Political Halloween costumes are all the rage this year. So it’s no wonder that with racial tensions at a fever pitch in America, some people of color have decided to get a little more creative than usual with their get-ups.
Case in point: the White privilege costume, which requires just two items – white makeup and a White privilege sign to let unwitting trick-or-treaters know what they’re looking at. The apparent trend went viral this year when a pair of Black men covered their faces with White makeup and donned “Make America Great Again” hats recently at The University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, as shown on the Facebook page of James Underwood. He appeared with a person identified as Zakery Davis, and both were reportedly students at the college in St. Paul.
The post had been shared more than 5,500 times with more 1,600 likes as of Monday afternoon. Obligatory outrage ensued in the comments section. The costumes were both similar to and a far cry from the usual Blackface sported by White folks who always claim ignorance about the negative racial connotations associated with the look.
A quick search across the internet showed that there were others wearing similar costumes this year and last.
While the men in White privilege Halloween costumes in Minnesota deserve to be mentioned, last year’s offerings seem to have this year’s beat. Who could forget this OG one?
This one was a bit more involved, with multiple signs to identify what the costume really was.
Nick Cannon in 2014 also got in on the act – literally: He said it was for a role.
We also can’t forget about the seminal Wayans Brothers movie, “White Chicks,” either.
It probably doesn’t need to be said, but Whiteface is just not a racial thing beyond the optics. It pales in comparison to Blackface (see what we did there?), which has its origin in America’s sordid, racist history, and was used by White people to entertain other White people while attempting to mimic Black people with exaggerated facial features.