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  #51  
Old 02-03-2019, 12:19 PM
monstro monstro is online now
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Originally Posted by Littleman View Post
So then green makeup for universals Frankenstein is just nonsense?
Frankenstein's green color is a part of his signature. Green skin is special. Just like the bolt's in his neck. Just like his blocky head.

In contrast, brown skin is not special. It is no one's essence. Or signature. Or trademark.

Let's go back to Michael Jackson. Skin color actually is a part of guy's essence. Imagine if someone were to paint half of their face brown and the other half white. On the brown side, they're wearing a half polyester butter-fly collared shirt with 70s designs. On the white side, they've got on a half white v-neck t-shirt with a half white button-down shirt. Add an afro on the brown side and silky shag cut on the white side. Voila! An awesome, non-offensive costume. In MJ's case, neither brown or white skin is his signature. He's represented by the combination of the two.

But if you want to look like 1984's Michael Jackson? Leave the skin color out of the bit, since there are so many ways to look like 1984s Michael Jackson without having to go there. If someone doesn't think he'd be recognizable as 1984s MJ without darkening their skin, they have no business trying to cosplay MJ. Because it means they don't know anything else about the guy except that he's black.
  #52  
Old 02-03-2019, 12:19 PM
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By browning up your skin to play a character who just happens to be black, you're likening their skin color to a costume.
I'm puzzled what you mean by this. All fancy dress up is donning a costume. So unless you are arguing that all such dressing up is bad, this in itelf isn't a reason to deprecate making skin color part of a costume.

I'm similarly puzzled by most of what SmartAleq has written, it seems fairly easy to point out many inconstencies.

I guess I get the impression that you guys are trying to back-fit some kind of abstract consistent theoretical principles into this. Whereas the actual reasons that we specifically deprecate blackface (and by extension now all complexion changes and certain other ways of changing appearance) are contingent - they are historical and social, because they are reminiscent of terrible things we have done in the past.

I mean, if a 5-year-old is innocently attempting to introduce complexion change to look like somebody he likes for Halloween, let's say white kid wants to be Michael Jordan, I don't think you can easily explain to a young kid that the reason not to do blackface is because complexion change is "rude" in the way SmartAleq suggests. Without historical or social context - i.e. to a logical 5-year-old - it's surely not inherently any more rude to make yourself look like MJ by making yourself black vs any other way of changing your appearance to make yourself resemble some other person.

Last edited by Riemann; 02-03-2019 at 12:22 PM.
  #53  
Old 02-03-2019, 12:20 PM
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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.
Idk if I can equate black to a handicap but I see what you mean.

I probably wouldn't be professor X at my friend's party who is indeed in an electric wheelchair. Knowing I'd be popping in and out of mine.

On the other hand he'd probably be cool with being professor X if we did an X-Men theme or something. As long as it wasn't pushed on him.
  #54  
Old 02-03-2019, 12:23 PM
Malleus, Incus, Stapes! Malleus, Incus, Stapes! is online now
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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.
What's the objective difference- as opposed to the tainted-by-racist-history difference- between putting on a wig of a certain color and painting your skin a certain color? Or between opposite-sex makeup and opposite-race makeup?

Again, I'm not saying "go ahead and wear blackface". But that's because of historical associations. In a cultural vacuum, I don't see how it would be different than any other form of dressing up as someone else.

(I have a somewhat embarrassing personal story that's relevant: I was a very sheltered teenager that went to a high-school that was all-white and all-female. I was in the school play three years out of four.
Now, whenever we had a male part, we obviously had to have a girl do it. So the boy-girl would try to make herself as male-looking as possible, with her hair pulled back, and make-up stubble and such.
One year we did a play that had an explicitly black [and male] character. I would like to repeat that the other people at school were likely as sheltered as I was. So the black-white boy-girl braided her hair into something like cornrows, and had her skin dusted with brown makeup. I went around for days talking about how amazing it was that the makeup department was able to change this white girl into a black boy.
My point is, none of us thought the "pretend-black" any way different than "pretend-male". Without the context of knowing about minstrel shows, it was just "be something you aren't" as usual. There was no malice intended, no "being black is a just costume" or "being male is just a costume". It just was.
Obviously, in retrospect, it's a very uncomfortable memory. But that's because of outside context I'm now privy to).
  #55  
Old 02-03-2019, 12:26 PM
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I'm puzzled what you mean by this. All fancy dress up is donning a costume. So unless you are arguing that all such dressing up is bad, this in itelf isn't a reason to deprecate making skin color part of a costume.

