Take a vow against racism

October is the best month of the year.

The trees turn vibrant shades of red, yellow and orange; pumpkin becomes a common ingredient used in coffee shops and restaurants; the mid-semester slump is tackled by students; and people herd themselves in costume shops looking for just the right costume to indulge in some childish (or maybe some grown-up) fun on Halloween.

But there’s something offensively wrong with the innocence of costume shopping and planning: the seemingly endless supply of racist costumes.

From the stereotypical Mexican wearing a poncho and sombrero, to the sexy “Indian” costume complete with a hair feather, it is becoming increasingly acceptable for people to berate other people’s cultures and traditions for the sake of laugh.

But let’s be serious, racism ruled the way this country functioned for hundreds of years, and regardless of what people think, it’s still alive and well.

Because the casual comments people make among friends about black people, white people, Mexicans, Samoans or Native Americans is a lingering effect of racism.

And for some reason, people think it’s okay to make an offhand comment about a race because they have friends of that race.

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You know what I’m talking about, and you know what the answers to these questions are:

What are three things you can’t give a black person? Why doesn’t Mexico have an Olympic team? What’s the difference between a Jew and a pizza?

But think of it this way, as a young college students, some may never have experienced overt racism, but our grandparents likely did.

Imagine what it would be like if your friends and family fought and died for a cause and, in your lifetime, it became someone’s joke.

Wait a minute — that’s already happened.

Well before the 10th anniversary of the death of 2,753 people in the 9/11 attacks, highjacker, al-Qaida and suicide bomber costumes can be found in Halloween shops. And worse yet, people actually buy them.

Not only is this tasteless, but it’s also disrespectful to the soldiers still fighting for our country overseas.

It’s not funny.

So this year, let’s make a vow to not let our costume choices be ruled by the racism that somehow still defines our society. There are other ways to be shocking without being hurtful.