Julianne Hough controversy sparks discussion about racially appropriate costumes

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 30 2013 5:50 p.m. MDT

"I never get offended by anything," he said. "I feel like a lot of times when people dress up, they show tribute or to honor someone. I think it's the purpose behind why you do it, and I think that's why people get offended."

But one student said the gray area for acceptable costumes really isn't that gray.

Muhammad Zakri said any costume that makes fun of any religion or race is offensive.

"Yeah, (Halloween) is just one night, but you still have to deal with other people around you," Zakri said. "It's about having a good time, but on the other hand, you don't want to offend certain people."

Martinez said the phenomenon is a generational one, and the best way to combat the situation is to teach children about social issues at a younger age. She said the costumes trending this year of Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman are appalling.

“There’s such a deep level of ignorance in these young people,” Martinez said. “They really don’t realize they’re hurting people.”

Martinez described a Mexican-themed party in one of the departments at the university where green cards were handed out as party favors.

“These people are smart people. They have college degrees,” she said. “They’re not stupid or mean-spirited. If somebody had told them, ‘Do you realize how many people this would actually hurt?’ They’re not really thinking about these things.”

Martinez said she wouldn’t have a response for people who thinks offensive Halloween costumes are acceptable.

“That tells me their level of ignorance is a little too much to overcome with words,” she said. “I would probably want to spend my energy on people who recognize that something is wrong.”

Email: eeagar@deseretnews.com, Twitter: EmileeEagar

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