Legion considers Halloween party ban after blackface costume
A Royal Canadian Legion branch southwest of London will consider banning Halloween parties after pictures surfaced on social media of a man dressed in blackface at an event there in October.
Members of the Legion in Melbourne will meet next month about the issue, which comes in the wake of a Statistics Canada report showing a dramatic increase in hate crimes cases in Ontario.
“We will discuss this at our January meeting and it may very well be decided that Halloween is not something that we should be involved in at all in the future, private or otherwise,” said Glen Jeffery, vice-president of the Melbourne Legion. “In my personal opinion, many Halloween costumes could be rightly considered offensive, racist, sexist.”
The pictures of the man, posing as a lawn ornament depicting a black child sitting on a stump fishing, were taken during a Halloween bash at the Legion on Oct. 27.
The pictures were re-posted on social media by Hayden Woodley, an assistant professor of business at the University of Prince Edward Island who did his doctorate at Western University, after he came across them online.
“I think sometimes you expect or just assume that this stuff doesn’t happen anymore or that it wouldn’t happen here in Canada, but that’s not the case,” said Woodley.
He decided to share the images as a way to educate people about the inappropriateness of some of these costumes and their meaning, which he believes is the only way to bring an end to these practices.
While hosted at its branch, the party was a private event.