Things That Matter

Students From Northern Arizona University Have Gone Viral For Their Wildly Offensive Halloween Costumes

Halloween is that time of year when adults are able to shed their inhibitions and experience the same costumed fun and excitement they did as kids. Unfortunately, some take this holiday to inappropriate and hurtful places with their costumes. It seems that no matter how much attention is brought to this problem, we inevitably experience it year after year. Rather than go as their favorite fictional character, we see far too many people dressed in customs that promote cultural appropriation or that are inspired by offensive jokes.

Sure enough, before Halloween was even over, Twitter exposed one instance of this disappointing costume trend.

Twitter / @groovyk8

On October 29th, Katie Stiff shared a set of pictures on her personal Twitter account that she saw on Instagram. The photos show a group of five young adults dressed in scruffy clothing and dirty faces, carrying various signs. One such sign reads, “Immigrant mother of 10 ⁠— anything helps!” The others advertise a pregnant 16-year-old, a veteran with cancer, a college drop out and a recovering alcoholic. It’s clear from their costumes and the content of their cardboard signs that the group is dressed up as negative portrayals of homeless people. 

The offensive photos originated from the account of a freshman student at Northern Arizona University. Stiff, who is a recent graduate of the university, saw the post on October 28th. According to an interview with the Phoenix News Times, she first thought that the costumes were a form of protest — a commentary on how society views marginalized and low-income people. 

Stiff reached out to the person responsible for originally posting these pictures and asked what the meaning behind their costumes was.

Twitter / @lilythetigerr

In screenshots provided to the Phoenix News Times, the NAU freshman responded to Stiff’s inquiry by saying that the controversial looks were “actually just last-minute costumes for a party.” Hoping to facilitate a conversation, Stiff responded to the comment, “Yikes…I’m sure harm wasn’t your intention, but I would definitely reflect on how this could present as a lack of regard for human suffering.”

When Stiff didn’t receive further comment from the college freshman or any of the other adults tagged in the pictures, she decided to take the images to Twitter. 

Twitter/ @Tuesday_elias

Though Stiff’s Twitter account only had about 100 followers at the time, the post quickly went viral. It now has nearly 8K retweets and 17K likes. Speaking to the Phoenix News Times, Stiff explained why she feels costumes like these are so hurtful and offensive to so many. 

“It’s the collective outrage,” she shared. “It was hard to see how hurt people were by it and see comments like ‘this made me cry,’ or ‘this made me sick to my stomach.’ I thought by 2019 we’d be to the point where people weren’t wearing offensive costumes like this. Wearing these things that inherently target underprivileged people, veterans, immigrants, young mothers, it’s not okay. It’s not just a costume. It’s a statement.”

Twitter had several issues with the costumes and was quick to voice them.

Twitter / @Cartersmommi_

Many comments pointed out that it typically isn’t immigrants who are seen panhandling or begging for money. While there’s no shame in these actions, they are very looked down upon. Traditionally, immigrants hustle to find employment ⁠— working several jobs at a time ⁠— both providing for their families and helping to dismantle the negative stigma around migrants. 

Others expressed that these costumes could have worked ⁠— had they actually been meant as a type of protest. 

Twitter / @Bary_d19

This tweet suggested that the group should have collected money instead of candy and donated the funds to a local shelter or another worthy cause. Had these costumes been a form of protest, they would have made a powerful statement. Immigrants, veterans, college students, young mothers and those with chronic diseases are all marginalized groups that are condemned for supposedly not adding value to our society. Bringing attention to that via their costumes would have granted them props. Instead, the group thought it was clever to support stereotypes at the expense of others. 

It didn’t take long for Northern Arizona University to issue a statement concerning these costumes and the viral response to them. 

Twitter / @NAU

NAU President, Rita Cheng, responded to Stiff’s initial post by issuing a comment on the nature of the costumes. 

“The recent post by NAU students has been taken seriously,” she tweeted. “We involved the Dean of Students & Office of Inclusion. The students recognize the seriousness of their actions & apologized. NAU values & supports free speech. Speech demeaning to others does not represent our values.”

The official NAU Twitter account retweeted Cheng’s statement and double-downed on their commitment to free speech but not speech that is demeaning and disrespectful. 

As of now, it doesn’t seem that the students will be held responsible by the school for their offensive costuming. Be that as it may, it’s still our responsibility to call out racism and classism where we see it. If major institutions won’t punish this behavior, social media shaming is the best way to continue the conversation.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Vanessa Bryant And Her Daughters Win Halloween With These Incredible Costumes

Entertainment

Vanessa Bryant And Her Daughters Win Halloween With These Incredible Costumes

Life goes on.

