I had a conversation with an individual last semester (for their own privacy this individual will remain unnamed and for the most part unknown). The converstation when he said that he didn't understand why the two individuals from years back who had dressed in black face and as women for Halloween were in the wrong. Obviously this bothered me, but I really wanted to try and get at why he thought this way. It took a lot of hashing out, and we talked for quite a bit about this, but eventually we worked out his confussion. It turned out that he wasn't saying that dressing up in blackface wasn't wrong, or that these individuals weren't in the wrong, it was more a matter of intentions. He didn't think that those two men should be labeled as racist for what they had done, since they were unaware of the consequences of their outfits. In the end we worked out that just because somebody does something racist, it doesn't mean that they are labeled as a racist, or an inherntly bad person. They are ignorant, however if they choose to continue to be ignorant or racist, after they have been told about their wrongdoing, then the scale shifts and they very well coult be a bad person.
Then it got a little worse.
He then said that if it was only one night, why did it matter so much that these two were being racist. He fell right into the pit of "it's halloween, we can be racist on halloween because it's only one night." OYE VEY. This rocked me a little bit because, at least for me, it seemed crystal clear that those two men were in the wrong, and should have (1) not have worn what they did, and (2) should have taken it off when they were confronted at their first pre-game for the night. I guess for other individuals though this may not seem so clear. I tried to explain to him that under no circumstance does it make it okay for one race to make fun or, to lump all of another race into one stereotype. Him and I are both white, so I tried to tell him that we are rarely reminded about our priviledge and our whiteness in society, however for somebody of color, they are constantly reminded of their race and lack of priviledge. Why then do we have the right to remind them even more of that on Halloween? We don't, and I really hope he understood that.