Geishas, headdresses out as Canadian universities stave off offensive Halloween costumes

Michelle McQuigge, Toronto Star, Oct 24, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

In Canada we have a tradition of dressing in costume on or around Halloween (October 31). Traditionally these costumes were of scary things (such as skeletons, ghosts or monsters) but it has since branched out to include most anything (I once went out as the Empire State Building). We are now beginning to see the limits of 'most anything', and in one noted case, Brock University's student union has prohibited "any form of headdress, costumes that mock suicide or rape, those depicting transgender activist Caitlyn Jenner, or outfits featuring a culture’s traditional attire" at its pubs and events." So of course some people are crying "censorship", as though mocking someone's culture or personal life is somehow a form of free speech. I think the student union's message is clear and reasonable: if you're going to be racist or offensive, don't do it here.


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