Tuesday, February 12, 2019

I'm Surprised This Needs Repeating, but Blackface is Basically Never Okay

Not. Okay.
You know when it is okay for someone to wear blackface? Perhaps in a play or movie about the painful history of minstrel shows--e.g. the Spike Lee movie, "Bamboozled," or maybe if you have someone engaging in blackface to make an important social/cultural/historical point, such as Robert Downey Junior does as a clueless Australian actor named Kirk Lazarus trying to portray a black person in, "Tropic Thunder."  You know when else it is okay? Basically never (including cosplay). I can't believe this bears repeating, but between Megyn Kelly getting herself fired for her comments (I don't miss her as the third hour is good again), the state of Virginia being a mess thanks to its Governor and Attorney General engaging in blackface in the 1980's (oh, and the Liutentant Governor may have sexually assaulted at least two women, but that is a whole different article) I guess this needs re-stating. Blackface has a painful and unambiguously racist history within America and it is startling to think possibly 1-in-3 people surveyed by CNN think it is okay, "Sometimes." I have zero problem with someone dressing-up as a character of color they admire. White people are more than welcome to enjoy Halloween or a comic-convention dressed as Luke Cage, the Falcon, Vixen, or so forth, but dear God put the black face-paint down.

I don't get it. I mean, you don't see black people wearing whiteface when they dress-up as white characters, and frankly the only time I see anyone wearing white face-paint to some degree is they are dressed-up as the Joker (which lots of races do, and that isn't whiteface so much as a dab of stark-white paint). Yet, a chunk of white folk either dress-up as black characters and apply blackface ignorantly at best, or maliciously at worst (e.g. not just blackface, but trying to look extremely stereotypical like the, "Sambo," cliche or such). I will admit sometimes people overreact to something and think it is reminescent of blackface when it is not--e.g. the recent controversy over Katy Perry's shoe-line that doesn't look like blackface so much as really ugly shoes. That said, for every time people are maybe being overly sensitive, there are 100 occurrences of actual blackface or blackface-related imagery that are stupid and offensive. Everyone, please just stop engaging in blackface, you'll only look like a fool.

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