Halloween-costume fracas spreads to my university

November 18, 2015 • 1:00 pm

Well, Halloween is long gone, but the issue of costumes, of cultural appropriation and of offense continues, and is now a big topic in the student newspaper, The Chicago Maroon. A new article, “Apology sparks discussion on role of admin in Halloween costumes,” describes what happens when one student (yes, a single student) wore a Halloween costume meant to resemble a “cholo”. Not knowing what a cholo is, I looked it up and found this:

From Urban Dictionary:

A cholo is term implying a Hispanic male that typically dresses in chinos (khahki pants), a wifebeater sleeveless teeshirt or a flannel shirt with only the top buttoned, a hairnet, or with a bandana around the forehead, usually halfway down over the eyes. Cholos often have black ink tattoos, commonly involving Catholic imagery, or calligraphy messages or family names.

Cholos often drive low riders.

A farcical example of a cholo from the movies is Cheech, from Cheech and Chong.
A first year student named as Parker Groves dressed as a cholo for Halloween, attending a University student function:

On October 30, the Council on University Programming (COUP) held “Boos n’ Ribs,” a Halloween-themed version of its annual live music and food festival, in Ida Noyes Hall. The event also featured a costume contest. Groves, who said that a friend asked him if he wanted to go to Boos n’ Ribs right before it started, hastily chose to wear a bandanna and a plaid shirt, with only the top button buttoned.

He said that the design was inspired by Stand and Deliver, a 1988 drama film about Hispanic high school students in Los Angeles who overcome disadvantaged backgrounds to learn advanced mathematics. Groves, who identifies as White, added that he did not know that the costume would offend; prior to coming to college, he had worked at a Taco Bell near his hometown in Colorado, where he said that the “cholo” stereotype was a common joke in a work environment where many of his co-workers were Hispanic.

“About talking about ‘cholos’ and gang life, it was always kind of a joke with them, between me and them. So I wasn’t aware of the offensive nature that could have. In retrospect, I should have known better. But at the time, I was only acting on what I knew, which was that a number of individuals joked around about stuff like that,” Groves said.

I presume Groves looked like this:
 Despite his background and experience with the notion of cholos, Parker was subject to a shaming campaign and was forced to apologize. A student named Vincente Perez, who was offended by a similar Halloween costumes last year,

At 5:21 p.m., COUP uploaded that photo, along with photos of other entrants into the costume contest, to the Boos n’ Ribs Facebook page, where viewers could vote for the costumes that they liked best. That night, Perez said that he saw the picture online, but hesitated before commenting on it.

“I saw the pictures when they were posted. At the time, I dropped the issue, because I didn’t want to be personally attacked. But other people messaged me and said ‘I can’t deal with this,’ and another friend of mine started sharing the photo, so I eventually commented,” Perez said.

COUP has since removed the photo from the Boos n’ Ribs page. Perez said this was a misstep in addressing the issue, which was that he considered the photo to be an affront to his identity.

“It’s not just that it’s offensive to me; that’s what people don’t get. I’m hurt because that’s part of my ethnic identity. It erases the prevalence of police brutality and the labeling of Latinos as criminal,” Perez said.

Well, one can argue whether the cholo costume was offensive (after all, not all of them are criminals!), and whether it even speaks to police brutality. If I had to wear a costume, I wouldn’t wear that one! But it’s harder to argue that these costumes should be banned, or that the University of Chicago should take a stand about which costumes are appropriate and which are offensive. Nevertheless, both Perez and the shamed student Groves agree on the need for University action:

Both Groves and Perez said that they would support increased University involvement in identifying culturally appropriative costumes in advance of next Halloween. Groves said that he would support a message or e-mail from the University with examples of unacceptable costumes in order to inform the student body; Perez said that he wants the administration to actively condemn instances in which students wear unacceptable costumes.

“It’s a tricky issue, but the University has to take a more staunch stance against appropriative costumes. It has happened every year since I’ve been here. President Zimmer talks about the balance between free speech and civil behavior…but when the University says nothing, it makes activists look like the only people who take issue with the costumes.”

