View Poll Results: Have You Every Worn Blackface
Yes 14 4.91%
No 271 95.09%
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  #51  
Old 02-07-2019, 12:16 PM
kopek kopek is offline
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Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
Speaking of offensive Halloween costumes, a friend once went as Charles Manson. His hair and makeup were professionally done (by a beautician/cosmetologist friend) and he really pulled off the part. The swastika scar on his forehead caused some outrage, though.
While I was at Pitt almost all my Halloween costumes were offensive to someone or other. I always assumed that was part of the college experience; stupidity.
  #52  
Old 02-07-2019, 12:52 PM
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I've done silver (alien), white (clown) and red (devil) but never black. Back in the early 80's at Ohio University for Halloween I saw a group of guys in blackface as a "ghetto gang" and thought what a bunch of preppy frat aholes. No imagination to do a real costume, just using Halloween to show that they could get away with being overt racist. So no, it wasn't cool even back then. Also I never saw anyone with the balls to wear a Klan outfit on Halloween.
  #53  
Old 02-07-2019, 12:56 PM
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10 Dopers have answered "yes" -- anyone want to volunteer?
  #54  
Old 02-07-2019, 09:48 PM
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Now that I wouldn't count. Simply wearing black makeup (without the special lips and everything) while not being black doesn't make it to blackface.

That said, I would advise anyone against it, lest it be seen like "niggardly," an excuse to not quite be wearing blackface.

Oh, and no for me. Before I knew about blackface, it would have never occurred to me to paint my face with normal human colors, nor with solid black. But I learned well before I was an adult.
I'm envisioning when I took the hat off.
  #55  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:13 PM
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Now that I wouldn't count. Simply wearing black makeup (without the special lips and everything) while not being black doesn't make it to blackface.

I'm thinking of the twins that dressed as Peter Pan and his shadow.



Myself, I'd like to go in the deepest of black clothing and makeup, dotted with luminescent paint, and walk up to everyone saying "I am the night."
  #56  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:15 PM
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Nope, not me. But I thought I remembered somebody in my own mid-80s high school yearbook in blackface, and when I checked today, sure enough, there he was in pictures -- a guy I knew a little, in a Michael Jackson costume with his face painted perhaps a few shades darker than Michael Jackson ever was.

Nobody thought a thing of it at the time. IIRC he did all kinds of celebrity impersonations and was known for it. I suppose his life would be already ruined by now, if he'd grown up to be famous or a politician.

This was in suburban Southern California, in a medium-sized public high school with no African-American students then.
  #57  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:31 PM
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No. And I was on stage quite a bit. As a dancer. We did some character makeup a few times.
When my kids were in 4H we had a costume party for the preteen set. A parent brought her two white boys in full out blackface minstral makeup and costume. It was quite disturbing to see.
  #58  
Old 02-07-2019, 11:19 PM
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As a 16-year-old camp counselor-in-training, I did wear reddish-brown body paint as sachem (weekly quasi-Native American ceremony/games). Nunway!. I answered “no” for this poll, but if someone thinks that counts, I respect that opinion.
  #59  
Old 02-07-2019, 11:41 PM
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As a 16-year-old camp counselor-in-training, I did wear reddish-brown body paint as sachem (weekly quasi-Native American ceremony/games). Nunway!. I answered “no” for this poll, but if someone thinks that counts, I respect that opinion.
I was a gypsy for Halloween one year. I still cringe in shame thinking about it.
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  #60  
Old 02-08-2019, 12:09 AM
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I can’t even remember being around anyone who did it. I certainly never did.
  #61  
Old 02-08-2019, 12:14 AM
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Another question: have you ever displayed any Old Mammy memorabilia or a Lawn Jockey?
  #62  
Old 02-08-2019, 05:20 AM
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We didn't have a lawn jockey but I've seen quite a few. I'm not sure which is worse: leaving the original blackface or "whitewashing" them. Either way, they're extremely tacky.

Still better than lawn butts though.
  #63  
Old 02-08-2019, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by asahi View Post
Another question: have you ever displayed any Old Mammy memorabilia or a Lawn Jockey?
The reported offensiveness of "lawn jockeys" didn't make sense to me as a kid. But that's because the only kind I ever saw were the thin, fox-hunting-suited White ones (according to Wikipedia, these are called "Cavalier Spirit" models, a term I've never encountered before):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawn_j...ier_jockey.jpg

It wasn't until my teens that I saw the racist "Jocko" lawn jockeys:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawn_j...awn_jockey.jpg

These have been the subject of much parody. The "21 Club" in Manhattan has dozen of the Cavalier Spirit jockeys outside The cover of the April 1973 National Lampoon had a "White" lawn jockey outside what looks like an urban brownstone:

http://www.marksverylarge.com/issue-index/1973-04/
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  #64  
Old 02-08-2019, 09:48 AM
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Nope, not me. But I thought I remembered somebody in my own mid-80s high school yearbook in blackface, and when I checked today, sure enough, there he was in pictures -- a guy I knew a little, in a Michael Jackson costume with his face painted perhaps a few shades darker than Michael Jackson ever was.
Here's the thing that the 'what's the big deal' people don't seem to get - would he have darkened up to play an Italian, or lightened up to play a Swede? I doubt it, I've never seen people feel the need to do that. The idea that you can dress as a white guy by changing your hair and outfit, but need to put on dark makeup if you're going to dress as a black guy (even one as fair-skinned as Micheal Jackson) is explicitly treating black people as distinctly 'other' in a way that white people of various shades aren't.

