Blackface…Again

Blackface…Again

Hello Meltingpot Readers,

I have to apologize for the ‘interruption in service.’ Ms. Meltingpot is up to her ears in work, all related to being Professor Meltingpot. The semester is almost over, so that means finals to correct, amongst a list of other duties I must complete. So, please pardon my paltry postings these days.

Okay, now let’s get back to business.

Dear readers, I don’t know if I mentioned here that I wrote an article for TheGrio.com a few weeks about the prevalence of blackface all around the world. In the article, I gave examples of ‘international blackface’ from Spain, Japan and Holland. Since then, I can’t seem to stop hearing about new cases of blackface being used in different countries. Today, somebody sent me a link about an Israeli soldier donning blackface in imitation of President Obama. After reading the article, it seems questionable whether one would consider what the solider did as ‘blackface,’ but it is clearly offensive.

What do you think, dear readers? Should people living outside the United States get a free pass for blackface? I don’t think so. I think blackface is offensive — not to mention humiliating and painful — to any Black person, regardless of national origin. And I think any White person smearing their face with dark matter in crude imitation of Black people, ought to be ashamed. And I think the practice should be put to death, along with other outdated modes of racist imagery, like lawn jockeys and white pointy hoods. But that’s just my opinion.

Feel free to tell me what you think. About blackface, the Israeli soldier now in the hot seat, or what kind of Christmas cookies you’re planning to bake. I’m here to listen.

Peace!

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7 thoughts on “Blackface…Again

  1. Shirley

    Old age is really taking a toll on me. I think people offend to easily. Many people have different ways of expressing themselves and how each of us react to those expressions of others really says alot about their own insecurities. A recent comparison to the blackface situation is the recent uproar of the Native Americans being insulted when people paint their faces and wear Indian clothing. Recently, a third grade class was studying Thanksgiving and when they learned about the kindness the Native Americans showed to the Pilgrims they wondered why we did not celebrate/honor the kindness of the the Indians to stangers who had landed on Plymonth Rock. So they planned a big class celebration to honor our Native American Heritage. They decided to decorate their classroom and dress as the Native Americans did. They even hired a Indian artist to provide face painting for the kids. This whole activity was done out of kindness and good thoughts only. The when a group of Native Americans found out about it, they openly complained and said that it was an insult to Native Americans. The reasons stated was not even understood by the 3rd graders who planned the ceremoney. The Native Americans likened it to Blackface. Go figure… You can always find something to be upset or offended by in life. Let’s be clear about intent before we get too worked up over nothing.

    1. Ms. Meltingpot

      Shirley,
      I appreciate your example and it is really helpful to look at these issues from all sides. Still,I have to honor the feelings of those who may feel insulted or made fun of, even if the perpetuators meant no harm. Remember that old adage, ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Even if somebody isn’t meaning to hurt, the pain felt is still real.
      Is there a solution there? No. Just another way to think about it.

  2. Olivia

    I got it from this website. She also mentions Beef Wellington and Parsnip mashed potatoes. The potatoes sound great, but I don’t eat meat so I’ll have to have someone else try it.
    http://travelbystove.blogspot.com/2011/11/recipes-from-antarctica.html

  3. Wendy

    I feel very uncomfortable expecting people from other countries to know what is a offensive to any American. Be it something deeply upsetting and racist like black face or something insignificant like keeping your elbows off of the table.
    This example doesn’t quite work given the prominence of the United States on the world stage, but I wouldn’t know what may or may not offend a Tamil in Sri Lanka.

    1. Ms. Meltingpot

      Wendy,
      I feel you. I understand that it is inconceivable that someone should know what is offensive in every country. That being said, blackface is insulting in almost every country, even if there isn’t a strong enough public black voice to express the outrage. Certain things, I think, are universally offensive. But maybe I’m wrong.

  4. Olivia

    I’m in agreement. Blackface should be penalized worldwide. I’ll have to do some research though, as I don’t know if it has the same negative connotation and stigma in other countries as it does here. However, whether it does or not, it’s offensive and simply serves to drive a bigger wedge between people of the African diaspora and those whose lineage has extended further out from it.
    As far as Christmas cookies, I was thinking about a recipe I found online that is made in Antarctica. Since there aren’t actually any indigenous people there, and the ones that are are like the polar United Nations, it’s a recipe made for them at their research bases. It has lots of chocolate chips. 🙂

    1. Ms. Meltingpot

      Olivia,
      You have me totally intrigued with those ‘North Pole cookies.”

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