The University of Chicago policy on freedom of expression, which is great—and a model for the policies of other universities—has said everything that needs to be said about this:

In a word, the University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed. It is for the individual members of the University community, not for the University as an institution, to make those judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose. Indeed, fostering the ability of members of the University community to engage in such debate and deliberation in an effective and responsible manner is an essential part of the University’s educational mission.

In other words, the University of Chicago will not intervene in this case. Although I don’t want an atmosphere of racism and intolerance on this campus, I also don’t want students to run crying to the University, demanding that its administrators “take a staunch stance” and get involved in determining whether costumes are appropriate or offensive. They can protest, as Perez did, but he clearly wants his Academic Parents to produce guidelines. That’s not going to happen.


138 thoughts on “Halloween-costume fracas spreads to my university

  1. I wonder if it would have been okay if he had claimed to be Cheech’s character in every Cheech & Chong movie? Is there a “second-hand” loophole for cultural appropriation through specific characters in media?

    1. If appearance in the media is seen as indirect validation of cultural appropriation then the Grand Theft Auto video games have most cultures covered….

  2. Holy Ceiling Cat, these “kids” are not 7 years old. Get over it!! I don’t remember Halloween being a big deal in any guise for me beyond about 10 years old.

    1. Ugh. I’ve witnessed managers escalating all the way to the top continually. It seems that is the new normal – don’t try to solve issues with your peers, escalate and do it right to the top because “wah, I’m telling!”

  3. This recent college-free-speech kerfuffle has been fascinating for me; I’m about as bleeding heart as you can get, especially where matters of race are concerned, but for the exact same reasons, I am staunchly for robust free speech. I think our host here has the right idea. The costume is in bad taste, but the proper response is for friends and peers to tell the guy: “dude, not cool.” Laws, regulations. and even campus rules are blunt instruments which are not only bad at changing attitudes, but tend to create blowback. I am all for saying “hey, that’s offensive!” but not for passing laws or rules which say “don’t offend me.”

    1. Yes, I agree!

      However, I’m also slightly troubled by this.
      1. The student clearly didn’t hold any cultural stereotypes himself.
      2. These are young adults who can surely distinguish between a costume and reality.
      3. Isn’t mocking stereotypes a way of breaking them down?

      I don’t know whether any of these points is valid. I just know that a Cholo costume wouldn’t create any assumptions about Hispanics in my mind.

      1. In essence your points have neatly summed up why I think the best outcome here would have been someone approaching our costumed subject and saying “Parker, I don’t think that’s a cool costume, and here’s why….” And I’d just say there’s a fine line between mocking a stereotype and reveling in it — and it’s a line that might not always be visible to an outside observer.

        1. I do really like that approach.

          BTW, I’ve been meaning to say how much I like your name. In other fora, I’ve called myself Aelgifu from time to time. 🙂

  4. I really don’t get this whole costume offense nonsense.

    Would it be offensive to Germans for a Chinese student to dress up in lederhosen and pretend to be a beer hall musician? If not, why should it be offensive to Mexicans for a Lebanese student to dress up in Mariachi garb?

    Seems that people don’t get the point of Halloween. It’s an excuse to put on somebody else’s skin for a night. Might be somebody you admire, might be somebody you fear, might even be a bit of both. Being insulted by choice of costume is…bizarrely incomprehensibly stupid.

    And, yes. You should be able to wear a Nazi SS costume on Halloween. What could be more terrifying, and isn’t that the whole point? And if a Nazi SS costume, why not gangbanger colors or a mujahadeen’s DAESH flag?


    1. So, as I mentioned above, I am very bleeding-heart-ish, and I’ll try to give some rationale. First of all, for me, the “cholo” costume related in the story is different from a mariachi costume; one is self-consciously a costume, the other is (ostensibly, at least) a wider cultural signifier. I react much more negatively to the ‘cholo’ idea. And the problem is that Halloween, as silly as it is, is not divorced from a wider cultural context. I might have objected to Halloween lederhosen at a different time, but as for right now when you have the leading Republican presidential candidate referring to something called “Operation Wetback” in support of the forced removal of something on the order of 10 million people, the ‘cholo’ costume strikes a nerve. This may seem as though I am asking in bad faith, but I am honestly curious: do you think blackface should be considered “just another costume” on Halloween? For me, it is too tainted by its history for that (although, in theory, that might change in time). Either way, as they say, reasonable minds may differ.