I'll note that Weird Al Yankovic has been dressing as black celebrities to mock them for decades but oddly enough has never felt the need to wear blackface while doing so, and I've never heard of any significant number of people not getting that he's trying to look like Michael Jackson or Coolio or whoever.
  #65  
Old 02-08-2019, 10:01 AM
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In looking through the old Virginia med school yearbook from my father's graduation year, I found an architect's drawing of an impressive high-rise building captioned:

"Proposed New Hospital For Whites".
  #66  
Old 02-08-2019, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post

These have been the subject of much parody. The "21 Club" in Manhattan has dozen of the Cavalier Spirit jockeys outside The cover of the April 1973 National Lampoon had a "White" lawn jockey outside what looks like an urban brownstone:
There's a farm in Wisconsin that has two out by the highway, but they are painted in green and gold NFL uniforms and have Packer helmets. I think that's OK.

eta: Found it

Last edited by Just Asking Questions; 02-08-2019 at 10:18 AM.
  #67  
Old 02-08-2019, 01:00 PM
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No. I dressed up as a girl one Halloween, but no blackface. Seemed to have missed that one.
  #68  
Old 02-08-2019, 01:44 PM
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I haven't, but I am not at all sure that I wouldn't have if an occasion called for it. I don't think I even knew that blackface was offensive until I read a post here relatively recently (say, sometime between 2003 and 2008) about a blackface-themed college party.
  #69  
Old 02-08-2019, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by F. U. Shakespeare View Post
Yes. I'm a left-handed guitar player, and one Halloween around 30 years ago, I went as Jimi Hendrix (who played left-handed), complete with Stratocaster, headband, tie-dyed shirt, fake mustache, and light brown makeup.
Is it offensive if it is done in genuine admiration? I think most people would recognize that you were specifically Hendrix, as opposed to just a random Black man - if you had on a paisley shirt and were holding a white Stratocaster.
  #70  
Old 02-08-2019, 06:29 PM
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Is it offensive if it is done in genuine admiration? I think most people would recognize that you were specifically Hendrix, as opposed to just a random Black man - if you had on a paisley shirt and were holding a white Stratocaster.
A lot of people had a similar line of thought. The concensus is, yes it is. Mainly bc of the history of it, and beyond that , if you know it might be and still do it you're at the very least discounting what others might feel about it.
  #71  
Old 02-08-2019, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Pantastic View Post
The idea that you can dress as a white guy by changing your hair and outfit, but need to put on dark makeup if you're going to dress as a black guy (even one as fair-skinned as Micheal Jackson) is explicitly treating black people as distinctly 'other' in a way that white people of various shades aren't.

I'll note that Weird Al Yankovic has been dressing as black celebrities to mock them for decades but oddly enough has never felt the need to wear blackface while doing so, and I've never heard of any significant number of people not getting that he's trying to look like Michael Jackson or Coolio or whoever.
This is an excellent and thoughtful point. It's not like you need to change your skin color to successfully impersonate Michael Jackson -- the costume/voice/moves are all pretty iconic by themselves.
  #72  
Old 02-09-2019, 10:27 AM
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Is it offensive if it is done in genuine admiration? I think most people would recognize that you were specifically Hendrix, as opposed to just a random Black man - if you had on a paisley shirt and were holding a white Stratocaster.
Yes, it is offensive precisely because you feel the need to black up in order for it to be a Hendrix costume, but wouldn't white up if you were dressing as a white guitarist. I am pretty sure the idea of putting on white makeup to look like a guitarist who's usually untanned never even occurred to you, nor did matching skin tones with any of the European descended guitarists.

Last edited by Pantastic; 02-09-2019 at 10:31 AM.
  #73  
Old 02-09-2019, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Ulfreida View Post
Yes, context is king all right. But we need to bear in mind that white people do not get to decide what is offensive to black people. That is the entire point.

The average citizen of the world, whatever that is, doesn't get to decide either. American black people are the only ones being mocked, so they are the only ones who can judge. Whatever a white person's intent is now, after a few hundred years of a tradition of mocking and abasing via blackface, is not very relevant.
This sounds pretty racist.

