Every Halloween there’s another controversy where someone—either a celebrity or just some mere mortal—goes viral for dressing up in some kind of racist costume. And yet, it keeps happening. You’d think that in the year of our lord 2018 people would have gotten the message that things like blackface or cultural appropriation are no longer acceptable. (I’m old enough to remember when Ted Danson caught flack for dressing in blackface at the roast of Whoopi Goldberg, and that was 25 years ago.) This year, some elementary school teachers in Middleton, Idaho decided to take the “bold” step of offending Mexicans with their disastrous costume choice, and it seems we can thank Trump’s pathetic attempts to normalize racism for their choice.
Several elementary school teachers in Middleton, Idaho decided it would be a hoot to show up to school dressed as “Mexicans” and “Trump’s border wall” for Halloween. Some of them wore sombreros, stereotypical “Mexican” mustaches, “fiesta-style” serapes, and carried maracas. As though that wasn’t clear enough, one teacher even featured the word “Mexican” on her sombrero. (Thanks, I think we got it!)
Another group of teachers dressed as portions of Trump’s border wall, emblazoned with the slogan “Make America Great Again!” I’m not sure if the school in question has any Hispanic students, but it really doesn’t matter either. Sending the message to children that “exotic” minorities are totally fine to mock with your Halloween costume is wrong, regardless. It’s worth noting that Trump’s name has become a popular thing for bigoted school children to chant when they’re bullying minority students.
The school district’s superintendent, Dr. Josh Middleton, responded to the racist costume controversy in a Facebook video and issued his “sincerest and deepest apologies.”
“I was shown those photos and [was] deeply troubled by the decision by our staff members to wear those costumes that are clearly insensitive and inappropriate,” Middleton said. “Do I think there was a malicious intent in this poor decision? No, I don’t. Was there a poor judgment involved? Absolutely.”
Of course, it’s not really a question of how they intended for their racist costumes to be received. This is bigotry, full stop, and they should face repercussions.
“We are better than this. We embrace all students,” Middleton went on to say. “We have a responsibility to teach and reach all students, period.”
To that I’ll just add that they also have the responsibility to teach students that racism like this is wrong. It’s 2018, let’s all act like it.
h/t: Huffington Post