Over nine months have passed since basketball great Kobe Bryant lost his life alongside his daughter Gigi and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

In the months since his death, fans have paid tribute to the former shooting guard who left behind three other daughters and his wife Vanessa and watched as his family has slowly attempted to pick up the pieces of their lives without them. Since then, they’ve celebrated holidays and their own birthdays. But holidays like Halloween present unique challenges, since they’re so focused on family.

However, leave it to Vanessa Bryant to show us what true resilience looks like. Over the weekend, she and her family celebrated Halloween in the best way possible and we’re living for their joy.

It’s official: they win Halloween!

Although it’s been a turbulent year – to say the least – for the Bryant family, Vanessa once again showed us all just how powerful and resilient she is by putting together an adorable family photoshoot to celebrate Halloween. Even though it’s the first Halloween without Kobe and Gianna Bryant, the family were all smiles.

Together as a family, they did a double photoshoot for Halloween this year that featured two sets of matching costumes between Vanessa and the three girls – the themes being Madeline (the beloved and popular children’s book series) and a Halloween classic, Star Wars.

The get-together seemed like a pretty joyous event, but of course the shadow of Kobe and Gigi still loom large, which makes the shoot pretty heart-breaking at the same time. Like we mentioned, this marks the first Halloween without them around — and yet, the Bryants carried on with the family tradition of dressing up like champs.

For their Matilda photoshoot, the family pulled out all the stops.

Credit: @Phil_Lewis_ / Twitter

So many of us grew up reading and watching Matilda, so this is an awesome idea for a Halloween costume. For their adorable photoshoot, Mama Bryant dressed up as the boarding school teacher, Miss Clavel, while Natalia and her baby sisters, Bianka and Capri, donned the traditional uniform of Madeline and her classmates, from the house in Paris covered in vines.

Needless to say, they look incredible, almost like they were torn right out of the page. It’s crazy, because this is actually more realistic and faithful to the illustrations than the live action movie from the ’90s.

Their Star Wars shoot was a total blast to the past.

Credit: nataliabryant / Instagram

For their take on Star Wars, the family channeled some of the film’s most popular characters. Vanessa was a shorter version of Darth Vader, Natalia was a much taller version of BB8 — and the two little ones were a Storm Trooper and an Ewok, respectively. These outfits were like the family-friendly ones you might find at a Target or something, which played well for the camera.

Of course, their Halloween celebrations were not the only touching and heartwarming firsts that they have had since the death of Kobe and Gianna.

Credit: vanessabryant / Instagram

On May 5, Vanessa celebrated her first birthday since the tragic deaths of her husband and daughter. She turned 38 years old.

In June, the family celebrated their youngest member, Capri’s first birthday. Vanessa penned a touching heartfelt tribute to celebrate the special day, which came five months after their loss. 

Vanessa has also tried to keep the memory of her loved ones alive with a heartfelt tattoo. In a post to her Instagram page, Bryant shared another video of herself. This time the video revealed that she was actively receiving a shoulder tattoo that is meant to honor her husband. 

“I wanted my boo boo’s @kobebryant sweet message transferred on me,” Bryant explained in the caption of the photo.

The year has been a turbulent one for the Bryants, and fans are delighted to see that they are healing and finding their own ways to be happy together.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

You Sent us Your Real-Life Spooky Stories and We Are Definitely SPOOKED OUT

Culture

You Sent us Your Real-Life Spooky Stories and We Are Definitely SPOOKED OUT

We asked and you guys delivered! We went on our social media last week asking you all what real-life scary stories you had happen in your own lives, and we had chills reading your submissions. We’ve compiled a list of our 10 favorites just in time for Halloween itself!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CG0LHpBHPL1/

Sent in by: Diego

There was a summer during high school when I got sucked into one of my friend’s late night supernatural obsessions. This was in Arcadia. My best friend had the habit of dropping his then girlfriend off at her home, very late at night, around 3:00am. And every night on the dot he did so. But when this happened, a mysterious man wearing a heavy jacket and boots in the sweltering Southern California heat would emerge from the trees of the neighboring park. He wore a hood and a surgical mask that covered nearly all of his face, but he was always so flushed that his skin had a reddish color. My friend took to calling him “Doctor Satan”, like the Rob Zombie movie. He would always emerge at 3:00am, walk a circular route around the neighborhood, and then disappear back into the park by 4:00am. He would never ever stop anywhere.