      1. Your analysis is spot on. A “cholo” costume is not a stereotypical image for a mexican, certainly not equivalent to a Mariachi cortume, of which mexicans are very proud. “Cholos” are exclusive to the US-Mexico border, and dressing as a “cholo” fits with Trump’s narrative of mexicans as “criminals and rapists”.

          1. So, when I wore a Mariachi uniform for all those concerts I played with Mariachi Diablos del Sol many years ago, was I giving offense? Inappropriately appropriating Hispanic culture? Or was it not as bad since I was getting college credit for it? Maybe only the side gigs were offensive?


          2. any pics?

            Speaking of mariachis, The Royal Canadian Air Farce radio show had a hilarious skit about 30 years ago about a guy calling the exterminators because he had mariachis in the basement. You hear silence, then a door opening – mariachi music- then closing, and silence. Yup, mariachis, the guy says. Can’t remember how they dealt with it. Kinda like sheep in the wainscotting, I presume.

          3. If there’re pictures, I sure don’t know about ’em. This was decades ago, long before the ubiquity of cellphones, let alone ones with cameras.


      2. This may seem as though I am asking in bad faith, but I am honestly curious: do you think blackface should be considered “just another costume” on Halloween?

        I think Halloween is the perfect time for a blackface costume.

        Imagine the person wearing it, when challenged, answering, “Halloween is the time when we dress up as the evil spirits in order to confuse them so they can’t harm us. I’m not sure I can think of a more frightening evil spirit than that of my ancestors who wore blackface. Can you? Ghosts, skeletons, Darth Vader…they’ve got nothing on blackface, which is why I chose it over all the other much less scary costumes.”

        And if the response were, instead, “‘Cuz dem niggaz is funny as shit,” then you know exactly what type of person is inside of the costume, and that it isn’t really much of a disguise after all.


        1. One of the best costumes I saw in Boulder, mid-80’s mall crawl was a person who dressed & painted every skin surface jet black. This was not as a Black person caricature, however. The person did have a snappy jet black hat, big brimmed, so it cast his face in further shadow. As he approached, his victims would search the shadows, trying to see what was going on… what he “was”. That was the moment he’d trigger the tiny red LEDs dangling in front of his eyes for the briefest moment, widening the mouth filled with black teeth. Simple, yet really, really freaky. Almost always elicited a shriek.

      1. I certainly understand the humor of your comment (pretty sure I was a ninja once too!). But does it make sense when I say it might have been troubling had you been born in 1937?

        1. No, not really.
          Why is a child dressed as a ninja more offensive than a child dressed as a cowboy? Such a costume not mocking Japanese people or culture, it is inspired by a legendary character type.

          1. Sure. But as I say, these things are not insulated from wider events. In 1944, Japanese-Americans were being deprived of their rights without due process based entirely on their ethnic heritage. The same could not have been said about cowboys. Again, reasonable minds can differ, and I didn’t say it definitely would have been problematic–just that there would have been different forces in play.

          2. Is it alright for a Caucasian female to dress in a kimono?

            (Gene Roddenberry’s wife, Majel Barrett, did so dress at their wedding. I think he also dressed in complementary sartorial splendor.)

            Also, for Halloween, what if I, white, don a a costume a basketball uniform, with a placard on my chest saying, “I can’t jump”?

      2. My sons have both been ninjas and cowboys.

        This year one went as crusader with a huge cross on his chest. He also had a mask that made him look like a skeleton death warrior. With or without the mask the costume made some people uncomfortable – reminding them of the brutality of forced faith. I loved it.

        No costume is off limits for Halloween…that’s the point: fear or respect or a little of both.

        Halloween remains my favorite holiday, except the candy is better during easter.

    2. We’ve seen people dressed as Nazi SS officers (Prince Harry, for example). But what about dressing in a costume based on stereotypical depictions of jews, for example. Let’s say a costume based on a caricature from Der Stürmer. Would that costume get the point of Halloween?

      1. Why wouldn’t it?

        That’s the whole point of Halloween: nothing is inappropriate.

        One time at ASU, a professor dressed as a rubber tree. As in, branches and leaves and that sort of thing…and condoms hanging from strings from the branches. Something tells me there’s little chance he could get away with something like that today; too many snowflakes would take too much offense.


