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How To Check Your Privilege At Cal This Halloween


Berkeley is a school known for its social awareness and activism. And as Cal students, we know that Halloween can be a touchy and problematic time. So this year, to help you be the best Berkeley student you can be, we here at The Black Sheep have come up with 10 ways for you to and CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE this Halloween.


10.) Don’t Take Part in Dorm Trick-or-Treating:

You thought it would be fun to participate in your Unit 3 Floor trick-Or-treat? Just because you have dental insurance doesn’t mean that other people do, and it’s insensitive for you to assume that.


9.) Don’t Go to Parties Dressed Up as Something From a TV show:


Not everyone has access to a television, so dressing up as something from TV is just straight up classist and exclusionary. You think it’s cool to go to Phi Psi’s “‘90s”  Party dressed like Paris and Nicole with your sorority sisters? Well you’re wrong. Make sure your costume is something that people from all backgrounds can understand.


8.) Don’t Spend Over $5 on Your Costume:


Recognize that everyone comes from different socioeconomic backgrounds and for your to spend more than $5 on your costume is classist and offensive to those who can’t afford to do so. It’s simple: only shop at the Goodwill on University and set a $5 limit for yourself to level the playing field.


7.) Don’t Say “Boo” if You’re Not an Actual Ghost:


This offensive term perpetuates a harmful stereotype about ghosts, and in addition, appropriates ghost culture. Please, if you’re not a ghost yourself, just don’t say it.


6.) Give a Trigger Warning Before Telling Scary Stories:


You never know what kind of encounters your friends have had with the spooky and the paranormal in the past, and as we all know, that can be some really traumatizing stuff. Make sure to give a trigger warning before telling such horrible stories as the scarecrow who attacked a farmer. You never know who had an experience just like that, especially in the wake of the recent UCPD emails.  


5.) Don’t Give Your Jack-O-Lantern a Gender:


If you’re a cis person, please don’t perpetuate the gendered society from which you benefit. This year, make sure your jack-o-lantern is non-binary.


4.) Don’t Decorate Your Clark-Kerr Dorm with Spider Webs:


Implying that spider webs are “scary” is offensive to people who can’t afford to live in places without spider webs. Just because you, with all your money and your privilege, can afford to live in a “nice,” webless, environment, doesn’t mean everyone else has that same opportunity.


3.) Avoid Skeleton References:


Not only is skeleton decor agist, but it is also highly insensitive to those struggling with osteoporosis, rickets, osteomalacia, and fibrous dysplasia.


2.) Don’t Bob for Apples at Your Cal Dems Halloween Party:


This is an extremely problematic tradition. It is ableist, as it discriminates against people with smaller lungs. It also has the potential to be extremely triggering for those who have experienced water-related trauma. Let’s find a game that everyone can enjoy, like pin the Bernie Sanders pin on the DNC.


1.) Don’t Ask People “What Are You?” When trying to figure out their costume:


You go to CZ’s Halloween costume party and see someone dressed up in a confusing costume. Don’t ask them what they are! This microaggression can upset people who have historically been asked this with regard to their race or their gender. In addition, this phrase perpetuates the social idea that we always need to categorize people. This Halloween, respect everyone’s identity, even if you don’t understand it.

Halloween at Berkeley is all about checking yourself and recognizing that not everyone has the same opportunities as you. Be sensitive, be aware, make sure you don’t offend anyone at all, and most importantly, have fun!



Posted by The Black Sheep on Monday, October 17, 2016

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