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November 1, 2010 / Megan Taros

Halloween horror story: Too many Mexicans

A young man dressing as a stereotypical Mexican on Halloween.

A man dresses as a Mexican for Halloween, using clearly stereotypical props for added effect. (Photo Amanda Benham/Flickr)

OK, so maybe the title is a little over-the-top. Mexicans are not a horror story, but the fact that so many have used them as a funny prop for Halloween is. Over the years, there have been many blatantly racist costumes ranging from Native American to the “illegal alien” of last year, which was an alien in an orange prison suit touting a green card (a contradiction in itself seeing as how if said alien had a green card, he would not be “illegal”).  This year, however, was no different. While I spotted a wandering alien or two last year, this year I noticed many “Mexicans” walking the streets and found myself severely disappointed in many friends boasting the costume–that being, a huge sombrero and mustache along with a colorful sarape.  This negative focus on Mexicans is obviously derived from the recent SB1070 immigration bill that passed in Arizona. As can be argued, poking fun at prominent characters in the media is a common theme for Halloween party goers and the like–but this is not acceptable. Mexicans, who are facing pressing political issues with regard to tomorrow’s election, are not a silly prop used for political gain–well, maybe they are. With the Mexican people being frowned upon by the right and pitied by the left, it’s no wonder the country has not realized that the Mexican people deserve our respect. The way the media depicts Mexicans turns them into a group of faceless brown people, who are met with such extremist viewpoints that it’s almost difficult not to think it’s a joke. However, all the blame cannot be placed on political candidates or media–after all, in a country that boasts equality, there should be a certain standard of not mocking a whole race of people. The fact that current legislation and the topic of illegal immigration (and even erasing the term “illegal” altogether) is humorous to some is troubling. It proves that Mexicans are not recognized as acceptable members of society–or even human. Parading around in a vision of stereotypes and slurs demeans the people one is trying to impersonate and shows they are nothing but a pile of clothes and ridiculous items (in this case, a bottle of tequila or a burro). It’s time that the media and those in power take initiative to empower Latinos instead of pandering them. It’s time for the people to question further and think critically about those Halloween takes as a joke because this is no laughing matter. When hundreds live below minimum wage to feed a corporate machine, it is just not OK to take it with a grain of salt.

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