          1. I also loathe and detest puritans. I think they’re a particularly obnoxious subspecies of fascists.

            In theory, snowflakes should be different – delicate little flowers who can’t take the slightest adversity. Whereas puritans are aggressive, hard-nosed thugs secure in their righteousness.

            But in practice, as you’ve noticed, many snowflakes are just puritans in sheeps clothing.


    3. > Would it be offensive to Germans for a Chinese student to dress up in lederhosen and pretend to be a beer hall musician?

      An Indonesian friend of mine bought his daughter a Bavarian Dirndl dress. She looked amazing. What a shame, now my consciousness has been raised, I have to publicly call her out for appropriating my culture.

        1. Then let me mush it up some more: Those dresses have their own hanky code, the position of the apron’s knot designating the woman’s state of relationship …

          1. I realized after I’d posted that comment that it was completely unclear and open to a multitude of interpretations. I should have said I know what a Dirndl is, and I am a fan. So much of a fan that the mere mention of the word makes me incoherent. As I proved, obviously.

          2. Thanks! I never comment about such matters on the internet, but I guess I was caught at a moment of weakness… When people say Germans have no sense of humor, I say, who cares, they invented the Dirndl!

          3. “Those dresses have their own hanky code, the position of the apron’s knot designating the woman’s state of relationship . . . .”

            Just curious, does the type of knot vary? Some are more susceptible to “yanky” than others, possibly facilitating and expediting hanky-panky. 😉

        1. Well the Allies bombed the shit out of them in 1945. So they have definitely been oppressed at some time.

          I think the real point is that *everybody* can claim that their ancestors were oppressed, if they’re sufficiently paranoid to want to do so. So just about every possible costume represents either an oppressor, or an oppressee, or a cultural appropriation. So every possible costume is potentially offensive to some snowflake.

          In reality I think most Bavarians just wouldn’t care.


          1. Sounds confusing.

            Perhaps there should be some kind of scoreboard to keep us all up-to-date on who is oppressing whom and which which direction is up for the purposes of punching. It could be updated as conditions change. They could report it with the news… “Nuns massacred in South America, until further notice mocking nuns is officially punching down”. And then when nuns are caught selling children into sex slavery they can update it so we all know that it’s now OK to mock them again.

    4. “…bizarrely incomprehensibly stupid.”

      That’s pretty much the beginning, the middle, and the end of this story.

  5. Personally, I find the whole business totally absurd.

    What’s next – that one can’t go to a fancy dress party dressed as a Vulcan, or a Klingon, or whatever, unless one really is from that fictional planet? A bit hard to achieve.

    It’s *fancy dress*, kiddies – it doesn’t mean anything! There should be *no* unacceptable costumes.

  6. As a follower of the great Black Beard The Pirate, I am offended as well. The guy looks like a pirate to me.

  7. I think the only answer to this problem is for all students who might possibly be offended – and this should inlude all those who identify as white – to convene and create an exhaustive list of ALL costumes that might possibly be offensive to anyone. And then police it.

      1. +10

        Best comment. Of course, we all thought that poison candy and child rapists were going to ruin Halloween but, Surprise!, it’s f’n college kids Now there is a plot twist.

    1. You just made me think of a great costume for next Halloween… a nerdy, privileged college-aged SJW walking around with a clipboard, being completely obnoxious to absolutely everyone… scribbling out infractions on a (humorous, of course) pre-printed form — criticizing, nitpicking and deconstructing the costume choices until nothing seems funny anymore. It might backfire, though.

        1. I woke up thinking the costume should consist of Millennial-type upper garb, with lots of pockets to hold pre-printed tablets and pens. But instead of pants, just wear a HUGE diaper with giant sparkly bobby pin and grossly over-sized baby booties with poofy balls on the end.

          It would all hinge on committing to character… playing it deadly serious… sizing up the victim up and down and pulling out a tablet. (tablet has pseudo legalese on it with a fictional University and thumbprints of a Dean and an administrator of student affairs). The deadly serious patter will include truly withering comments, always starting with “Hmmm. OK… So what are you SUPPOSED to be, huh?”

