Tufts University is taking a strong stand against three important issues this Halloween: Sexual assault, excessive alcohol consumption, and…”offensive” costumes.
Emphasis, naturally, on the costumes.
At least that’s the way it appears from a letter the university’s Greek life councils sent out to campus fraternities this week. In it, student leaders warn that anyone found wearing a costume that might offend someone will face serious consequences.
“Greek Brothers and Sisters have worn costumes that appropriate cultures and reproduce stereotypes on race, gender, sexuality, immigrant or socioeconomic status,” the letter reads. “Outfits relating to tragedy, controversy, or acts of violence are also inappropriate. We need to set a precedent that people’s customs cannot and will not be our costumes.”
But the letter isn’t just encouraging fraternities to choose their costumes carefully; it includes a warning to anyone who thinks they can just slap a sombrero on their head and get away with it.
“The range of response for students whose actions make others in our community feel threatened or unsafe, or who direct conduct towards others that is offensive or discriminatory, includes OEO and/or TUPD investigation and then disciplinary sanctions from our office that could run a wide gamut depending on what is brought to our attention and the impact of these actions on others,” said Dean of Student Affairs, Mary Pat McMahon.
So let’s break this down. If you go to school at Tufts, your Halloween costume cannot have anything to do with any other culture…cannot have anything to do with “stereotypes”…cannot relate to violence or tragedy…or even controversy. Exactly what’s left when you take all of that seriously? Vampires? Violent. Political figures? Controversial. Superheroes? Nearly all of them were formed out of tragedy. If you want to get really picky about it, you could probably disqualify every Halloween costume on the planet with these restrictions.
Thus, this letter becomes a perfect teaching tool on the dangers of limiting free speech. When you start banning things because they might offend someone, you’re heading down a perilous road. Someone, somewhere will take offense at literally anything you can dream up, no matter how trivial or innocent it might seem.
Now, you might think that a person’s right to enjoy Halloween without being offended is more important than a person’s right to wear the costume of their choosing. We would agree.
Here’s the thing, though: Everyone in America – nay, everyone alive today – already has the right to go through Halloween (and their entire life) without being offended. You can activate this power in yourself simply by making the decision…NOT TO BE OFFENDED! And like magic…you won’t be!
That’s the real danger of this trend towards censorship. Our sympathy for a frat kid who can’t wear a racist costume is not particularly great. Our sympathy for a generation of young adults whose internal happiness and peace is dependent on others, however, is enormous.
The world isn’t going to bend to your will. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you’ll come to an even more profound realization: You don’t need it to.
Sadly, many young Americans are only going to learn that lesson after years and years of suffering, brought about by liberals who think they must protect their precious little feelings.