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Old 02-02-2019, 01:34 PM
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What exactly qualifies as blackface? What forms are offensive and why?

I understand the stereotyping associated with the old minstrel shows and why the strictly defined blackface as a genre was so racist but I'm struggling to understand how examples like these qualify as blackface or why they would be inherently offensive. Is it just because it's a parallel or reminder to actual blackface?
Or because it's just a slippery slope?

Other articles claim that even playing a black videogame character down to as simple as controlling a black football player in a sports game or using black emojis is digital blackface , which seems ridiculous.....what is the line exactly? And why?


https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...wzcsqR&ampcf=1

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...wzcsqR&ampcf=1

Also, if I were an actor and played a Jewish man or gay man would this be just as bad?


I'm genuinely puzzled here.
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Old 02-02-2019, 02:55 PM
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There is no line. There is no such thing as "offensive". People choose to be offended by things they don't like or are sensitive to. You could create an algorithm for guessing what sorts of things might trigger people, but it would be more of a curve than a line, and might even have contradictory results in different demographics, or even the same demographics.

There's also no definitive idea of what blackface is. Originally it was literally bad makeup to superficially resemble people due to racial stereotypes that were being mocked. A case could be made to expand this as a euphemism for other forms of racial mockery or cases of black makeup which may or may not intentionally resemble actual black face. Then it came to be associated with cultural appropriation and even Halloween and dress as your hero or book report subject day. Now it is so broad as to be near meaningless.

You could broadly divide it I suppose:
1) intentionally being a jerk
2) unintentionally resembling a jerk
3) having good intentions but accidentally tiggering sensitive people
4) being prejudged and therefore all behavior will be considered offensive regardless of any other factor

It's also obviously context specific. The United States has a particularly troublesome history of racial divide based on an especially dichotomous model of race (as well as specifically minstrel shows), so it is going to be one of the top hotspots for it. And the way social media as well as clickbait sites work tends to highlight the most extreme voices on any side of every topic, so today is going to seem like the day the most people are upset about something.

Last edited by jackdavinci; 02-02-2019 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:09 PM
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Last night I read an excellent Wikipedia article entitled "Blackface". It provides a historical context in which to set the offensive nature of blackface.
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:17 PM
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Last night I read an excellent Wikipedia article entitled "Blackface". It provides a historical context in which to set the offensive nature of blackface.
I probably read the same one.

Seems " blackface " was an actual genre at one point , with some trying to be authentic, including actual black people.

Though the offensive part was out of promoting stereotypes.
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:22 PM
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There is no line. There is no such thing as "offensive". People choose to be offended by things they don't like or are sensitive to. You could create an algorithm for guessing what sorts of things might trigger people, but it would be more of a curve than a line, and might even have contradictory results in different demographics, or even the same demographics.

There's also no definitive idea of what blackface is. Originally it was literally bad makeup to superficially resemble people due to racial stereotypes that were being mocked. A case could be made to expand this as a euphemism for other forms of racial mockery or cases of black makeup which may or may not intentionally resemble actual black face. Then it came to be associated with cultural appropriation and even Halloween and dress as your hero or book report subject day. Now it is so broad as to be near meaningless.

You could broadly divide it I suppose:
1) intentionally being a jerk
2) unintentionally resembling a jerk
3) having good intentions but accidentally tiggering sensitive people
4) being prejudged and therefore all behavior will be considered offensive regardless of any other factor

It's also obviously context specific. The United States has a particularly troublesome history of racial divide based on an especially dichotomous model of race (as well as specifically minstrel shows), so it is going to be one of the top hotspots for it. And the way social media as well as clickbait sites work tends to highlight the most extreme voices on any side of every topic, so today is going to seem like the day the most people are upset about something.
Makes sense, I've always had trouble understanding anything that's subjective.

Those broad divisions make sense too.

What doesn't make sense is that it seems with 3 and 4 that normally reasonable people are eager to jump on a bandwagon deriding someone in that category.

To the point that say some kid wanted to dress as Micheal Jordan for Halloween, there's no way in hell you could let him.

This seems to be counterproductive to equality.

Even promoting a form of segregation of heroes.