I'm similarly puzzled by most of what SmartAleq has written, it seems fairly easy to point out many inconstencies.

I guess I get the impression that you guys are trying to back-fit some kind of abstract consistent theoretical principles into this. Whereas the actual reasons that we specifically deprecate blackface (and by extension now all complexion changes and certain other ways of changing appearance) are contingent - they are historical and social, because they are reminiscent of terrible things we have done in the past.

I mean, if a 5-year-old is innocently attempting to introduce complexion change to look like somebody he likes for Halloween, let's say white kid wants to be Michael Jordan, I don't think you can easily explain to a young kid that the reason not to do blackface is because complexion change is "rude" in the way SmartAleq suggests. Without historical or social context - i.e. to a logical 5-year-old - it's surely not inherently any more rude to make yourself look like MJ by making yourself black vs any other way of changing your appearance to make yourself resemble some other person.
That's where I'm at. Exactly.
Even my 10 year old, it's hard to tell him he can't make himself brown to be a certain character.

He's fine with it, I don't think he understands why exactly.

But he's not trying to be an asshole when he wants to brown up to be agent J.

Im still not sure why my 5 year old is overtly racist though.

Last edited by Littleman; 02-03-2019 at 12:30 PM.
  #56  
Old 02-03-2019, 12:27 PM
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Exactly. Gotta be the history.
Who do you offended painting your face white?
Who gives a shit? Is this an actual problem? Is painting faces white to offend Caucasians something done through our history?
  #57  
Old 02-03-2019, 12:35 PM
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]Im still not sure why my 5 year old is overtly racist though.
I'll hasten to add to my earlier comment - while it might be difficult to explain to the average 5-year-old why skin color in particular is just something we don't do for Halloween costumes, most of the other things you mentioned your 5-year-old doing surely do violate consistent non-contingent principles that you can explain to a 5-year-old: we respect everyone, we don't treat people differently because of the way they look or speak, etc.

Last edited by Riemann; 02-03-2019 at 12:35 PM.
  #58  
Old 02-03-2019, 12:36 PM
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I'm hoping the 5 year old grows out of it.
It seems to be just anything different.
Mom dyes her hair a different color, he's pissed at her for days.
  #59  
Old 02-03-2019, 12:43 PM
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We of course don't just let him do those things, and we explain to him. I was just illustrating some of what he has done that is baffling.

All I can think is he is currently uncomfortable with anything different.
  #60  
Old 02-03-2019, 12:46 PM
monstro monstro is online now
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I'm puzzled what you mean by this. All fancy dress up is donning a costume. So unless you are arguing that all such dressing up is bad, this in itelf isn't a reason to deprecate making skin color part of a costume.
A person's skin color isn't a costume. A black person isn't a "white person covered in brown coloring". A black person's skin isn't anything like a fancy dress. Or a costume. I don't know why this is so hard to get.


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I guess I get the impression that you guys are trying to back-fit some kind of abstract consistent theoretical principles into this. Whereas the actual reasons that we specifically deprecate blackface (and by extension now all complexion changes and certain other ways of changing appearance) are contingent - they are historical and social, because they are reminiscent of terrible things we have done in the past.
First off, who is this "we"? I don't "deprecate" all complexion changes or certain other ways of changing appearance. I think there is a huge difference between blackface (mocking the physical appearance of black people through gross exaggeration, like using black shoe polish to represent brown skin) and brownface (simulating a specific black person with some modicum of respect). I believe that brownface is often stupid because it's gratuitous and crazy-looking. But I don't think it's racist like inherently blackface is.


