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Where Is The Line Between Cultural Appropriation And Appreciation On Halloween?


The concept of cultural appropriation has been argued over in academia and more explosively on the Internet in recent years, surrounded by tricky topics like political correctness, artistic interpretation and identity politics.

Celebrated on October 31, the fun-loving Western-based holiday called Halloween sparks conversations around costumes and appropriate forms of "dressing up."

This month, NBC television host Megyn Kelly faced backlash after her on-air comments about using blackface Halloween costumes. The network decided Friday to take Kelly off the Today show.

Children, who get the most of out the holiday, are also tied in with debates about whether characters – like Polynesian Disney princess Moana or Marvel superhero Black Panther – are fair game when selecting a costume. 

How does the commodification of Halloween play into American culture? Are there legal implications behind imitating another group's background and identity?

Is borrowing ideas an inevitable part of how popular culture evolves or an aspect of society we could be more sensitive to?

What does cultural appropriation look like to you? What do you consider going "too far"?


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Jan Ross Piedad Sakian is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.