Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Black Face again... geeze!

The Black-Face Debate... How do you feel?
So, today I was browsing the net and ran across the latest 'black-face' issues. A Dallas Cowboy cheerleader was 'suspended' for going to a Halloween party as rapper 'Lil Wayne (see pic and link below)

Now, IF you think the way I do, I'm wondering.... what happens to the other people in the picture dressed as Hispanics? Do they get in trouble for painting their faces brown? Is that now also 'racism'?

My Take On This:
Yes, I am aware of the 'history' of the whole black-face thing... at least some of it. If you need to read up on it, I've included a link: http://etext.virginia.edu/railton/huckfinn/minstrl.html . Is Black-face offensive to me as a black woman? Well, for me (again- I say FOR ME..as in MY PERSONAL OPINION...as in I'm NOT SPEAKING on behalf of ALL black people..as in I'm not saying another person's opinion is 'wrong'... ) For me, it's only offensive sometimes. When is that you may ask? Well, I think if a person dresses in black-face to negatively imitate, poke fun at, belittle, blatantly disrespct a black person, then yes- that's disrespectful. An example of what I'm referring to would be: If a non-black person dresses as a slave for Halloween, that would kinda piss me off. If he or she opts to exaggerate the facial features (making the lips HUGE and PINK), and using the dialect of the whole 'yes suh', 'naw suh', yess'um, and so on....then THAT to me is EXTREMELY offensive. Or, if someone (non-black) dressed as President Obama in "black face" and instead of wearing a suit, they wore 'thug gear' (thug gear by MY definition= baggy over sized clothes), with braids, and walked around greeting other party goers as 'massa' or what not... THAT to me would be offensive. If someone (non-black) dressed as Oprah in 'black face' with booty shorts, different colored weave, long finger nails, and gold teeth, THAT would be offensive to me.
Now- what 'black face' wouldn't be offensive to me? Example: THIS CHEERLEADER... dressed as a black rapper for HALLOWEEN. I mean, seeing, her I wouldn't have IMMEDIATELY guessed 'Lil Wayne, after she announced it, I can 'kinda' see it. After all, it WAS Halloween. I've seen NO photos of her being 'disrespectful' of 'Lil Wayne. (Mind you, I wasn't at the party, so I don't know what all went on...I am ONLY basing my opinion on the photos that I've seen via internet). She was white... she didn't didn't have dread locs, she wasn't a rapper, she didn't have 'grillz'... SOOO in order to get the 'look' of a black rapper with dreads and a grill, she kinda HAD to do a little 'make up' right? Another example (as stated in previous paragraph), if a non black person dressed as President Obama 'in black face', but had big ears, dressed in a suit, just 'hanging' out AT a costume party, giving people the 'fist bump'...I don't see the problem. He is a black man with big ears, who did the fist bump A LOT during his campaign. If someone (non-black) dressed as Oprah (in black face) for a Halloween party, with long black hair (weave or not), a nice dress and a microphone, and a wad of cash as props, and just chillin... I don't see a problem with that. After all she is a black talk show host (microphone) with a KAJILLIONZ of dollars! (Oh..in my Obama/Oprah expamples..when I say 'and just chillin- I'm meaning just hanging out, no stupidity, no 'stereotypical disrespectful phrases' and what not...)
I even read an article somewhere where Hary Conick, Jr was offended after seeing an Australian game show (similar to the Gong Show), where a group of non-blacks dressed in Black-Face as the Jacksons. Where is the 'immitation is the sincerest form of flattery'? I will admit I didn't read the whole article, so I'm not sure if they were being disrespectful as the Jacksons or if they just 'competed' as the Jacksons. IF they only competed as the Jacksons, then, again, WHERE is the problem? (then again, if they dressed as the Jacksons in black face with the painted on exaggerated pink lips and the 'naw suh', yess'm dialect..then that's different.)
Now...how do YOU feel about this? Am I crazy to not be overly sensitive about the black face thing? Am I a 'sell out' to my african american people for not being offended by a girl dressing up as a black rapper on a day desiginated for 'DRESS UP'?
Although I do ask your take on it, I don't think I'm crazy! LOL I mean I know racism is real. I was born and raised in South Mississippi- I've experienced some things first hand...so YES racism IS in deed real. BUT in my experiences- I've found/feel that a lot of the racial problems are because some of us (black people) LOOK for reasons to shout and cry racism. Some cries are most certainly legitimate. Other, are just noise in my opinion. There is NOTHING I hate more than to hear young black people say things like 'yeah, they gave the job to that white dude just cause he was white.' I can't TELL you the number of times I've heard this. THEN when I bring up the issue of 'well, when you went to the interview, did you present yourself in the best light possible? Did you go clean cut and well groomed? Did you wear well fitting clothes, nice shirt and tie? Did you speak as best you could?' I get the crazy look of 'oh, you just spoiled and you're a sell out... you got it easy because of who your parents are'. THAT, I do take offense to! Why? Because my parents are NOT celebs...not even on a local level. What they are are a teacher in the public school system, and a technician who saw fit for them to raise my sister and I up in a world where we'd be equipt enough to compete on all levels in all aspects of life with people of ANY race, sex, or socio-economic status- and fair very well! Now- unfortunately for some of my fellow black people, they don't know HOW to interview for jobs. They don't know HOW to dress properly for a job because far too many times their parents were never gainfully employed enough to know how to teach them to do better. My issue with this is- THERE ARE MEANS to get answers and help. That's why I don't typically have sympathy for those who mope around complaining about 'not having a job because the white man got it just because he was white'. Ewww that irks my nerves! My gosh 'my people'... ask questions... try to improve... do your best... stop expecting things to be handed to you! YES- our people were slaves at one point and time. YES- it's been tough on us as a people to get ahead... BUT YES- opportunities today that are presented to white America are also presented to Black America (well, not all, but wwwaaayyy more than not- again, that is just my opinion). Yes- America hasn't always been kind to us. No- America isn't going to pay YOU for back time because your great great great great great great grandpa was a slave. N0- not many people are going to feel sorry for you just because you are from the lineage of slaves and give you a job as CEO of a company... We gotta do better. We've GOT to get up and get out and promote ourselves as our BEST selves to get the BEST jobs for a BETTER life. (sigh) Okay, I think I'm done with my preaching now! I turned this one into something TOTALLY different that what I thought I was going to start it LOL... but anyway, it's said now...
Finally... back to original Black-Face topic- I found this link about another black face incident. http://gothamist.com/2009/11/01/blackface_costume_gets_student_sent.php I'm still out on my decision about how I feel about this one. Until I decide... you tell me how you feel... mkay?!?


  1. Very good post.
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    Very very very good post.
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    Thank you very much.

  2. I couldn't leave a comment here, so I left out in the coffee shop

  3. Thanks for the post! As a white male I'm hardly qualified to comment on the situation, but I agree with your take on the situation. Overall, no matter what group one belongs to, I think people in America are far too sensitive and consistently fail to see when certain behaviors are actually benign.

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  5. Very nice post. Few things offend, very few infact. Its not the words or the acts that ever offend me, it's the meaning or the actions that are behind them that do. I think you hit it on the nose here. The cheerleader was out having fun on halloween, she wasn't going around making fun of black people (to my knowledged anyway).