          If the victim manages to out-patter and out-wither you, your aspect changes abruptly from deadly-but-whiny serious to loud bawling… a high-pitched baby crying and gasping for air… written “ticket” handed out, tablet put back in one pocket… bottle comes out of other pocket and inserted in mouth while disengaging, spinning around and quickly waddling away covering the ears.

      1. It can’t backfire. Either they get the joke and laugh with you and it’s a great costume. Or they don’t and make a stink in which case you laugh at them. Win win.

  8. Precisely, Ben. In my book, if someone can point you out by your costume and say what you “are”, it is a success. The more over-the-top, the better… especially if one is either ridiculously stereotypical or 180-degrees the opposite in one’s speech or behavior. Like a Talmudic-scholarly SS officer or a modest rapper in a Viking hat. There’s supposed to be a level of trust in these things — that such garb/behavior is not intended to “oppress”, but to be so absurd or shocking as to be laughable.

  9. If I were Pérez, I’d be more offended by the fact that Stein couldn’t even be bothered to spell my name correctly. But of course that assumes that Pérez knows how to spell his own name…

    1. Yes. It is a widely-used term in the States for an instantly recognizable manner of garb typically worn by males of a sub-class that are, in fact, prone to domestic violence. Such persons are known to crumple their Pabst Blue Ribbon empties and throw them at the TV screen whenever Obama makes an announcement.

      As much as we’d like to pretend otherwise, these people do exist. A couple examples – this one from a comedy site, and this one, which, if pulled off completely in-character on Halloween, just might get one arrested in the wrong situations. (or really trigger someone for realz)

      1. I see that second one is wearing an Apple shirt. Which just confirms my view of stereotypical Apple users… (waits for the howls of protest)



          1. Is that piss? I thought it was beer. (Not a lot of difference).

            What puzzles me is why any Apple user (who I imagine as trendy fashion-conscious sophisticates) would ever buy a wifebeater shirt?

            (In NZ such shirts are known as ‘singlets’ and are exclusively worn by farmers while doing bucolic farmy things. I hate the style, I’ll have to see if I can’t popularise the term ‘wifebeater’ here).


          2. American “premium” beer. (same thing). I’m not of the context of that photo, but imagine it might have something to do with typical customer relations around here. It might be one of their “geniuses”.

          3. You mean, jailbreak your iphone and this guy will be around to sort you out?



      1. In Scotland that’s a “semmit”. I’m wearing one now, under my shirt. and will continue to do so until next spring – “Ne’er cast a cloot till may* be oot”.

        *The blossom of the hawthorn, not the month.

  10. I am currently working on a Halloween costume in which I expect everyone who sees me will be mildly offended, but unable to say exactly why. It is very difficult to pull off, but the reactions will be absolutely worth it.

  11. Funny thing is, I first encountered this particular fashion as a teenager in the eighties in California, where it was being worn by white supremacist street gang members. It’s also more or less identical to outfits worn by the notorious black gangs of Los Angeles in those days, and it is closely associated with the punk/metal band Suicidal Tendencies. The band has had a mix of black, white and latino members over the years and all of them have sported elements of the “cholo” look. So who “owns” it? I submit that Mr. Perez is trying very hard to be offended.

    1. I was wondering if a Zoot Suit would also be offensive. They are certainly associated with Latino, especially from the late 40’s, but the suits were not exclusive to any group.

  12. It erases the prevalence of police brutality and the labeling of Latinos as criminal

    How does one kid dressing up as a cholo do that?

    I’m also still shaking my head in disbelief at this trend of students asking the university administration to take a more active role in regulating what they wear on halloween. Did someone just take liberalism and reverse its polarity? Am I really seeing the chickens inviting the fox in to keep order? Young people, you’re making all us past generations of university student activists spin in our graves before we’re even dead.

      1. “This trend of students asking the university administration to take a more active role in regulating what they wear on halloween.” Once you start, why limit it to Halloween? Next, they’ll be wanting the administration to regulate what [other] students wear all year around. I’m waiting for Muslim students to say that they’re offended by women in immodest clothing and demand that the university force the hussies to cover up.