Last edited by Littleman; 02-02-2019 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 02-02-2019, 06:29 PM
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Other articles claim that ... using black emojis is digital blackface , which seems ridiculous.....what is the line exactly? And why?
Can't find anything on video games. Here's one from Teen Vogue (yes, they cover politics and culture) on not emojis but reaction GIFs as "digital blackface." It's quite nuanced and acknowledges the fraughtness and complexity of the topic.
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There’s no prescriptive or proscriptive step-by-step rulebook to follow, nobody’s coming to take GIFs away. But no digital behavior exists in a deracialized vacuum. We all need to be cognizant of what we share, how we share, and to what extent that sharing dramatizes preexisting racial formulas inherited from “real life.”
In the Teen Vogue article and this compiled comment thread by a historian of blackface, you'll find arguments about the harm that blackface has done through American history -- harm that goes beyond hurt feelings. According to these writers, blackface is not bad merely because it's offensive; it's bad because it normalizes white supremacy, an ideology that causes violence and death to this day. (I will point out that white people who grew up with this in the culture were hurt by it as well: we had to unlearn a lot of what we learned as children if we wanted to get along in a diverse society. Small potatoes, maybe, but I'd rather grow up today without racist cartoons on my TV.)


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Also, if I were an actor and played a Jewish man or gay man would this be just as bad?
I mean, there are traditions of anti-Semitic stereotyping and camped-up portrayals of gay men on stage and screen, so ... avoid engaging in those? Many think there is something special in the US about blackface, just as there's something special about the n-word, and it comes out of our history -- it can't be derived logically from first principles. So "just as bad?"
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I'm genuinely puzzled here.
Well, good luck.
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Old 02-02-2019, 06:56 PM
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I think the history of minstrel shows in the US has tainted all acts of dressing up as a different race, even when it's not specifically a caricature. The cultural wound is still sore.

Maybe, in the future, if institutional racism stops being such a pervasive problem, non-caricature "blackface" will become as inoffensive as crossdressing. Right now? Best to err on the side of caution.
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:10 PM
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If a white kid wants to be Michael Jordan for Hallowe'en, he can dress up in Bulls #23 kit and a bald wig and carry a basketball--done. Not offensive, nobody'd have a problem. But as soon as you try to paint him black, it's offensive and you're over the line.

Because the main way someone would know you're cosplaying Michael Jordan is that you're WEARING HIS UNIFORM. Nobody would figure out that a kid with the same natural complexion as Jordan was cosplaying him if he was just wearing a polo shirt and khakis. Jordan is a BASKETBALL PLAYER so you'd make it clear that you're cosplaying A) a basketball player who is wearing B) Jordan's uniform.

And never, ever, EVER attempt to change your complexion to that of another human, that's rude. You can go zombie gross or witch green or vampire pale if you like because those are not real humans, but that's as far as the makeup acceptability goes.
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:12 PM
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The traditional "coon" makeup, with the shoe polish and the bare patch around the mouth representing oversized lips, is offensive no matter the context. The only way it's acceptable is as part of a historical presentation of how things used to be, and even there, you'll want to be careful.

A costume meant to portray a generic black person, rather than any specific individual, is offensive, regardless of what the makeup looks like.

A portrayal meant to depict racial stereotypes is offensive, no matter the details of the appearance or the specificity of the individual.

Realistic dark makeup as part of an attempt to sincerely portray a specific individual is not inherently offensive, but because of the long history in this country of the offensive uses of dark makeup, it's probably still unwise and best avoided.
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by SmartAleq View Post
If a white kid wants to be Michael Jordan for Hallowe'en, he can dress up in Bulls #23 kit and a bald wig and carry a basketball--done. Not offensive, nobody'd have a problem. But as soon as you try to paint him black, it's offensive and you're over the line.

Because the main way someone would know you're cosplaying Michael Jordan is that you're WEARING HIS UNIFORM. Nobody would figure out that a kid with the same natural complexion as Jordan was cosplaying him if he was just wearing a polo shirt and khakis. Jordan is a BASKETBALL PLAYER so you'd make it clear that you're cosplaying A) a basketball player who is wearing B) Jordan's uniform.

And never, ever, EVER attempt to change your complexion to that of another human, that's rude. You can go zombie gross or witch green or vampire pale if you like because those are not real humans, but that's as far as the makeup acceptability goes.
What about an Obama presidential mask?

