I love dressing as a cop for Halloween: you get to wear a cool badge and hat and I look great in blue. But the other day, as I was trying my cop costume on in preparation for Halloween, I looked in the mirror and immediately thought, “Oh, man. I look really racist.”
I don’t think that all cops are racist, but there’s just something about a white guy in a police uniform that makes you look like you want to question, arrest, harass or assault someone on the basis of their skin color.
So I came up with some ideas to tweak my costume so I don’t ruin Halloween by looking like a promise of violence to every person of color I encounter.
- Build a time machine. Go back to the beginning of America. Don’t use slaves to build your country’s economy. Don’t keep black people so oppressed that they can’t earn as much, eat as much, talk as much, live as much as white people. Don’t let this power imbalance continue through the 19th, 20th, and into the 21st century. Don’t encourage a social structure in which it’s acceptable to attribute crime and poverty to the very existence of black people. Don’t structure your institutions around the fantasy that white people are more valuable than black people. Don’t fold racist rhetoric into the official doctrines of these institutions. Don’t employ people who are comfortable with this notion. Don’t protect the members of these institutions when they commit thousands of murders on the basis of this notion. Don’t let this happen so often that there are endless photographs and videos of the members of these institution committing crimes. Don’t let this happen so often that you allow an institution’s uniform to become forever synonymous with brutality, violence, abuse, fear, death and racism. Wear a cop costume on Halloween without looking racist.