Did This White Woman Get A Pass For Dressing Like A Que On Halloween?

November 1, 2016  |  

Earlier this year, singer Lalah Hathaway caused a bit of stir when she appeared on Instagram wearing an Alpha Phi Alpha hat. She did so to honor her late father Donny Hathaway. And while you would think that someone honoring a deceased parent would be a subject too sacred and too sensitive to condemn, it didn’t stop a number of Alphas from flying into Lalah’s comments to politely tell her to delete the picture, out of respect for the letters and the organization they worked so hard to join. It wasn’t a fight I understood. It wasn’t a fight my father, an Alpha man, understood.

I found the whole discussion frustrating and insightful. Frustrating because the discussion seemed futile and counterproductive when there are so many other causes and issues the Alphas and every other Greek organization could be lending their voices toward. And insightful because it’s always interesting to see what people get crunk about.

And in the instance of this past Halloween, what people don’t get crunk about.

For Halloween, a White woman decided to dress like a Que.

Source: Instagram/Twitter

Source: Instagram/Twitter

I first stumbled across the image on Feminista Jone’s Twitter page. Not only did she post the offender in her costume, she included a conversation between a Black man and woman about the costume.

“at least she didn’t paint her face black.”

Let’s zoom in for a closer look:

BM: Well it’s not blackface

BW: I’m picturing that discussion among her and her friends.

BM: Yea me too. Also she could be dating a Que. yes it’s wrong but I’m Not mad at that…now blackface that’s NEVER OK!

BW: For me neither is ok. Just my opinion.

BM: I respect that.

Then, Feminista included this image.

Source: Twitter

Source: Twitter

The implications are clear. Black woman wears the letters to pay tribute to her father, a legend in the community, and she gets dragged on social media. A White woman dressed as a Greek for kicks and giggles and it’s totally fine, because you know her man might be a Que. So she’s cool. I went back and forth about whether or not I should write this story. After all, this was just one Black man. Still, it was interesting that I hadn’t heard anything about this woman from the Greeks. I decided to find where the picture was originally posted and see if the conversation was more lively over there. I did find the picture on the Black Greeks Nation page.

And funny enough, the comments over there, seemed to mirror the ones highlighted in Feminista Jones’ tweet.

“this hella funny. Can’t even be made lmao.” 

“is she dating a Que? That to me is the only thing that would make it okay.” 

“At least he didn’t let her wear his letters.” 

The people who expressed the most offense were Black women. Even a Latina woman jumped in with some perspective and insider knowledge on the costume and the woman behind it.

Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram

If a Latina woman knows this is wrong, why in the hell were so many Black men, Greek and non Greek alike, so willing to laugh this one off? If Lalah was berated for wearing a hat when she knows what this organization was about, why did this woman get applauded because she didn’t put on Blackface? I don’t care if she married a Que and had his firstborn son after he was declared impotent, there is nothing that excuses a White woman wearing this as a costume. And anyone who even an inkling of the Divine Nine’s history and the reasons and necessity of their existence wouldn’t have even dared. And if she had, her Que boyfriend or someone else should have been there to tell her “Nah.” I’ve seen people scolded for far less when it came to imitating the Divine Nine. Hell, people practically tore Fantasia a new a$$hole when she posted a picture of an actual Delta and said she wanted to be a part of the organization. And as a Black woman, this is an organization she could very well become a part of. This White woman can never be a Que–for at least two reasons. I don’t want to pull the cultural appropriation card on Halloween; but this is, at the very least, ignorant.

Again, there are bigger fish to fry in the Greek as well as the Black community. And I could understand folks letting this slide, if everyone got a pass for mocking or imitating Divine 9 organizations. But when people can’t even honor their deceased relatives with the letters and a White girl can wear all the paraphernalia as a costume for Halloween, something just ain’t right.

Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days.” You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter @VDubShrug.

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