I think I get the dark makeup thing....it's basically bc it's going to make people think of the history right?

Last edited by Littleman; 02-02-2019 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:33 PM
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Which rules out Mace windu for any white kid, but it's probably gonna come off racist for a group of people going to comic Con to make their black friend be Mace or Lando.
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:37 PM
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Id have no issue with some one black doing whiteface for character but it doesn't have the history.

Would it be offensive to suggest?


All in all I know these are mostly just rare and minor inconveniences but I'm just trying to get a better grasp of all this.

Last edited by Littleman; 02-02-2019 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:39 PM
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In 7th grade my kids had to perform a monologue in the character of an illustrious Virginian. My children are persons of color: brown. My daughter acquired a red wig and portrayed Lucille Ball. My son portrayed Booker T. Washington. Obviously no blackface was ever a possibility nor even thought of. We just put him in a suit and bow tie and he nailed it. I had fun helping them prepare and was proud of them both.
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:40 PM
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So people up In arms about the Bob Marley photo filter are basically being ridiculous, or no?
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Old 02-02-2019, 08:05 PM
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Which rules out Mace windu for any white kid, but it's probably gonna come off racist for a group of people going to comic Con to make their black friend be Mace or Lando.
Interesting thing about your chosen example of Mace Windu is that you actually can use a specific color to represent his character, but it is not of his skin.
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Old 02-02-2019, 08:14 PM
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I actually have all kinds if issues with this type of thing in my house.
My 10 year old often wants to emulate some black character or person as much as anyone else. It's also hard to explain to him what is appropriate here.

My 5 year old is strangely racist.
He's yelled out in a store " get me away from all these black people"

Thrown fits in a Mexican restaurant and refused to eat because the TV had Spanish channels on and just kept saying he hated Spanish people.

His aunt is Colombian and he yells at her to talk right because of her accent.

He will ask the channel be changed if there are black people on TV.

Some if this has stopped since we bought him some books with black kids and one in particular that was some kind of first. We explained that it was the first kids book with a little black boy and asked him how he would feel if there were no books with white kids.

He still does this cringy thing if there are black people on TV.

At 3 he didn't have that problem but he called a friend of mine "that chocolate guy" until he could remember his name was James.

So I'm also trying to figure out if we should ignore this, or try to do more to purposely intervene.
I just want to be careful not to create a negative association by pushing anything.

Last edited by Littleman; 02-02-2019 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 02-02-2019, 08:15 PM
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Interesting thing about your chosen example of Mace Windu is that you actually can use a specific color to represent his character, but it is not of his skin.
Aren't there only like four colors though?
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Old 02-02-2019, 09:24 PM
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Re "dressing up" as a black person.

By browning up your skin to play a character who just happens to be black, you're likening their skin color to a costume. That's not KKK racist, but it is still incredibly stupid.

Like, if I were going to cosplay David Bowie, I would go all glam rock. I'd get a red mullet wig and paint a big zigzag across my face and squeeze into some crazy looking tight-ass pants and some boots and then sling a guitar around my neck. Boom, I'm David Bowie. Slapping some white paint on my face would make me look stupid. I'd be basically telling everyone that I think white skin is David Bowie's signature, the thing that makes him special and recognizable.

That said, I don't think cosplaying a black person is the same thing as doing "blackface". There's a difference between applying make-up on your face in a careful, deliberate manner to simulate someone's real complexion and slapping on some black shoe polish. Michael Jackson did not have black skin. He had a medium brown complexion. If your costume is pretty much indistinguishable from what you'd find in a minstrel show, then yeah, you're gonna get a lot of side eye. This is true today and it would have been true in 1984 as well.

Dan Ackroyd did brownface in "Trading Places" and didn't catch any flak for it. Neither did Gene Wilder, Billy Crystal, or Robert Downey Jr.
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Old 02-02-2019, 10:01 PM
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Re "dressing up" as a black person.

By browning up your skin to play a character who just happens to be black, you're likening their skin color to a costume. That's not KKK racist, but it is still incredibly stupid.

Like, if I were going to cosplay David Bowie, I would go all glam rock. I'd get a red mullet wig and paint a big zigzag across my face and squeeze into some crazy looking tight-ass pants and some boots and then sling a guitar around my neck. Boom, I'm David Bowie. Slapping some white paint on my face would make me look stupid. I'd be basically telling everyone that I think white skin is David Bowie's signature, the thing that makes him special and recognizable.

