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October 18, 2010 10:23 AM Subscribe
I got invited to a "racial stereotype" Hallowe'en party. Umm, what?
I don't like this idea but am not sure how to proceed.
posted by anonymous to Society & Culture (53 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A year ago I joined a soccer team that I really like- the players are fun party animals and hanging out with them socially has become a pretty large part of my weekends. Mostly we play pick-up games, drink, and talk about pop culture so I don't know a lot about their political views.
A few people on the team are throwing a Mexican-themed Hallowe'en party. When I first heard about this, it sounded like the theme extended to basically nachos and a pinata- ok, fine, I said I'd go. But now they're sending jokey emails telling all attendees to "dress as funny Mexican stereotypes".
They're all white. I'm Korean-American, so while I'm not personally hurt by Mexican stereotypes, maybe it's easier for me to extrapolate how hurt I'd feel about a "Asian stereotype party", so I just don't think it's cool. Suffice it to say that I'm against this party idea and mildly appalled that they all think it's okay. It's very likely that there won't be any actual Mexican people at this party (there aren't many in our area). I don't think my friends are malicious, and I don't think "these people are racist" but I don't like this idea at all.
I don't know what to do. I don't really want to say anything to them, because they obviously don't think it's problematic, so I'd be the lame ethnic person scolding them and it will pretty much make things awkward forever. They've all been friends for years, and I'm the new guy in the group and pretty low on the pecking order (my spot on the team would be the first to go due to senority anyway). I don't need to agree with them all on every point of social justice, I just want to play soccer, and specifically I want to play with them- they're a really fun team. I don't like them quite as much as I did before I heard about this party, but I guess I can get past that. But there's no effing way I'm putting on a "Mexican costume", and there's no way I can hang out with people who are, so I can't go to this party, either. Do I say nothing and just not attend, even though I said I would? I guess I could do that, but then I'd feel guilty for not saying something.
My question is twofold.
People who have been in my position in similar situations (made uncomfortable about a racially-problematic/homophobic/whatever thing that your friends are thoughtlessly doing), do you have any advice or real-life examples that might help me choose how I should, or should not, proceed?
People who have been my soccer team in this kind of situations (casually doing something that you hope is funny but that is actually offending your friend of a different race/sexual-orientation/whatever), what would you hope your friend would do? Would you want to know that your friend felt bad about your funny idea? If so, any tips on how the friend could broach the subject without making you feel attacked or defensive?