"I am NOT a costume."

Halloween spoken word by Jason Chu

"Thug" parties with blackface costumes. "Oriental geisha" outfits and "Indian" headdresses. Halloween is no excuse for ignorance. Race is not a party. Culture is not a costume. Poet/emcee Jason Chu just dropped this spoken word piece in time for Halloween, because we all know that really awful, culturally insensitive costumes are out there and you will most certainly see them in full force this week.

The words:

“I am not a costume.”

Google “Oriental Halloween”, and this is what you find:
Child Geisha costume, 29.99
HalloweenCostumes dot com, order it online
Purchase with rush shipping, it’ll arrive just in time
For your daughter to do her make-up with yellow face and slanted eyes

I get it: you have questions about my culture, you
wonder what alternate options uncover, but
you can’t live in my skin, so in,stead of gettin to know me, you
clone me, my skin tone, my home life, my homies, the
pho-netics of what you pro-ject is my grand-mother’s aesthetics
Re-jected old ethnic regressive con-ceptions
with no credit of accurate portrayals of real presence
It’s dope, ain’t it, to role play as an, Asian geisha or American native,
or Black, actin like a thug rapper with an accent you always thought mattered


You’ll go get em and go wear em, pass out cold and wake up in em
And you probly, know nobody, but white men and white women
but I wake up, in this body, and it’s not a, costume party
You’ll discard it and dismiss it, I wrestle with and I live in it

I am not a costume.

My culture’s not a fun little hobby you can copy
off the rack
next to slutty Donald Trump and Pizza Rat
My parents immigrated, the culture’s all they had
Chinese-American, I stand on my culture like a raft
So it’s Titanic: my parents rose, but I froze when you asked me to let go of Jack

Don’t wear my culture like a costume: it’s not flattering on you
This is not me being hostile, this is me tryin to warn you
Whether accurate or not, you’ll look like a project made in high school

I get it: you wonder how the other half lives
I’ve learned to talk white, you never had to talk chink
But you won’t find it at Spirit Halloween for 19.99
Save the money, buy me a drink and I’ll fill you in about our lives

For more from Jason Chu, check out his YouTube channel.


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