That said, I don't think cosplaying a black person is the same thing as doing "blackface". There's a difference between applying make-up on your face in a careful, deliberate manner to simulate someone's real complexion and slapping on some black shoe polish. Michael Jackson did not have black skin. He had a medium brown complexion. If your costume is pretty much indistinguishable from what you'd find in a minstrel show, then yeah, you're gonna get a lot of side eye. This is true today and it would have been true in 1984 as well.

Dan Ackroyd did brownface in "Trading Places" and didn't catch any flak for it. Neither did Gene Wilder, Billy Crystal, or Robert Downey Jr.
Sounds sensible.
I think as someone said there's probably so much random clickbait that I have gotten a skewed perception that people are hypersensitive about it.

Sounds like an Obama mask would probably not cause a scene but a polo and khakis and a visor and golf club and brown skin for tiger woods likely would cause problems.

Since those president masks are pretty well done to represent the actual looks of someone even if they are a bit exaggerated.
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Old 02-02-2019, 10:19 PM
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So basically that type of thing it's just focus in anything else that you can and if it's not practical to make it recognizable then just forget it.

Last edited by Littleman; 02-02-2019 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 02-02-2019, 11:24 PM
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Masks are just that--accurate facial representations of specific people and as such are not inherently any sort of racial mockery or appropriation. Now wearing an Obama mask along with, oh say, a witch doctor costume, now that would be offensive but wearing the mask with a suit (or even board shorts!) to accurately reflect clothing Obama is known to wear is fine. It's the difference between homage and mockery.
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Old 02-03-2019, 01:57 AM
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I don't know why I'm posting this, but I've thought about it many times over the years, and especially the past 24 hours.

In 1987 or 88, I was 14 or 15, and my high school allowed us to wear costumes on Halloween. This was a Catholic all boys school, FWIW. I decided to be an Arab oil baron. I put on a three-piece pinstripe suit, something that looked vaguely like a keffiyeh and agal (dish towels, probably), and mirrored sunglasses, which to my 15-year-old self seemed like something you'd wear in the Arabian Peninsula. And I covered my skin with brown makeup.

I grew up in a somewhat rural exurb of St. Louis, where everyone was white. My parents were born in the 1930s and had the attitudes of many of their generation. My mom still occasionally mentions, with a laugh, how she and my dad went to a party in the 1950s dressed as Marilyn Monroe and Sammy Davis Jr. My dad, of course, blackened his face. I grew up hearing casual racial slurs routinely. So, when I announced I wanted to be an Arab for Halloween, no one said, "Oh shit, what are you thinking?!" My mom helped me select an appropriate shade of foundation.

Still, even though I grew up in a white exurb with parents whose views could be most charitably described as "dated", my high school was fairly diverse by local standards (St. Louis, as much as I love it, is a profoundly segregated city). While there were few black students when I attended, there were a significant number of students of Middle Eastern and South Asian heritage. My two closest friends were Indian. One of them, I'm still close to. He introduced me to my wife and was in my wedding party. My wife, too, is Indian.

And when I was 14 or 15, I spent a day parading around my school in brownface.

I hope there are no pictures, but my mom is obsessed with compiling the world's most comprehensive family photo album, and I'm sure she has preserved a photo of me from that day. I didn't keep any of my yearbooks, but there may well be one in there too. It's not that I'm ever going to run for office or anything. I just would rather the episode not be memorialized.

Of course I'm mortified by it now. At the time I just thought it was a clever costume. Even then, I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with my parents' attitudes and bigoted language, but I still didn't see my "Arab costume" as offensive, which of course it was. I don't recall getting any grief for it in school, other than for actually wearing a costume, which the cool kids didn't do. But no one called me out for wearing an offensive costume. My classmates mocked me for being a dork, not a racist. One of my teachers even gave me a public attaboy for having the guts to come to school in costume when almost no one else did.

I'm not trying to make any particular point about Gov. Northam. He was older, his costume was more obviously inspired by minstrelsy, and he's a politician. He needs to resign. I was just an adolescent nobody who didn't have a grownup to talk sense into me.

