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jammerbirdi



Joined: 23 Sep 2004
Posts: 19705



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PostPosted: 02/08/19 2:52 am    ::: Blackface Reply Reply with quote

First if this thread title is bothersome to anyone, let me know and I'll change it.

Maybe, to "Beautiful African Woman"



This thing is like a second #metoo only going the wrong way. Shocked

Black people will often say, you know, white people sometimes don't really see things through the eyes and experiences. (I'm being kind to white people there.)

But I think this is kind of also a class thing. Because if you say you did this, but you did it to honor beautiful Africans or it was just a one time thing... I don't think the people who have done this understand how aware and relatively smart working class people would 'read' all this.

It's like, no. No. The Va. AG says he did it one time and it doesn't reflect who he is or was. No. No no no no no. No. It reflects a LONG established, in your life, negative racist attitude AND animosity AND the desire to humiliate black people AND to do so with impunity AND with the arrogance of knowing that you can do that shit and you'll be just fine in your life. That takes time. Generations. Like minded peers. On and on. I come from such a rough place. And there was lots of racial animus. But I don't know anyone who has ever DONE this. Ever in my life.

Joy Behar. I don't know who she was when she did this. I'm not going to debate the shade of makeup she used. She wasn't going for a tanned Raquel Welch, that we know. She says it was a beautiful African woman costume. I'm just saying, I never knew anyone who did this stuff. Me? I say fire her. Because I want people who have done this rooted out of whatever high and mighty place they're in and let's just keep digging away at this. Because I don't see dressing up in blackface as something that reflects an isolated moment. And I certainly don't buy that Joy Behar was doing it to honor African women. She may not have been coming from the same place as these fine southern gentlemen, but NOBODY doesn't know that this shit is what it is. Not now and not when Joy Behar was 29.

But you know in the case of Joy Behar I'm just giving my opinion, I'd be interested to see where people in this group come down.



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justintyme



Joined: 08 Jul 2012
Posts: 7169
Location: Northfield, MN


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PostPosted: 02/08/19 4:11 am    ::: Re: Blackface Reply Reply with quote

jammerbirdi wrote:
but NOBODY doesn't know that this shit is what it is. Not now and not when Joy Behar was 29.

Well, let's do the math. She was born in 1942, so when she was 29 we are talking 1971-1972.

So honestly this comes down to whether or not in those years it was widely understood that:

1) blackface was/is racist, and
2) any skin darkening to emulate a person of color was/is considered blackface.

This is important to distinguish, for while this has always been highly offensive to most African-Americans, and thus has always been a racist act, our culture did a shit job actually listening to them. Even after the civil rights movement. So because of that, what was racist and what individual people understood to be racist could be two entirely different things.

And this is, imo, one of them.

In 1972, it was understood fairly well that blackface performances and depictions were racist. That those over-the-top caricatures were highly offensive, and had no business in American culture.

But where this gets tricky is part #2. In 1972 I think the vast majority of white Americans would have been utterly shocked if you told them that any darkening of the skin to portray an African-American is "blackface", even if they were not acting in an exaggerated or caricatured fashion. The thing they thought of as racist was a very specific thing, not a general prohibition on emulation. This understanding did not come until relatively recently (say within the last 20 years or so). Hell, within my childhood children were still dressing up as their favorite African-American stars for Halloween and no one was even blinking at it. And these were not people who harbored racist beliefs. It was just a cultural blindspot, a cultural ignorance that they literally had no way of overcoming as no one had ever told them. People simply didn't know.

So, that being said, I have a hard time with going back that far unless there is more to it. If there is racist context that goes with the costume (like posing next to a KKK dude, or posing as a hurricane Katrina victim, or actually acting like a cartoonish caricature, etc) then sure, fuck them. Bit of it is just someone who didn't know, just like most of society at that time, that's pretty rough judge.



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Stonington_QB



Joined: 05 Jul 2013
Posts: 421
Location: Your safe space


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PostPosted: 02/08/19 1:49 pm    ::: Re: Blackface Reply Reply with quote

jammerbirdi wrote:
I'm just saying, I never knew anyone who did this stuff. Me? I say fire her.


I'm not disagreeing with that point of view, but others in the entertainment industry have done far worse and get a free pass for their sins a lot more recently.

Jimmy Kimmel in blackface:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-_fy6PwcC0

Jimmy Fallon in blackface:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E37BSMRA7-o

And I'm not hearing anyone giving as much as a damn about them.

With regards to the two VA pols and Joy Behar, by this time next week all will be forgotten.


Howee



Joined: 27 Nov 2009
Posts: 11486
Location: Oklahoma (in my heart), whilst on my way to Oregon!


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PostPosted: 02/08/19 6:49 pm    ::: Re: Blackface Reply Reply with quote

justintyme wrote:
So honestly this comes down to whether or not in those years it was widely understood that:

1) blackface was/is racist, and
2) any skin darkening to emulate a person of color was/is considered blackface.


Hairs are getting split ad infinitum til this is all said and done.
Hypotheticals:
1. If a young black girl dons a "Cinderella" costume for Hallowe'en, and it comes with a face mask of the Disney princess, is this racist "white face"??
2. If a white boy chooses to wear a "Black Panther" costume (assuming it might come with an appropriate face mask), is it racist "black face"?
3. If a community theater in the middle of North Dakota wants to do "To Kill a Mockingbird", and there are no black performers, must they just give it up, or can they implement 'make up' to fulfill the role?.

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"

HISTORICALLY, Blackface has been a denigrating thing, portraying people in a less than positive light. And we are at a very sensitive time in our culture (appropriately so, I might add....) when our history of racial inequality and abuse is being spotlighted.

MANY, MANY things have happened in the past, and we GOTTA move on, move forward. NO MORE insensitivity tolerated, but ya....let's focus more on where an individual is/what they are doing TODAY, not what they did 20 years ago.



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