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I mean, if a 5-year-old is innocently attempting to introduce complexion change to look like somebody he likes for Halloween, let's say white kid wants to be Michael Jordan, I don't think you can easily explain to a young kid that the reason not to do blackface is because complexion change is "rude" in the way SmartAleq suggests.
I wouldn't tell him it's rude. I would tell him it's unnecessary and a stupid waste of time and energy (and make-up). Like it would be stupid of him to try to shave his head and walk on stilts to look like Michael Jordan. He could do these things and also paint his skin and he's still going to look like a five-year-old white kid. So what the fuck is the point of doing all of that? I would explain to him the purpose of dressing up isn't to look exactly like a character, since no one can achieve that, even with the help of a professional make-up artist. I would explain to him the purpose of dressing up is to capture the meaningful elements of a character--the things that make that character stand out. MJ's skin color makes him like 90% of all NBA players (made-up statistic). It isn't his costume. His costume is his jersey and his basketball and his shoes. It's his tongue hanging out of his mouth when he dunks. But it's not his skin.


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Without historical or social context - i.e. to a logical 5-year-old - it's surely not inherently any more rude to make yourself look like MJ by making yourself black vs any other way of changing your appearance to make yourself look like a particular person.
Again, I wouldn't present it as "rudeness" to a five-year-old. I would simply explain to him that skin color is a sensitive subject and that in our society, we try not to bring it up in conversation (or costumes) unless it's really important. Most five-year-olds don't need any more explanation than that.
  #61  
Old 02-03-2019, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
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
[Devil's Advocate]

(bolding mine)

Why is the red wig ok? Isn't that "likening a person's hair color to a costume"? Is it only okay if the hair color isn't their natural color? Why? Lucille Ball's red hair was brought up earlier: why was it okay to wear her hair as a costume?

[Devil's Advocate]
  #62  
Old 02-03-2019, 12:51 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.
You should definitely address this. People will not judge a racist child of that age, they *will* judge his parents.

Of course, as he gets older, if that continues, then people will judge hi as well as his parents.

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Aren't there only like four colors though?
Samuel L. Jackson got his own unique colored light saber.
  #63  
Old 02-03-2019, 12:52 PM
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I wouldn't tell him it's rude. I would tell him it's unnecessary and a stupid waste of time and energy (and make-up). Like it would be stupid of him to try to shave his head and walk on stilts to look like Michael Jordan. He could do these things and also paint his skin and he's still going to look like a five-year-old white kid. So what the fuck is the point of doing all of that? I would explain to him the purpose of dressing up isn't to look exactly like a character, since no one can achieve that, even with the help of a professional make-up artist. I would explain to him the purpose of dressing up is to capture the meaningful elements of a character--the things that make that character stand out. MJ's skin color makes him like 90% of all NBA players (made-up statistic). It isn't his costume. His costume is his jersey and his basketball and his shoes. It's his tongue hanging out of his mouth when he dunks. But it's not his skin.
Well said. Very well said, actually.
  #64  
Old 02-03-2019, 12:54 PM
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Who gives a shit? Is this an actual problem? Is painting faces white to offend Caucasians something done through our history?
Right, that's what I've gotten out of this.

Basically it's not inherently bad, it's just the history.

So when were looking at people saying playing s black video game character is blackface were probably at ridiculous.

Cosplay on the other hand is just too close.
  #65  
Old 02-03-2019, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Malleus, Incus, Stapes! View Post
What's the objective difference- as opposed to the tainted-by-racist-history difference- between putting on a wig of a certain color and painting your skin a certain color? Or between opposite-sex makeup and opposite-race makeup?

Most people manage to look great in a wig. Wigs are easy to pass off as "real". I would probably look cute in a red mullet wig.

In contrast, the average person looks terrible when they paint their skin to transform their racial appearance. I would not look cute in whiteface, unless I had a professional artist to help me.