Last edited by Defensive Indifference; 02-03-2019 at 02:00 AM.
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Old 02-03-2019, 07:00 AM
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I've done it too. In the late 80s I dressed as a specific African American politician. No blackface - I had a mask - but I darkened my hands.

This was for a work Halloween event. Everyone loved it and I came in second place.

I'm sure this is offensive to many, but honestly, I don't get it.

In any case I shall not be running for political office.


mmm
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Old 02-03-2019, 08:23 AM
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IAnd never, ever, EVER attempt to change your complexion to that of another human, that's rude. You can go zombie gross or witch green or vampire pale if you like because those are not real humans, but that's as far as the makeup acceptability goes.
Says who?

And why only complexion, is wearing a wig acceptable?

Here's a clip of Father Ted showing three priests blacked-up as The Three Degrees plus other characters all wearing costumes, wigs and make-up in order to change their complexion.

Are any of them acceptable? if so, which ones and how so?, if not, which ones and why not?
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Old 02-03-2019, 08:38 AM
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In 7th grade my kids had to perform a monologue in the character of an illustrious Virginian. My children are persons of color: brown. My daughter acquired a red wig and portrayed Lucille Ball. My son portrayed Booker T. Washington. Obviously no blackface was ever a possibility nor even thought of. We just put him in a suit and bow tie and he nailed it. I had fun helping them prepare and was proud of them both.
Ah, but your kids had a headstart on color. (At least for Booker T., not so much for Lucille.) What would they have done if whiteface was expected, like Santa Claus? Would they have gone the Godfrey Cambridge route as in Watermelon Man?
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Old 02-03-2019, 10:28 AM
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Ah, but your kids had a headstart on color. (At least for Booker T., not so much for Lucille.) What would they have done if whiteface was expected, like Santa Claus? Would they have gone the Godfrey Cambridge route as in Watermelon Man?
I've seen a lot of black Santas. It's still easily identifiable, as would be lincoln. Plus Santa being completely fictional means noone can say Santas not black. Lucile probably by the red hair and 50s style dress.
There are characters who would probably be difficult to identify though without changing your skin color.

This is why I can only conclude it's the history.
Not changing your complexion obviously doesn't help the authenticity of a character.

I think for some it seems like any complexion change is enough, others it looks like it all depends if your making a mockery or promoting a stereotype.

This is where it's confusing to me, as it just doesn't make sense that it's somehow inherently offensive no matter what.
Gotta be the history , gotta be that people have trained their minds that anything that vaguely goes that direction they are supposed to be offended by.
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Old 02-03-2019, 10:34 AM
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I did have a heavy black female friend that was aunt jamima for Halloween, she even got a minor amount of guff for it from one person....I'm not really sure what their line if thought was...... stereotype maybe....idk.
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Old 02-03-2019, 10:37 AM
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Ah, but your kids had a headstart on color. (At least for Booker T., not so much for Lucille.) What would they have done if whiteface was expected, like Santa Claus? Would they have gone the Godfrey Cambridge route as in Watermelon Man?
In the fourth grade, I was in a school play about Abigal Adams. A lot us "colonists" were melanistic, including the ones with speaking parts, even though in historical reality, we would have been picking cotton somewhere, not singing praises for the first lady.

If we had whitened our skins, don't you think that would have been kinda cray?

My favorite historical hero is Harriet Tubman. If I was asked to dress up like Harriet Tubman (let's say for special memorial ceremony), do you think high-yeller me would find it necessary to darken my skin? No, because that would be straight-up ridiculous. Not only would it be a total distraction from my costume, but doing so would send the message that it was Harriet's dark skin that made her special instead of her badassness. Only someone fixated on her blackness rather than her awesomeness would even think about getting her skin color just right.

One of the reasons I love "Drunk History" is that they have actors of all colors reenacting historical events, regardless of what the "real" colors were.
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Old 02-03-2019, 10:52 AM
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Also indeed it seems the minstrel shows, some were originally well intended and argued their authenticity which noone could make out because some of the music became so popular it made its way back into black culture. It became the chicken or the egg question.

Since it was acceptable though it was taken advantage of to promote stereotypes.

This is why I had asked if it was just the whole slippery slope concept. It's like ok obviously people can't do it responsibly so let's just not do it at all.