One night, after weeks of my friend telling me and everyone else in our friend group the story, we decided to pile into a car and wait for Doctor Satan. On the dot at 3:00am, Doctor Satan emerged. He walked quickly. Too quickly. We followed him in our car, but he soon rounded a corner and we lost sight of him. We raced along his usual route only to find him again, at least a mile ahead of us. It was impossible for him to have outrun us like that. We were in a car! And then after an hour, he disappeared again. We all laughed it off with teenage bravado and didn’t really speak of it again.

Fast forward to a week later, my friend tells us he’s been having the worst nightmares: all of them with Doctor Satan. He told us dreams where she chases him down and removes his mask to reveal horrible deformed mandibles full of sharp teeth. My friend thinks it’s weird, but then the room gets really quiet. One by one we reveal we’ve all been having the same dream.

Sent in By: @holacheska_

When I was a teen, I was visiting my family in Peru. One morning when I was brushing my teeth, as one does, I put my toothbrush back in the holder as I turned around to the opposite wall to dry off my mouth. Suddenly, I felt something hit my back and heard something hit the floor. When I turned to look down, I saw my toothbrush on the damn floor. I felt a cold chill go up my spine and I ran out screaming to my mom and tias.

Sent in by: @thisissayra_

One morning, I woke up before my sisters. It was summer vacation so my parents had gone to work and we all stayed home alone. I went downstairs to grab breakfast and I heard voices talking around the corner and along a hall we had. I thought it was my sisters trying to scare me. When they didn’t enter the kitchen after I called out to them, I walked over (still hearing the voices) but no one was there. I thought they were playing a joke on me and had run upstairs to hide back in bed, so I ran upstairs to catch them but they were knocked out asleep still. I touched their feet just to be sure (we had tile floors so their feet would be cold if they had gotten out of bed) but they were warm. Later my uncle told us he also had heard the voices of children in the same exact hall. We took a picture where we saw a figure and face of a child in that same hall. Freaky!

Sent in by: @661crafter

One night I’m in the restroom washing hands. Our hallway is pitch black.  As I turn off  the bathroom lights, I see and hear my grandson (2 years old) run past me to his room. I motioned to him with my hand “Let’s go”, indicating we should go to bed. As I’m signaling to him, I see him walk towards me. I keep walking. As I turn the corner, I see my grandson sitting in his high chair eating dinner with the rest of my family. My husband then asks, “Who are you talking to?” I was too scared to look back at what was following me. I’m 100% convinced that ghosts do exist.

Sent in by: @mrs_valentine13

When I was 8 years old,  I was in the shower and I turned around to a shadow walking on the wall. It had a top hat, a long trench coat, and a chin that looked long, kinda like the devil from power puff girls (I’m old,  The powerpuff girls were not around back then! lol). Then when I was 9 years old, I woke up after midnight and saw a girl that looked exactly like me standing on the bars of my baby sister’s crib. She didn’t move, she was just standing there. I was so scared. I put my head down and started praying Padre Nuestro and Ave Maria. When I looked back up, the girl was gone.


Sent in by: @flowerrosales 

When I was 37,  my older kids were out and I had my little one still at home with me. It was minutes away from midnight and we both were sitting on the couch. The couch was  L shaped and my child was lying on it opposite of where I was sitting. I dozed off a few seconds because it was so late and opened my eyes to see that there was a ghost staring at my daughter. She had long fingers and she was grey with jagged teeth and long curly hair, wearing an all grey dress. She looked right at me, her white eyes appearing like she just had one pupil. Quickly and suddenly, she dispersed into thin air. I was so shocked I couldn’t move. A couple minutes later, all my older kids walked in and I told them all what just happened.

Sent in by: @wendy.29

In my old house, TVs, radios, and other electronics would suddenly turn on or move out of place. My older sister’s friend’s son told us he saw a man in all black going to our bathroom, smiling at him. A few days later, my friend’s ex- boyfriend, without me telling her and her ex what was going on in my house, got up and asked me if he could use my bathroom. I said of course he could. He returned back into my room and told us he saw a man wearing all black walking straight to the bathroom. So, he decided to follow the man but he soon disappeared. WTF!!! But we were used to it. We would joke around with the ghosts and say “If you’re gonna turn on the tv, change the channel too.”