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Again, I'm not saying "go ahead and wear blackface". But that's because of historical associations. In a cultural vacuum, I don't see how it would be different than any other form of dressing up as someone else.
I don't think anyone would disagree with you. But since we aren't and never will be in a cultural vacuum, I don't see the point of this inquiry.

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(I have a somewhat embarrassing personal story that's relevant: I was a very sheltered teenager that went to a high-school that was all-white and all-female. I was in the school play three years out of four.
Now, whenever we had a male part, we obviously had to have a girl do it. So the boy-girl would try to make herself as male-looking as possible, with her hair pulled back, and make-up stubble and such.
One year we did a play that had an explicitly black [and male] character. I would like to repeat that the other people at school were likely as sheltered as I was. So the black-white boy-girl braided her hair into something like cornrows, and had her skin dusted with brown makeup. I went around for days talking about how amazing it was that the makeup department was able to change this white girl into a black boy.
My point is, none of us thought the "pretend-black" any way different than "pretend-male". Without the context of knowing about minstrel shows, it was just "be something you aren't" as usual. There was no malice intended, no "being black is a just costume" or "being male is just a costume". It just was.
Obviously, in retrospect, it's a very uncomfortable memory. But that's because of outside context I'm now privy to).
That doesn't sound like blackface. I don't think anyone but the most hypersensitive would take actual offense at what ya'll did, provided that's all ya'll did.
  #66  
Old 02-03-2019, 12:58 PM
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A person's skin color isn't a costume. A black person isn't a "white person covered in brown coloring". A black person's skin isn't anything like a fancy dress. Or a costume. I don't know why this is so hard to get.




First off, who is this "we"? I don't "deprecate" all complexion changes or certain other ways of changing appearance. I think there is a huge difference between blackface (mocking the physical appearance of black people through gross exaggeration, like using black shoe polish to represent brown skin) and brownface (simulating a specific black person with some modicum of respect). I believe that brownface is often stupid because it's gratuitous and crazy-looking. But I don't think it's racist like inherently blackface is.




I wouldn't tell him it's rude. I would tell him it's unnecessary and a stupid waste of time and energy (and make-up). Like it would be stupid of him to try to shave his head and walk on stilts to look like Michael Jordan. He could do these things and also paint his skin and he's still going to look like a five-year-old white kid. So what the fuck is the point of doing all of that? I would explain to him the purpose of dressing up isn't to look exactly like a character, since no one can achieve that, even with the help of a professional make-up artist. I would explain to him the purpose of dressing up is to capture the meaningful elements of a character--the things that make that character stand out. MJ's skin color makes him like 90% of all NBA players (made-up statistic). It isn't his costume. His costume is his jersey and his basketball and his shoes. It's his tongue hanging out of his mouth when he dunks. But it's not his skin.




Again, I wouldn't present it as "rudeness" to a five-year-old. I would simply explain to him that skin color is a sensitive subject and that in our society, we try not to bring it up in conversation (or costumes) unless it's really important. Most five-year-olds don't need any more explanation than that.
Makes sense to me.
  #67  
Old 02-03-2019, 01:03 PM
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[Devil's Advocate]

(bolding mine)

Why is the red wig ok? Isn't that "likening a person's hair color to a costume"? Is it only okay if the hair color isn't their natural color? Why? Lucille Ball's red hair was brought up earlier: why was it okay to wear her hair as a costume?

[Devil's Advocate]
The hair styles of rock stars are pretty much always going to be off-the-hook crazy and therefore they are an essential element of their look. You can't call yourself a glam rocker and not have a crazy hair style.

I can put a red mullet wig and red boots on my cat and he'll look like a cat version of David Bowie. But I don't need to dye my cat white to make him look like David Bowie. That's insane.

Last edited by monstro; 02-03-2019 at 01:04 PM.
  #68  
Old 02-03-2019, 01:06 PM
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The hair styles of rock stars are pretty much always going to be off-the-hook crazy and therefore they are an essential element of their look. You can't call yourself a glam rocker and not have a crazy hair style.