Unfortunately I still think sometimes this leads to a segregation of heroes for kids.
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Old 02-03-2019, 10:53 AM
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I did have a heavy black female friend that was aunt jamima for Halloween, she even got a minor amount of guff for it from one person....I'm not really sure what their line if thought was...... stereotype maybe....idk.
I would have given your friend some side-eye, especially if she was old enough to know where Aunt Jemima comes from. Aunt Jemima plays on the offensive Mammy stereotype, which has fat black women eagerly existing for the sole benefit of white families' happiness, comfort, and amusement (as opposed to Jezebels, who are evil homewreckers). If I saw your friend dressed up like a a mammy, I'd ask if she's aware of the history behind that look. I'd probably side-eye her she said is aware of the history but still thought it was hilarious.
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:01 AM
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In the fourth grade, I was in a school play about Abigal Adams. A lot us "colonists" were melanistic, including the ones with speaking parts, even though in historical reality, we would have been picking cotton somewhere, not singing praises for the first lady.

If we had whitened our skins, don't you think that would have been kinda cray?

My favorite historical hero is Harriet Tubman. If I was asked to dress up like Harriet Tubman (let's say for special memorial ceremony), do you think high-yeller me would find it necessary to darken my skin? No, because that would be straight-up ridiculous. Not only would it be a total distraction from my costume, but doing so would send the message that it was Harriet's dark skin that made her special instead of her badassness. Only someone fixated on her blackness rather than her awesomeness would even think about getting her skin color just right.

One of the reasons I love "Drunk History" is that they have actors of all colors reenacting historical events, regardless of what the "real" colors were.
Idk about this, i get that it's often just unnecessary but generally people either A make the costume recognizable or B strive to get every detail as authentic as possible.

I don't think those in the latter camp would just be focusing on her blackness

Indeed she'd be a hard character to make recognizable as a white person.

No good option there really, gotta leave it alone.
White people basically aren't gonna be able to pull off Harriet.

That goes to that unfortunate segregation of heroes thing.
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:05 AM
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I would have given your friend some side-eye, especially if she was old enough to know where Aunt Jemima comes from. Aunt Jemima plays on the offensive Mammy stereotype, which has fat black women eagerly existing for the sole benefit of white families' happiness, comfort, and amusement (as opposed to Jezebels, who are evil homewreckers). If I saw your friend dressed up like a a mammy, I'd ask if she's aware of the history behind that look. I'd probably side-eye her she said is aware of the history but still thought it was hilarious.
She may actually have meant it as satire
I'm not real sure honestly
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:07 AM
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Unfortunately I still think sometimes this leads to a segregation of heroes for kids.
How? Can you expand on this?

On the playground, we kids would always pretend to be the Justice League My twin and I were naturally the Wonder Twins, even though we were both girls and even though we were black. The other kids in the group were also black, but that didn't stop one girl from always being Wonder Woman and one boy always being Superman.

For us, being a character had nothing to do with skin color. Wonder Woman isn't a white lady. She's a lady who spins around like Linda Carter and repels bullets with her wrist bands and flies around in an invisible plane. The Wonder Twins aren't white kids. They are kids who fist-bump when shit is about to go down and one of them turns into an eagle while the other turns into a buck of water. And they have a Wonder Dog. If black kids can see characters for what they are rather than what they look like, then why can't white kids?
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:12 AM
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Rather, I'm not sure if she was doing satire of the character, or the stereotype.
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:14 AM
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How? Can you expand on this?

On the playground, we kids would always pretend to be the Justice League My twin and I were naturally the Wonder Twins, even though we were both girls and even though we were black. The other kids in the group were also black, but that didn't stop one girl from always being Wonder Woman and one boy always being Superman.

For us, being a character had nothing to do with skin color. Wonder Woman isn't a white lady. She's a lady who spins around like Linda Carter and repels bullets with her wrist bands and flies around in an invisible plane. The Wonder Twins aren't white kids. They are kids who fist-bump when shit is about to go down and one of them turns into an eagle while the other turns into a buck of water. And they have a Wonder Dog. If black kids can see characters for what they are rather than what they look like, then why can't white kids?
See what I said about Harriet, how would a white kid make Harriet Tubman recognizable on site

Last edited by Littleman; 02-03-2019 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:21 AM
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And we can pretend like kids don't identify by it but I definitely see a lot more black panther outfits on black kids.