      1. Good one Randy – but we must be careful not to give them any ideas! One of the most amazing incidents in the I-am-offended genre recently happened on the CU-Boulder campus. A sociology class decided to organize a protest gathering in support of the Missouri kerfuffle, but met with some serious We-are-offended blow-black. Who was offended? The Black Student Union since the nearly all-white class had not sought input/coordination with the black students. I suppose that part of the problem at CU-B is that there are only 680 black students on a campus of 31,000.


        1. I weep for my alma mater. It wasn’t all that long ago that college students were getting their skulls split open by the cops for opposing the Vietnam War and standing up for civil rights.

          Now protests against racism are being canceled with abject apologies to professional injustice collecting racists (let’s get real here) because they were not given a sufficient heads-up so they could capitalize on some kind of power play ego trip? (as opposed to… say… getting their own shit together & joining forces with the other people on their side?)

          This just keeps getting weirder and weirder.

          1. Stephen – I had very similar thoughts. In our college days, we were protesting the American war in Viet Nam that ultimately claimed over 50,000 US and 2 million Vietnamese lives; we were protesting the killing of college students by our own National Guard; and we were singing about Abraham, Martin and John [and Bobby]. All truly offensive, especially when compared to today’s mostly vacuous protests.

        2. I think the winner in the ridiculous race was this 2008 that FIRE represented.

          In short: a student is seen by another student reading a school library book about how the KKK was successfully fought and eliminated from Notre Dame by pre-civil rights era civil rights activists. The observing student doesn’t think, they just react to the word KKK on the cover and file a complaint. The school then accuses the reader of being a Klansman and of racial harassment (to be clear: against African Americans, not Klansmen) for reading it, and suspended him. It took him months to win the court case.

          That’s right, he got accused of racism and suspended for reading a pro-civil rights book from the University library, merely because “KKK” appeared on the cover.

  13. *sigh* The students apparently want rules and strict guidelines. The idea of thinking for themselves and hashing out their conflicts seems alien to them. Everything has to be right or wrong and black or white etc. When things aren’t that way they seem to be at loss.

  14. It’s been said that imitation is the highest form of flattery. I don’t think that just because a kid dresses up as a Mariachi singer that it automatically means it’s offensive. If you are a big fan of the music then go for it.

  15. Am I the only person who simply doesn’t understand sentences like “It erases the prevalence of police brutality and the labeling of Latinos as criminal”?

    As far as I understand, erasing something makes it no longer exist and prevalence is the measure of how common something is. So the costume makes our knowledge of how widespread police brutality is no longer exist? But it surely doesn’t do that…

    And it either makes the labeling of Latinos as criminal no longer exist – which might be a good thing – or makes our knowledge of the prevalence of such labeling no longer exist – which it surely doesn’t do.

    I wish they would just speak English rather than using their own special language that only they understand, or perhaps nobody really understands. But I suspect if their beliefs were put in plain English they would often show themselves to be ridiculous, nonsensical, or false.

    1. You’re not the only one who noticed the sentence is gibberish.

      You give them too much credit even. None of those words means “knowledge of”. No, erasing the prevalence of police brutality means that police brutality itself becomes less prevalent. Police brutality was prevalent, but now, after the costume, it isn’t prevalent. Who knew that one costume could fix the police problem? And wouldn’t he get an award or something for that?

      I know what the guy was trying to say, but that was a different kind of gibberish.

      1. Ah, the eternal dilemma. When some twit says something daft and they can’t even say it right. Whether to mock their meaning or their expression of it, either way a priceless opportunity is wasted.


  16. ‘ “It’s not just that it’s offensive to me; that’s what people don’t get. I’m hurt because that’s part of my ethnic identity. It erases the prevalence of police brutality and the labeling of Latinos as criminal,” Perez said.’

    So, does anyone ever dress like that?

    Is there any Anglo Halloween sartorial stereotype subject to and worthy of similarly righteous offense?

    1. Well, there is the Caitlyn Jenner costume, which caused a bit of a ruckus. But that’s only incidentally an Anglo costume, it’s mainly a trans-gender costume.

      I think if you dressed as a stereotypical “wife beater” in the wife beater t-shirt you might meet indignation for trivializing domestic violence.

      An interesting question is whether you could get away with dressing as “white trash”. Mocking poor people would be punching down, but these are Anglo poor people, and many of them members of the GOP, so… it’s not clear to me. I’m sure that the term itself, “white trash” would engender some offense, but I don’t know if you didn’t actually write or say the words if it’s possible to mock that stereotypical group in any way that would cause offense. Best as I can tell they are fair game. But who knows? I suppose we’d have to dress up and see.

