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October 30, 2009

"Boo!" In both senses of the word.

Daniel Radosh


From an article about school restrictions on Halloween costumes, to protect children against undue fright and other social negatives:

"This is about staying true to our vision and values, and developmentally appropriate practice, not about being politically correct," Ms. Farrington said, citing her own memo on the topic some years ago. "We're about honoring and promoting diversity, not feeding children images of stereotypes."

I vaguely recall attending college in the waning days of the era when people still talked about being "politically correct" as a virtue. Now the phrase is so thoroughly understood to be disparaging that people must deny they are being politically correct even as they describe their policies with a textbook definition of political correctness.

I don't think I need to tell you my own feelings about restrictions on Halloween costumes. (If you do want in on that conversation, here's a good place for it.) But on a media-critique note, I find it very confusing that while there are a few mentions of these demeaning stereotypes that must be avoided, there are no examples of actual costumes that are forbidden under such rules. Are the costumes considered "too sexy" also banned for gender stereotyping? I'm aware there are racist Halloween costumes out there but couldn't the Times name a couple, or run a photo, as they do with the scary/violent costumes? I seriously wonder whether this was just an oversight or if the paper made an intentional decision not to show them because it wanted to be... well, not politically correct, but, another way of saying that.

Oh, and by the way, the monkey costume checked "yes" in the illustration, should actually be checked no for violating one school's "Shoes must be worn" rule.


""Boo!" In both senses of the word."

Only two senses? In this context, "boo" as exclamation to frighten and "boo" as expression of displeasure I guess?

Ok, except affectionate African-American couples and white hipsters everywhere will be disappointed to learn the word they use to address their paramour is slang too obscure for consideration ... by someone on Sumner Redstone's payroll so it must be true.

Good thing there are no black people here to read this.

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