Any time there is an event or occasion that interests a few people, there is room for different viewpoints and concerns. I did not grow up celebrating Halloween. The idea of joining people in celebrating a day dedicated to being a different character or object was intriguing. Sure, I had seen in it movies, books, TV shows… but apart from one year in kindergarten, I was never in a place that took the day seriously, before I moved to Canada.
Participation is what I am thinking of today; how we join in, the questions we ask, what we contribute when we join. As an outsider, I found myself looking at many problematic costumes wondering how they were acceptable or even funny, but feeling like that discomfort was because I lacked an understanding of them. Because I felt it was not my place to judge, I did not voice my opinions, or ask my questions to more than a handful of people.
This year, however, I was able to take the discussion beyond the small network of people I feel comfortable sharing my thoughts on this with. Instead of repeating what they already knew about how some costumes are insensitive to sex, ability, culture, age, identity, race, class and gender, amongst other things, I managed to convey my thoughts on the subject to people I had never had such conversations with, hopefully without being didactic. How?
Through chalk. Rather, by referring to the chalking we did on the subject. I was able to point people in the direction of our website, so they could see the message in chalk with left on Granville Island the weekend before Halloween: what does your costume say?
In our last post, we talked about how we want to celebrate more occasions and events, and think of our involvement in them as we do. Raise questions, highlight some aspects of them, and look closer at others that need to be re-evaluated. Give us suggestions for more events and occasions that could use some chalk messages to highlight an important issue! We want to participate, and do so thoughtfully, considerately and respectfully.
While you think of occasions and days that are important to you, feel free to use our chalking in conversation. I found this to be a great way to start telling people what I thought, without being condescending or preachy.
“Oh, I actually did some chalking on this… We left a message, because it is an important issue. Check it out! “
Please don’t hesitate – talk the chalk! Respectfully invite people to participate respectfully; everyone has thoughts and ideas to chalk 🙂