I can put a red mullet wig and red boots on my cat and he'll look like a cat version of David Bowie. But I don't need to dye my cat white to make him look like David Bowie. That's insane.
In my best Mathew McConaughey voice;

It'd be a whole lot cooler if you did.

Lol

Not really just what I usually say to crazy suggestions like dying your cat white

Last edited by Littleman; 02-03-2019 at 01:06 PM.
  #69  
Old 02-03-2019, 01:19 PM
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So, cosplay is best left alone because of the history.
It's mostly unnecessary anyhow.

While there are some borderline examples that could be done tastefully.

This digital blackface stuff is mostly wacko unless you're purposely stereotyping.

Does that roughly sum up the situation?
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Old 02-03-2019, 01:19 PM
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A person's skin color isn't a costume. A black person isn't a "white person covered in brown coloring". A black person's skin isn't anything like a fancy dress. Or a costume. I don't know why this is so hard to get.
It's not "hard to get". But I think your implication that there's some obvious theoretical (ahistorical) reason for why it's different from other aspects of appearance it's weak. The compelling reason that there is great sensitivity about changing aspects of appearance that correlate to race (most notably skin color) is historical & social context - because of our terrible history of racism.

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...I would explain to him the purpose of dressing up isn't to look exactly like a character, since no one can achieve that, even with the help of a professional make-up artist. I would explain to him the purpose of dressing up is to capture the meaningful elements of a character--the things that make that character stand out. MJ's skin color makes him like 90% of all NBA players (made-up statistic)...
[my bold]

Yes, that's extremely well put.

Last edited by Riemann; 02-03-2019 at 01:23 PM.
  #71  
Old 02-03-2019, 01:20 PM
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The hair styles of rock stars are pretty much always going to be off-the-hook crazy and therefore they are an essential element of their look. You can't call yourself a glam rocker and not have a crazy hair style.

I can put a red mullet wig and red boots on my cat and he'll look like a cat version of David Bowie. But I don't need to dye my cat white to make him look like David Bowie. That's insane.
Thank you for the response. You're dodging my actual question tho. In your opinion, if a white guy wants to dress up as Dr. J, can they wear an afro wig?

I guess the dichotomy I'm seeing is that one innate trait that a person has no control over (their skin color) is verboten but another equally innate trait is not.

Is it wrong to wear contacts to mimic someone else's natural eye color?

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 02-03-2019 at 01:22 PM.
  #72  
Old 02-03-2019, 01:37 PM
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The hair styles of rock stars are pretty much always going to be off-the-hook crazy and therefore they are an essential element of their look. You can't call yourself a glam rocker and not have a crazy hair style.

I can put a red mullet wig and red boots on my cat and he'll look like a cat version of David Bowie. But I don't need to dye my cat white to make him look like David Bowie. That's insane.
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
You should definitely address this. People will not judge a racist child of that age, they *will* judge his parents.

Of course, as he gets older, if that continues, then people will judge hi as well as his parents.



Samuel L. Jackson got his own unique colored light saber.
He's also highly offended by green or white beauty masks, Hair color changes, wigs, blue makeup, red make-up. Basically anything that makes a person look unusual to him.

So I'm hoping that's the root of it, and it's a phase but explaining to him specifically that it's not ok to act like that if people can't change it.

Which has resulted in him pleading with Mom to "take that off" if she dyes her hair.
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Old 02-03-2019, 01:42 PM
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He's also highly offended by green or white beauty masks, Hair color changes, wigs, blue makeup, red make-up. Basically anything that makes a person look unusual to him.
Are you sure you have a child rather than a cat?
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Old 02-03-2019, 01:55 PM
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Thank you for the response. You're dodging my actual question tho. In your opinion, if a white guy wants to dress up as Dr. J, can they wear an afro wig?

I guess the dichotomy I'm seeing is that one innate trait that a person has no control over (their skin color) is verboten but another equally innate trait is not.

