A little post-Halloween nausea...
... and I'm NOT referring to a hangover (I was so busy with schoolwork I didn't get to a single Halloween party this year). I just wish I had seen this article about some racist Halloween masks in time to post it before the holiday. The article comes courtesy of tolerance.org, and includes an interactive historical presentation about racist Halloween costumes like "The Chinese Man Kit" or blackface costumes.
But the main article refers not to racist masks of yesteryear but to brandnew Halloween products such as Disguise's "Kung Fool" (a squinty-eyed bucktoothed Asian stereotype sold at stores like Wal-Mart) or the "Vato Loco" mask, a Latino stereotype sold by Fright Catalog right next to werewolves and goblins. The company owner's defenses speak for themselves. Disguise defended itself from criticisms of "Kung Fool" with the following:
A spokesperson for the company, headquartered in Poway, Cal., said the mask was the result of a brainstorming process that included some Asian Americans and was intended to be a comedic parody of a Kung Fu karate character.
This sounds a lot like Abercrombie & Fitch's "hey, we asked a few Asian-American guys around the office" defense of the racist T-shirts they produced last year until protest pulled them off the shelves. But Fright Catalog goes a step further--their defense is that the "Vato Loco" masks were produced by Mexican factory workers (who they claim would have complained if the masks were racist?!):
"I would like to apologize to anyone that feels the mask is racist," Arvanigian first posted. "Our company is not racist in any way and we do not condone any type of hateful actions… In fact, the item is manufactured in Mexico, by a labor force mostly made up of Latinos. They did not have a problem with it when it was manufactured." Arvanigian stated his company had received only two e-mails from customers claiming to be offended. That, he said, "hardly represents the entire Latino community." Arvanigian later threatened to put "Vato Loco" on next year’s cover of Fright Catalog, according to a news article published at GrandeMesa.com.
So, yeah, happy post-Halloween everyone.