Even though spider Man is pretty ubiquitous.

These characters have easily identifiable outfits without regard to what the person looks like.

In any case your complexion is part of what you look like. No doubt about that.
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:27 AM
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If me and my friend put on suits and dark sunglasses and carry techy looking blaster guns .
I guarantee to everyone else I'm K and the black guy is J

Noone will think I'm J because I'm carrying the little tweeter

Last edited by Littleman; 02-03-2019 at 11:29 AM.
  #38  
Old 02-03-2019, 11:29 AM
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Ah, but your kids had a headstart on color. (At least for Booker T., not so much for Lucille.) What would they have done if whiteface was expected, like Santa Claus? Would they have gone the Godfrey Cambridge route as in Watermelon Man?
A, St. Nicholas was a brown dude (Megan Kelly notwithstanding).
B, my kids are so racially mixed, more or less in between all the other colors, that AFAWC the question would never even arise in any direction.

Godfrey Cambridge was one of the greatest American actors, by the way, the one responsible for making The President's Analyst as good as it is, who died way too young.
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:35 AM
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Same if we show up as Jedis, everyone's gonna think he's Mace and I'm Anakin regardless of our light sabre color.
Now, I could put on a bald cap and he could wear a long wig and some people might get that I'm Mace and he's obi wan but it sure won't help authenticity.
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:40 AM
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And we can pretend like kids don't identify by it but I definitely see a lot more black panther outfits on black kids.

Even though spider Man is pretty ubiquitous.
My Black grandson had a Spider-Man costume that he wore every day until he wore it out. (Those things are not built for endurance.)
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:42 AM
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Same if we show up as Jedis, everyone's gonna think he's Mace and I'm Anakin regardless of our light sabre color.
Now, I could put on a bald cap and he could wear a long wig and some people might get that I'm Mace and he's obi wan but it sure won't help authenticity.
Do you worry about mking sure height and weight and face shape and body type are consistent? Why can we expect people to use their imagination about those, but not skon tone?

I know a little white boy who dressed as Oprah for black history month. Wpre his mom's blazer and pearls. No one had the illusion shattered cuz his facial color was wrong. It was COSTUME. They use iconography, not verisimilitude.

Last edited by Manda JO; 02-03-2019 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:45 AM
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Idk about this, i get that it's often just unnecessary but generally people either A make the costume recognizable or B strive to get every detail as authentic as possible.
This is crazy to me, sorry.

Are you telling me that if I dressed up like David Bowie (see my first contribution to this thread for a description of my costome), you wouldn't be able to recognize me unless I whitened my skin? I'm 5'7". Would I have to add three inches to my height as well? Would I have to get a glass eye too?

I think if a character isn't recognizable unless you slather on a bunch of make-up, that should tell you something. It should tell you either 1) the character isn't interesting enough to cosplay or 2) you don't understand that character very well. When I think of all the characters that I would want to cosplay (if I was inclined to do so), all of them can be simulated through props, movement and impersonation. If I can't simulate a character through these means, then I have no business dressing up as anyone. IMHO.


Quote:

Indeed she'd be a hard character to make recognizable as a white person.
A white person who shows up to a generic costume party dressed up as Harriet Tubman probably would be confusing. But a white person dressed up as Harriet Tubman at a costume party celebrating American historical figures probably would be instantly recognizable. All they would have to do is tie a kerchief on their head, put on a long mid-19th-century dress draped in a shawl, put on some black boots, and carry a lantern and a shotgun.

One of my historical heroes is Nikola Tesla. I probably wouldn't attempt to dress up like Nikola just because I'd prefer to go as Harriet. But let's say Harriet was already taken. So to look like Nikola, I'd get some styling gel to make my hair like this and I'd get a fake mustache and a cheap suit. And then I'd walk around carrying something like this. Sure, a lot of people may not instantly recognize me as Nikola, but they would be able to guess eventually if they asked the right questions. At any rate, I wouldn't be dressing up for anyone else's amusement but my own, so it wouldn't matter to me if no one knew who I was.

Quote:
White people basically aren't gonna be able to pull off Harriet.
That's, like, your opinion, man.