      I can sort of feel a new movement coming on… older people dressing in various costumes and walking across campuses to bait the college students into offense. Juvenile, of course, but if kids are going to be the puritans, maybe old people can be the juveniles.

  17. I don’t use this phrase very often, but: “Jeezus Kay-rist”!- if these students spent half the mental energy on their studies as they do trying to influence the behavior of everyone around them, we’d have a graduating class of well-educated, talented, professional engineers, scientists, etc. coming out that could be a real benefit to this country.

    If one takes this “PC-frenzy” to its logical conclusion, we’d all be wearing identical jumpsuits like in the book, “1984” with identical haircuts, etc., lest someone’s poor little feelings get hurt.

    The crazy thing about it is, as Groves noted from his previous workplace, is that the cultural and ethnic groups that seem to react so strongly to being, “stereotyped” themselves have no hesitation about joking about these same stereotypes: blacks use the, “N-word” on each other constantly; it’s just that no one ELSE is supposed to be able to do it. In my book, a violent or law-breaking response (as in the thug tactics being used at the University in Mo.) to such perceived, “insults” is no different that that of ISIS threatening to cut out the tongues of anyone who calls them, “Daesh”.

    I love the University’s policy, and I hope they never, “cave in” on it.

    1. we’d have a graduating class of well-educated, talented, professional engineers, scientists

      Something tells me that most of these people are not studying science or engineering.

  18. It’s a freakin fancy dress party, FFS!

    “when the University says nothing, it makes precious SJW snowflakes look like the only people who take issue with the costumes.” There, ftfy.

    “Both Groves and Perez said that they would support increased University involvement in identifying culturally appropriative costumes”

    I *think* they mean ‘culturally appropriate costumes’. Well, good luck with that. Is there *any* conceivable costume that some precious snowflake can’t object to on some half-assed grounds?

    Or maybe they really do mean ‘culturally appropriatIVE’ costumes which, presumably, should not be used. I’m not sure ‘appropriative’ is a word, but I know what it would mean if it is one. If so, who’s going to compile the blacklist? It’s likely to be a long one. I should think the only culturally safe cossie would be stark bollocky naked. But then some snowflake would probably object to that.


    1. Actually, contemplating the throwaway idea in my penultimate sentence, there’s a possible costume right there. Turn up naked except for a sign that says “Culturally acceptable costume. No cultural traditions were misappropriated in the making of this costume”.

      But I wouldn’t have the balls for it.


      1. If I were a Jain monk of the Digambara tradition I could take offence at your cultural appropriation. Although I expect most Jain monks vows of ahisma would protect you from harm by thought or deed.

        1. Totally wrong word.
          complimentary or flattering to an excessive degree.
          “they are almost embarrassingly fulsome in their appreciation”
          synonyms: excessive, extravagant, overdone, immoderate, inordinate, over-appreciative, flattering, adulatory, fawning, unctuous, ingratiating, cloying, saccharine; More

  19. Don’t know if you read further down in that Chicago Maroon link you provided, but it appears that Perez, a self-described comparative race and ethnic studies major, fabricated part of his 2014 Halloween costume complaint to embellish his victimhood and enhance his righteous dudgeon. See the comment by Carter Chen (who witnessed the same traumatic event) here:


    Chen was attacked by people in the remainder of the comment thread for attempting to “derail” the discussion by pointing out Perez’s fabrications. Honesty? Who cares! We have a victim here! Listen to his authentic lived pain!

    One of my many nightmares about the future is imagining what the world will be like when people like Perez (and the others who attacked Chen for exposing his dishonesty) are calling the shots. Makes me glad that I’ll be dead in a few decades.

    1. Yes, I was aware of this controversy. What bothers me about Perez and his defenders is that they don’t really contest the fabrication, but rather day that IT DOESN”T MATTER: that the costume is what matters and even if Perez lied about the details (the laughter on the bus, his “controntation” with the student, and so on), it’s irrelevant. To me, the truth does matter, for the details of the episode are important. This is not the first time that people making such accusations have been caught out, and it’s disturbing that they think it’s irrelevant whether or not they lie about it so long as thing X happened. There should at least be some respect for the truth.