Let me elaborate. That sounds extremely racist.

Last edited by Tempe Jeff; 02-09-2019 at 10:04 PM. Reason: Insufficient answer.
  #74  
Old 02-09-2019, 10:48 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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No, unless you count some candle-soot smudges on my face once when I was dressed as a hobo for Halloween. I was maybe eight.
  #75  
Old 02-09-2019, 11:30 PM
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This sounds pretty racist.

Let me elaborate. That sounds extremely racist.
I love that you thought your answer was insufficient, so you clarified by using a bigger adverb.

If you're using a definition of "racist" that applies to Ulfreida's post -- a post that boils down to, "only the folks being mocked should get to evaluate how harmful the mockery is"--you've got a pretty trifling definition of "racist."

Let me elaborate. You've got an extremely trifling definition of "racist."
  #76  
Old 02-10-2019, 12:58 AM
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I have never worn blackface but know people who have. At an Anthropology Club Halloween party in my undergrad university, one student and his roommate came as black men. Not just blackface but blackbody. Even the black students thought it was funny. They were so unrecognizable that the host thought a couple of black guys were committing a home invasion and almost called the police.
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  #77  
Old 02-10-2019, 01:20 AM
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10 Dopers have answered "yes" -- anyone want to volunteer?
Dutch here. I have dressed up as Black Pete several times. You have Santa and his elves; we have Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet (Black Pete).

Only in the last 8 years or so have the Dutch started to admit that the Black Pete tradition may be hurtful to colored people. But many, most actually, still hold the position that Black Pete is a beloved innocent folk tradition and that calling it racist is pc ness taken entirely too far.
https://www.google.nl/amp/s/relay.na...rte-piet-dutch
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  #78  
Old 02-10-2019, 05:56 AM
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Only in the last 8 years or so have the Dutch started to admit that the Black Pete tradition may be hurtful to colored people.

You can't say "colored people"--you have to say "people of color." If you fail to find this a difference of meaningful, prepare to face people of anger who will consider you a person of racism.
  #79  
Old 02-10-2019, 09:42 AM
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You can't say "colored people"--you have to say "people of color." If you fail to find this a difference of meaningful, prepare to face people of anger who will consider you a person of racism.
NAACP = The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is a civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909 as a bi-racial endeavor to advance justice for African Americans by a group including W. E. B. Du Bois, Mary White Ovington and Moorfield Storey.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NAACP

Do you really think blacks would give a prominent black organization a racist name? "colored people" is not racist; it is simply out of style.
  #80  
Old 02-10-2019, 04:08 PM
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You can't say "colored people"--you have to say "people of color." If you fail to find this a difference of meaningful, prepare to face people of anger who will consider you a person of racism.
My god, the petulance of people upset about changing social norms.
  #81  
Old 02-10-2019, 04:12 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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On-target SNL skit from last night: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrpQVSVa2QI
  #82  
Old 02-10-2019, 04:23 PM
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My god, the petulance of people upset about changing social norms.

No, it is the utter silliness of reversing the order of the two words and then asserting that it is an important and meaningful difference.
  #83  
Old 02-10-2019, 04:42 PM
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No, it is the utter silliness of reversing the order of the two words and then asserting that it is an important and meaningful difference.
Social norms, idioms, and human language in general do not follow computer logic, and expecting them to do so is, what's the phrase, "utter silliness."
  #84  
Old 02-10-2019, 04:55 PM
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No, but I did once wear what in hindsight was a very ill-conceived ghost costume, made from a white sheet.

I'm just glad that I'm not running for office, and that no pictures of that costume have survived to the present day.
You wouldn't be in trouble about just a white sheet, but it AND a pointy white cone hat would make some problems for you.
  #85  
Old 02-10-2019, 05:02 PM
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Social norms, idioms, and human language in general do not follow computer logic, and expecting them to do so is, what's the phrase, "utter silliness."

Maybe I'm being a fart of oldness and can no longer understand the kids of cool.
  #86  
Old 02-10-2019, 05:06 PM
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You wouldn't be in trouble about just a white sheet, but it AND a pointy white cone hat would make some problems for you.

Also, avoid waffle cones.
  #87  
Old 02-10-2019, 08:26 PM
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Other than Mrs. Beaver in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Halloween and stage costumes were as Caucasian as I am, AFAIR.
  #88  
Old 02-10-2019, 10:07 PM
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My problem with the question is the change of definitions that we have had in the past two weeks. Putting makeup on your face to darken it to impersonate a black person as part of a costume is not "blackface." Blackface has/had a specific definition.

The guy on the right is dressed in blackface: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackf...nWare_edit.jpg
  #89  
Old 02-10-2019, 10:42 PM
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I voted yes.
I once was Balthazar (the black wise man) ad my mom used burnt cork to darken my face. Ditto in first or second grade when dancing an afro-Peruvian dance. Not strictly blackface, maybe.