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That goes to that unfortunate segregation of heroes thing.
Whatever, bro.
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:46 AM
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Just seems like a conundrum. Obviously you don't make fun of someone for being black or whatever color.
Pretending they aren't seems like it would be a little insulting too.
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:48 AM
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My Black grandson had a Spider-Man costume that he wore every day until he wore it out. (Those things are not built for endurance.)
One of the current characters using the name "Spider-Man" is Miles Morales. He is half African-American and half Dominican.
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:53 AM
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This is crazy to me, sorry.

Are you telling me that if I dressed up like David Bowie (see my first contribution to this thread for a description of my costome), you wouldn't be able to recognize me unless I whitened my skin? I'm 5'7". Would I have to add three inches to my height as well? Would I have to get a glass eye too?

I think if a character isn't recognizable unless you slather on a bunch of make-up, that should tell you something. It should tell you either 1) the character isn't interesting enough to cosplay or 2) you don't understand that character very well. When I think of all the characters that I would want to cosplay (if I was inclined to do so), all of them can be simulated through props, movement and impersonation. If I can't simulate a character through these means, then I have no business dressing up as anyone. IMHO.




A white person who shows up to a generic costume party dressed up as Harriet Tubman probably would be confusing. But a white person dressed up as Harriet Tubman at a costume party celebrating American historical figures probably would be instantly recognizable. All they would have to do is tie a kerchief on their head, put on a long mid-19th-century dress draped in a shawl, put on some black boots, and carry a lantern and a shotgun.

One of my historical heroes is Nikola Tesla. I probably wouldn't attempt to dress up like Nikola just because I'd prefer to go as Harriet. But let's say Harriet was already taken. So to look like Nikola, I'd get some styling gel to make my hair like this and I'd get a fake mustache and a cheap suit. And then I'd walk around carrying something like this. Sure, a lot of people may not instantly recognize me as Nikola, but they would be able to guess eventually if they asked the right questions. At any rate, I wouldn't be dressing up for anyone else's amusement but my own, so it wouldn't matter to me if no one knew who I was.


That's, like, your opinion, man.




Whatever, bro.
So then green makeup for universals Frankenstein is just nonsense?

You could easily make Frankenstein recognized without it.

There's no reason whatsoever for the makeup

No we use green makeup bc....he's green

Last edited by Littleman; 02-03-2019 at 11:54 AM.
  #46  
Old 02-03-2019, 11:58 AM
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So then green makeup for universals Frankenstein is just nonsense?

You could easily make Frankenstein recognized without it.

There's no reason whatsoever for the makeup

No we use green makeup bc....he's green
Who do you offend by painting someone green?
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:58 AM
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Just seems like a conundrum. Obviously you don't make fun of someone for being black or whatever color.
Pretending they aren't seems like it would be a little insulting too.
If I ever became famous, I would be upset if someone felt they had to darken their skin to represent me. Especially if they didn't go through the trouble of getting all of my other physical traits exactly right. And I would be real upset if they went through the trouble of darkening their skin and they couldn't even be bothered to get the skin tone right (still smh at black shoe polish for Michael Jackson).
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:59 AM
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I think it's offensive because being black is a detriment in US society, and to pretend to a handicap that you can just take off is being a dick. Just like if your legs are just fine but you choose to move around in a wheelchair because you enjoy the ride.

If you're pretending to be a specific person with a disability, like Franklin Roosevelt or Stephen Hawking I think you can get away with it, but if it's not an instantly recognizable person I'd stay clear.

Same with blackface. If it's the stereotypical minstrel show makeup always offensive, if it's realistic offensive on the grounds of being a disability you can take off. Maybe OK if it's an instantly recognizable specific black person, but risky.
  #49  
Old 02-03-2019, 12:08 PM
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Even already white people use white makeup for Dracula. Because he's a lot whiter.

Like I said, i get that it isn't usually necessary.
And given the history I can see why it's offensive.

I don't see the argument that it's inherently offensive.

Or that simply wishing you could change your complexion for a better match is inherently racist.

I can see why you shouldn't.

But this thread and some reading I've done has helped me get a better idea of it all.

I'm sure I can safely let my kids play Madden nfl and not have it be digital blackface.
  #50  
Old 02-03-2019, 12:11 PM
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Who do you offend by painting someone green?
Exactly. Gotta be the history.
Who do you offended painting your face white?

Last edited by Littleman; 02-03-2019 at 12:14 PM.
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