Moana and the Cultural Appropriation Halloween Debate

Never before have I seen so many controversial articles about Halloween costumes and racism than this year.  

In fact, to be honest, I’ve never seen any articles of that type until this year.  

Then suddenly… 


There are pages and pages of this stuff on google. It’s incredible.  


So, if everyone else is going to throw out their two cents, I will too.  

First, let me explain a little bit about my background.  

For those of you who haven’t read my bio, I was born in the USA, but grew up overseas in Asia. My family travelled a lot. I went to two international schools, surrounded by people from a lot of different cultures.  

We made fun of each other ALL THE TIME. We also respected each other immensely.  

Humour and friendship thrive when everyone knows they are respected.  

Have you ever met a blonde that has no problem telling blonde jokes? It’s easy to laugh when you realize no one actually thinks you’re dumb just because you’re blonde.  


The problem in our culture is that everyone is walking around thinking that the people whispering in the corner or laughing at the bar are whispering about or laughing at them.  

It’s egocentrism.  

There, we’ve said it. 


Cultural appropriation is one of the silliest ideas I’ve ever heard of. Here’s the reality: 

Every culture in the world takes on elements of surrounding cultures because that’s how we IMPROVE. We see desirable traits in other people, and we use them.  

The Romans appropriated aspects of Greek culture, the Brits appropriated aspects of Roman culture, and Americans appropriated (many) aspects of British culture. And there is nothing wrong with that.  

When we see something is working, why not use it? What we’re saying to the original culture is “Great idea! You guys are so smart.”  

We are constantly learning from each other. That’s the only reason we are where we’re at today.  


Now, let’s get back to the topic of Halloween costumes and Moana.  

The fun of costumes is that you get to become whoever you want to become. Why do little girls want to dress up like Moana?  

To make fun of Polynesians? To mock traditional dress? To offend people of other ethnicities?  

No. Obviously not.

Imitation is the highest form of flattery.  

Little girls want to dress up like Moana because they think she’s pretty, or brave, or strong. It’s a compliment, not an offense.  

If we spent half as much time and effort finding things to be thankful for as we do finding things to be offended by, the world would be a much happier place.  


So, if your daughter wants to be Moana for Halloween (or your son wants to be Maui), let them.  

And if some nosy neighbour has something to say about it, it’s a great opportunity for your kids to see Mommy politely telling them to mind their own business.  


What do politics have to do with kids Halloween costumes? Everything apparently. Moana and the Cultural Appropriation Halloween Debate | Mom but not a Mom


What do you think about the issue of cultural appropriation and Halloween costumes?  

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