Here in Peru, there are a number of places that have a traditional "Danza de Negritos" (video) in which dancers, of Andean descent, wear masks ad costumes representing black men. These dances come from colonial times, nobody considers them insulting or racist.
  #90  
Old 02-11-2019, 07:36 AM
BeagleJesus BeagleJesus is offline
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On-target SNL skit from last night: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrpQVSVa2QI
I have had similar conversations in real life about blackface, white folks using the word nigger, why it’s wrong to consider all black folks to be criminals, etc.

It was really fun when after Chris Rock did his nigger vs black people routine a number of my white friends felt it was important to let me know that they consider me to be a black person and not a nigger...then they proceeded to tell me what they thought of niggers. There was a lot of enlightenment to be had that day.

I imagine women deal with similar issues with the #MeToo movement. As soon as you highlight the problem it feels like everyone goes to work trying to redefine the line between acceptable and unacceptable instead of taking a step back and asking “Am I part of the problem?”

Last edited by BeagleJesus; 02-11-2019 at 07:37 AM.
  #91  
Old 02-11-2019, 07:50 AM
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I once went to a costume party dressed as someone who was born a poor black child, but it it didn't require darkening anything.
  #92  
Old 02-11-2019, 07:54 AM
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I remember a Halloween party at a local bar in Virginia in the late 80s ar which a guy I knew went in blackface with a big afro wig and spent the whole night talking in an exaggerated Amos and Andy voice. I remember thinking it was pretty fucked up, but other people thought it was hysterical.
  #93  
Old 02-11-2019, 09:32 AM
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OH and in theatre in HS we DID have white people sometimes portray black roles, but no make-up was used. This I only saw done in Spoon River Anthology and in....Purlie Victorious I think. The school was half black and half white. Guess there just wern't enough people to fill certain roles.
I was a theatre major in college. A few years after I graduated, one of the plays on the roster was For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide (When the Rainbow is Enuf). I don’t what they were thinking. My college theatre department was pretty much all white. I wasn’t a student at the time, so I wasn’t privy do the discussions and rumors around this decision, maybe they thought they were opening up some opportunities for African-American students. They may have engaged in some outreach to encourage them to audition. But if they did, it didn’t work. So they ended up performing this show with an all white cast. I believe they darkened the skin of the actresses and cornrowed their hair.
I really don’t know what the fuck they were thinking. That work is more than a play with black actresses, it’s an exploration of African-American experience. It was a disturbing decision.

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Originally Posted by JKellyMap View Post
As a 16-year-old camp counselor-in-training, I did wear reddish-brown body paint as sachem (weekly quasi-Native American ceremony/games). Nunway!. I answered “no” for this poll, but if someone thinks that counts, I respect that opinion.
Oh , the red-brown body paint. When I was in college most of us theatre students got jobs at one of the historical outdoor dramas performed throughout the South. Most of those plays had a plot line featuring European settlers and Indians. The actors portraying the Indians were required to wear a red-brown body makeup called, IIRC, Texas dirt. This caused a lot of backstage drama because

1. Everyone hated to wear it.

2. Although the actors were all Caucasian, some of them had a darker natural skin tone than others, especially once the summer suntans appeared.

So some actors felt strongly that they didn’t need to wear the body make-up. Other actors felt strongly that if they had to wear it, everyone had to wear it. Conflicts ensued.
  #94  
Old 02-11-2019, 02:14 PM
Apollyon Apollyon is offline
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Yes, it is offensive precisely because you feel the need to black up in order for it to be a Hendrix costume, but wouldn't white up if you were dressing as a white guitarist.
So provided I whiten up to become Bowie's Ziggy Stardust I'm golden to darken up to cosplay Hendrix.

As to OP, no never blackface... covered in mud once for a performance of an excerpt of Monty Python's Holy Grail.
  #95  
Old 02-11-2019, 02:24 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is online now
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On-target SNL skit from last night: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrpQVSVa2QI
What if I printed up a picture of Tina Turner for a play and wore that with fishnet and a sequin dress and sang "private dancer"?

ok....what if people thought it was funny?

I may need to change my poll answer.

Last edited by Dale Sams; 02-11-2019 at 02:24 PM.
  #96  
Old 02-18-2019, 03:38 PM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
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There's a CNN poll showing a third of people think blackface is okay if it's a Halloween costume. That seems to be the sole exception. Can't find the link to it now, but it was a week or two ago.

EDIT: Found it.
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Last edited by Siam Sam; 02-18-2019 at 03:41 PM.
  #97  
Old 02-18-2019, 09:44 PM
JpnDude JpnDude is offline
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For Halloween in grade school one year, I was a hobo. My blackened face was just to appear dirty from traveling with the trains. :-)
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