On Thursday, when you are picking out your Halloween costume, remember that the internet doesn't forget.
Your boss will be able to see you the next morning on Facebook taking jello shots as Miley Cyrus. Your friends will mock your choice to become one of the "What Does the Fox Say?” guys long after Halloween is over. And if your costume is offensive? Your face could end up plastered all over the web.
Here's a tip: If you have to ask yourself if your costume is racist, it is probably racist. Here are five examples of what not to dress up as during Halloween.
There is nothing wrong with dressing up like your favorite NBA player. Just never, ever do it in blackface. (Note: It is never acceptable to dress like anybody in blackface). Even worse: The Utah Jazz retweeted a picture of the offensively dressed fan on its official Twitter feed before quickly removing it.
We apologize for the last retweet/tweet moments ago, we have taken it down as it may be insensitive.— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) October 27, 2013
Bloody Asiana Airlines Pilots
A 16-year-old girl and two of her classmates died when an Asiana Airlines jetliner crashed at San Francisco International Airport in July. More than 180 passengers were injured. It will always be "too soon" to make this disaster into a Halloween costume. Their racist name tags only made things worse.
Osama bin Laden
Yes, you could buy this costume — officially labeled "Adult Mens Osama Bin Laden Middle East Costume Turban + Beard" — from Walmart, Amazon, and Sears, at least before they received a letter from the Sikh Coalition complaining that "negative stereotypes about turbans and beards that have led to violence and discrimination against Sikhs and other minorities."
Looking to buy a racially insensitive Halloween costume along with your leather sectional? Then the Pottery Barn is your place — or was, before it received a letter from an Asian-American advocacy group stating, "Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are real people who cannot and should not be commodified as costumes." Apparently shoppers were offended, too. Before it was pulled, the costume's price dropped from $39 to just $9.99.
George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin
These Florida residents were vilified by the internet when this photo was uncovered by the Smoking Gun — and rightfully so. One man, identified as William Filene, 25, donned blackface and a bloody hoodie, and pretended to be Trayvon Martin. Another young man, identified as Greg Cimeno, 22, wore a shirt that read "Neighborhood Watch." And the third person involved, Caitlin Cimeno, posted a photo of the scene on Facebook. Good luck finding a job, guys.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Here comes the Pentagon's newest space plane
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Extreme haunted houses: Inside Halloween's most terrifying new trend
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- Let us now praise Billy Joel
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- 10 things you need to know today: October 25, 2014
Subscribe to the Week