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“We’re a Culture, Not a Costume” is a poster ad campaign that features students of various ethnicities holding photos of people dressed in Halloween costumes that could be perceived as culturally insensitive. The campaign inspired a series of photoshop parodies depicting animals and fictional characters with photos of people wearing their respective Halloween costumes.
In late October of 2011, a student organization at Ohio University named “Students Teaching Against Racism in Society” (STARS) launched a campaign to raise awareness about racially insensitive Halloween costumes. On October 21st, the president of the organization posted several images of awareness posters on her Tumblr blog.
On October 24th, the STARS president posted an update about the overwhelming response to the campaign on her Tumblr blog.
We are so proud of all the support but it’s overwhelming; We have less than 10 members in our group. lol We ask that you do not personally email any of the execs or message their personal tumblrs. Thank you guys so much for the love! The purpose was to educate and create dialogue and it did :) We have a meeting with a lawyer on Monday so we can protect our posters and the posters will be all over Ohio University’s campus this week! Again, thanks for the support and have a happy Halloween!
Students Teaching About Racism in Society (STARS) at Ohio University Executive board
Blogs such as Angry Asian Man, The Huffington Post and Disgrasian reported on the campaign increasing its visibility. On Tumblr and 4chan, some users began posting parody images that mocked the posters, igniting a conversation about the campaign’s legitimacy. On October 23rd, YouTuber Amazing Atheist uploaded a video criticizing the posters on October 23rd.
On October 26th, CNN published an article about the controversy surrounding the campaign in an article titled “’We’re a culture, not a costume’ this Halloween.” On October 28th, the Internet humor site Something Awful posted the results from a Photoshop Phriday contest, featuring edited parodies of the poster. On October 31st, compilations of notable examples was posted on the Internet humor site Smosh and Coed Magazine.
The Huffington Post – Student Group Takes A Stand Against Racist Costumes