Sent in by: @i_lov3_da1s13s

I once lived next to a cemetery. One summer night, I heard a dog’s cry after the screeching of a tire. I thought maybe the dog was hit by the car. I opened the front door and went outside. I lived on the second floor, so I walked  east of the walk way but saw nothing. I also walked to the west side of the walkway and still saw nothing. On my way back to the door of my apartment, I said to myself; “One more look before I close my door.” When I looked over to the cemetery, I saw a silhouette marching towards the gate of the cemetery. It marched back to where it started, lifted itself up a little, spinned around and POOF!. It disappeared into the ground. I was in shock! I called my husband at the time, to come and look and he saw it, too! He said to leave it alone and I went back to bed, still in shock!! The silhouette did it two more times until it finally jumped over the gate and a leash appeared in its hand with a dog at the other end, walking across the street. My heart was racing, I started to shake and I couldn’t see it anymore because the other building got in the way. I ran inside my apartment, locked my door, got into bed and pulled my blankets over my head.I prayed so hard and all I can hear is my husband snoring. I was so scared. It’s an old cemetery and it has tombstones from the 1800s. There were war vets buried there, too. I’ve watched 3 burials happen during the time I lived next to it, but I have never seen anything like that happen there before or after that night.

Sent in by: @alonzo_12010

 My father went night hunting with his grandpa when he was about 10 years old in El Salvador. The night was pitch black. Overtime, my dad got separated from him. In search to find his grandpa again, my dad walked towards the river and heard a woman crying. He said he saw a woman all in white with long black hair. He was so scared. He quickly ran off and eventually bumps right into his grandpa.

Sent in by: Diego  

This is the story of my husband Mike taking me to see a local legend of his Rialto hometown. We had just started dating and he told me about something he called The Ghost Road. It was an industrial access road or something, past Fontana, past Rialto, towards San Bernardino (This was before the 210 freeway was finished). So, it was pretty remote. It was a one lane road with hills on either side, connecting two major roads. Legend had it that a bus full of children died on that road, and if you drove through it with your lights out, they would light the road for you and keep you safe. So one aimless night, we checked it out. We would end up visiting that road a total of three times before the month was over and something strange happened: Every. Single. Time. 

The First Visit: The first time we went, we did the ritual. You were supposed to enter the road, drive until you were around the middle of basically nowhere, and turn your radio and your lights off. We did that. Sure enough, the road began to turn a strange deep iridescent blue color. But, I jumped the gun, being too scared to sit in the dark and begged Mike to turn the headlights back on. When he flicked them on I saw little bodies all over the road, scattering to either side of us. Children’s legs and arms wisping into the darkness around us. Needless to say, we freaked TF out and drove out of there ASAP. The road was dark and winding towards the end, so we could only drive so fast. As we neared the exit, the faint sound of children screaming grew louder and louder.

The Second Visit: Being dumb and reckless teenagers, it wasn’t long before we were back. In trying to process what we had seen and heard, we told our story to friends and one friend would not take us on our word. He insisted we take him to the Ghost Road to see it for himself. So, we found ourselves piling into his Jeep and going back again. We hadn’t been there long when we saw headlights appear behind us. They were high off the ground and bright, like from a bus or semi truck. We collectively thought: Just our luck. Some trucker is using this access road and our plans for ghost encounters are shot. So we went forward, the only way out. Except as we did this, the lights got closer and the truck behind us was accelerating fast. We thought it was trying to run us off the road. It kept tight on us even at the curves towards the end of the path, impossibly maneuverable for its size. We blasted out of the exit and onto the main road again. And then, we waited. The truck never emerged. There’s no way we wouldn’t have been able to see it from how close it was to us. There’s no room on the road for a vehicle of that size to turn around. It just disappeared.

The Final Visit: While we really should have learned our lesson the first two times, my friend told his girlfriend and younger brother about our encounter with the ghostly truck and they were soon demanding their own Ghost Road tour. All five of us climbed into a single car and found ourselves back there yet again, in the dead of night. But strangely enough, nothing happened this time. We couldn’t really even see anything, the five of us packed into that car causing all of the windows to fog up. After a while of nothing, we gave up and called it a night. But when we got home, we found the windows slightly ajar in the December cold started to then clear up. And then we saw it. Every surface of glass on the car was covered in handprints: small hands, adult hands, children’s fingerprints, etc.  And on the driver’s side windshield was the impression of a small face squished on its side, as if trying to peer inside. It’s now been over a decade since the last Ghost Tour we did. We never went back.

From all of us here at We are mitú, we wish you a safe and Happy Halloween.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com