These posters were created as part of an educational campaign initiated in 2011 by Students Teaching About Racism in Society, a group of Ohio University students. The campaign, called ‘We’re a Culture, Not a Costume,’ centered on critiquing the practice of wearing racist Halloween costumes, after the Ohio University students witnessed a fellow student wearing black face to a party. The campaign speaks to the larger context of racist Halloween parties and costumes, which have spurred protests and discussions on university campuses and beyond. The Ohio University students used media to preemptively encourage others to be thoughtful about the connections between costumes, stereotypes, and identity.
This 2014 video addresses the everyday experiences of “What It’s Like to be Ambiguously Ethnic.” The video shows a diverse range of people talking about issues such as the misunderstandings and confused comments and interactions they experience, people trying to place identity categories onto them that they do not identify with, people assuming you can speak different languages, and having to decide what to do when they experience racial or ethnic microaggressions, or the everyday, often unintentional, marginalizing interactions racial and ethnic minorities frequently experience in the U.S. For example, one man of Japanese, Mexican, and Filipino background described a substitute teacher who was taking roll at the beginning of class and did not believe that he matched his name because of his physical appearance. Another man of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Hawaiian, and Korean background describes a situation when he was walking down the street in Chicago and a woman who was having problems communicating with her Uber driver saw him and asked, “Excuse me sir, can you take this call? This Uber driver, I think he’s Middle Eastern, Arabic. Can you handle this?”
This 2015 video addresses the everyday experiences of adopted and/or mixed raced individuals who look different from their parents or families. The video shows a diverse range of adopted or mixed race people talking about experiences such as the misunderstandings and confused comments they experience, people trying to place identity categories onto them that they do not fully identify with, issues of belonging, what it is like growing up in families where your parents or other family members either do not look like you or have a different heritage than you, and the ongoing development and negotiation of their identities. For example, one of the women describes what it’s like to grow up as a Black woman with White parents and a White brother, a man describes raising mixed race kids and teaching them about race, ethnicity, and their Central American and Indonesian backgrounds, one woman describes her upbringing with Danish and Indian parents, another describes Mexican and Scottish parents, a man describes being adopted from Peru by White parents, and another man describes his Filipino, half Black, and White siblings, all of whom were adopted by their White parents.
This 2015 video from MTV News weekly series Decoded satirically parodies White people “whitesplaining whitesplaining,” the term used to describe the act of White people patronizingly explaining or defining to a person of color what should or shouldn’t be racist against people of color. Through a series of interactions between Franchesca Ramsey and a range of White characters interrupting and talking over her and each other, this video shows what “whitesplaining” and White “mansplaining” can look like. The White characters include friends, partners, a man from a “diverse” neighborhood, a man with dreadlocks, a professor of African American studies, a woman with a “talking stick,” a woman with an Oprah shirt, Rachel Dolezal, and references to these characters being “in the know” because they saw movies likeTwelve Years a Slaveand read articles about race inThe Atlantic. The clip ends with one of the characters stopping everyone from speaking and once again defining whitesplaining to Franchesca and telling her that she wouldn’t put up with it if she were her. Franchesca responds that she doesn’t know what to say right now, and the group of White characters all say, “you’re welcome.”
This 2015 video from Refinery29 explores a trend within the world of fashion to use Navajo and other Native American designs in products that are made by and marketed to non-Natives. It critiques the use of Native aesthetics by people who do not understand their meaning, even if they see themselves as honoring Native Americans. The video showcases the work of Navajo, or Diné, designers creating a combination of traditional and contemporary fashions and jewelry. It shows how these designers are collaborating to build a creative community. They use their work to resist and remix what they see as harmful appropriations of their culture, while emphasizing their right to represent themselves.