance on Halloween costumes and most students, when asked about cultural appropriation regarding costumes, had neutral opinions. However, it seems from past experiences, if there was an issue, students and faculty would remain respectful of one another.
Last year after President Trump was elected, there were students who protested and made disparaging signs against Trump. Yet these actions never resulted in violence or a mob.
Nicholas Christakis is a dean at Yale University who was admonished by a mob of Yale students in 2015 for the stance he took on cultural appropriation in Halloween costumes.
He spoke with Sam Harris about his thoughts on freedom of expression on the Oct. 8 podcast episode of, “Waking Up.”
“It’s not necessary to set out to cause needless offense. I think in a free society we have to tolerate offense, but it’s not like I’m interested in deliberately offending people,” he said.
Christakis understands that respect and political correctness are at the center of a civilized society, but that does not mean the world should be mandated like George Orwell’s “1984” with strict guides on how to act or dress.
Christakis and Harris agreed that although both issues at hand had merit, it was clear that Christakis wanted a discussion while the students did not.
It seems that Halloween on university campuses is becoming a time of censorship. George F. Will of the Washington Post said in his commentary about the Yale incident, “On campuses so saturated with progressivism that they celebrate diversity in everything but thought, every day is a snow day: There are perishable snowflakes everywhere.”
Halloween costumes have not become an issue on our CSUB campus, and hopefully they never will. Being offensive should never be condoned, but freedom of expression should be upheld.