      1. Reading that link to the chicago maroon, there are a reassuring number of commenters who defended Chen’s point, i.e. that Perez’s account was exaggerated and that fact did matter in undermining Perez’s argument. And that included several coloured people.


          1. Surely that should be ‘melanin enhanced’ ?

            (Not sure what melanin incompetent would look like…)


          2. I can’t for the life of me figure out the semantic difference between ‘colored xxx’ and ‘xxx of color’.

            By the way, I’m coloured. A sort of muddy pinkish-yellowish-beige-ish colour, to be precise. At the end of summer bits of me could even charitably be called ‘brown’. I’m certainly not actually white, not even dirty-off-white. (And white is a colour too, of course).

            Just pointing out the daftness of the terminology that PC-ness leads to.

            (Just to clarify, yeah I’m ‘white’ racially speaking. And I get a u in ‘colour’ ‘cos I’m English).


          3. Yep. Absolutely no semantic difference whatsoever. I’m not sure, but it’s all down to something that Pinker *may* have first Coyned as the “euphemism treadmill”. It’s all in the weird, plastic interface between our social dealings and the brain-language machinery that we (very poorly) try to read each others’ minds with. Try explaining that to these petulant crybabies. They are a half decade away from even beginning to remotely, possibly, being able to understand it themselves. And most of them never will, as they are hopelessly ruined by their “training” in post-modern bullshit. I’m sorry… academia is ruined. At least that of the “Arts & Sciences” stripe, which now means sociology with a minor in basket-weaving. (sorry basket-weavers… it’s just an expression).

            Anybody today considering sending their kids to any Ivy League place is simply not paying attention. It is THE worst deal on the market, esp. considering where we all seem to be headed. I’d better stop now.

          4. ‘Euphemism treadmill’ is a good name for it. As soon as a euphemism becomes common usage so everybody uses it all the time, and there is no doubt as to its meaning, it’s necessary to coin another. Which is usually not only vague but frequently ambiguous.

            The lavatory is the example I always think of – not only has it spawned euphemism after euphemism (frequently, for some reason, to do with washing), it has also of course produced an even greater number of slang terms.
            But just in the euphemism line, we have toilet, lavatory, bathroom, washroom, conveniences, restroom, ladies, gents, in fact I’m not sure what the original non-euphemistic term would have been.

            I won’t even start on the slang terms…


          5. CSW is now the appropriate jargon in my field for saying the scientifically-accurate word “prostitute”. Note our rationale for not giving in to these ninnies. Also note that there are still no substantive comments on the main gist of the original article. People were more interested in back-and-forth quibbling on the (non-jargon, widely-understood and scientifically exact) terminology we chose to use. I despair for my field. It’s all just too stupid to take, anymore.

    2. “a self-described comparative race and ethnic studies major”

      Is that even a field of study? I know in the UK we have had higher education go downhill to the point that the universities now offer Mickey Mouse degrees in “subjects” such as ‘golf course management’ and ‘surf studies’ – but really?

      1. As one of the non-PC comments on the article put it, “Why would anyone spend $200,000 on a degree in comparative race and ethnic studies when you could have just started your career as a barista immediately out of high school?”

    3. Wow that comments section is eye opening and well worth the read. I agree with JAC below that it is really disturbing how Perez seems to keep saying that the details don’t matter. Of course they matter. Perez’ story revolves (in part) around the fact that he confronted the costume-wearer and got laughs in response. Yet it appears no confrontation actually happened, so any lesson we are supposed to learn about the pros or cons of confrontation are nullified.

      As I side note, I found this particularly disturbing (from Perez): “If you truly care about standing up to discrimination you could report this incident to the Bias response team….” Wait, does this mean U Chicago has something called a bias response team? Holy Orwell, Batman!

    4. It reminds me of that Heinlein short story ‘The Year of the Jackpot’, where the population keeps getting crazier and crazier…

    5. Interestingly, your link goes to a different article from the one PCC posted. Yours was published Nov. 7, 2014; apparently, Perez had a nearly identical encounter last year. Sounds as if he must go out searching for anything he can possibly deem offensive, then publicizes it.

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