Hairstyles are not an innate trait. They are styles. Dr. J's afro was a deliberate, intentional look the same way that David Bowie's red mullet was. So yes, those things are essential elements to their costume. Skin color is not, since they didn't choose their skin color and their skin color doesn't distinguish them from anyone else.

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Is it wrong to wear contacts to mimic someone else's natural eye color?
Since I haven't said there's anything "wrong" with doing anything, your question is strange to me. But no, there's nothing "wrong" with mimicking someone's natural eye color, especially if we're talking about an unusual eye color. But for 99.9% of the real historical or contemporary figures that people might want to cosplay, getting the eye color exactly right is completely unnecessary since eye color isn't that noticeable a feature. If we're talking about a costume contest with a sizeable grand prize, I might be tempted to put in some blue eye contacts if I'm going as Anderson Cooper--just to show the judges how committed I am. But otherwise, no. If I can't convince people I'm "Anderson Cooper enough" with my mannerisms and a stylish white wig, then wearing contacts isn't going to help.
  #75  
Old 02-03-2019, 02:05 PM
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A black person isn't a "white person covered in brown coloring".
Interestingly, I can actually do a damn good job if replicating colors.

What I've actually found is that its close to the opposite.

I was commissioned to do a portrat of the guy that started the national black theater foundation.
Thankfully this was basically a photo realistic painting.

Otherwise I would probably have turned it down simply because I'm aware of cross race identification bias.

My biggest concern was getting his coloring correct as I knew this would be a sensitive matter, the whole painting turned out on the warm side colorwise , which was fine and I thought it was appropriate since it was post mortem.

Later on I used some of the mixes for his skin tone to paint other people.

What I found was that I could easily lighten those mixes and make great realistic flesh tones for just about every color of person.

With some of the busts and statuettes I've done for major theme parks I'm confident if I wanted to I could easily airbrush anyone to accurately have the skin tone of anyone else.

Though I guess I shouldn't.
  #76  
Old 02-03-2019, 02:06 PM
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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.
I think that you are overestimating familiarity with Harriet Tubman. If I were at an American History themed costume party and Harriet Tubman herself time-traveled to the party, I would have no idea who she was unless she leaned a pickaxe over her shoulder and wore a hat like Floyd Smoot.
  #77  
Old 02-03-2019, 02:11 PM
Littleman Littleman is online now
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eye color isn't that noticeable a feature.
Unless you're a white person.
Look up cross race identification bias.

People of any one race tend to identify individuals by the features which vary the most within their own race.

So basically when describing someone a black person is unlikely to use eye color.

A white person is very likely to use eye color.
  #78  
Old 02-03-2019, 02:13 PM
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Are you sure you have a child rather than a cat?
Lol, do cats do that?

I have four , three boys and a step daughter.
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Old 02-03-2019, 02:16 PM
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I think that you are overestimating familiarity with Harriet Tubman. If I were at an American History themed costume party and Harriet Tubman herself time-traveled to the party, I would have no idea who she was unless she leaned a pickaxe over her shoulder and wore a hat like Floyd Smoot.

Someone who dresses up like Harriet Tubman isn't trying to appeal to people like you. They are trying to appeal to other fangirls and fanboys of Harriet Tubman--folks who would be able to recognize her costume from a million miles away.
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Old 02-03-2019, 02:18 PM
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Unless you're a white person.
Look up cross race identification bias.

People of any one race tend to identify individuals by the features which vary the most within their own race.

So basically when describing someone a black person is unlikely to use eye color.

A white person is very likely to use eye color.
I don't know Abigal Adam's eye color. But I do have an idea of how she styled her hair and dressed.

Without looking at her portrait, do you know her eye color?

Do you think that you'd have to get this little detail exactly right in order to have a convince Abigal Adams costume?

Last edited by monstro; 02-03-2019 at 02:19 PM.
  #81  
Old 02-03-2019, 02:19 PM
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Seriously, everyone who truly believes that Lucille Ball's hair color was 100% natural, raise your hand. Yeah, didn't think so. Hair is changeable, it can by dyed and cut and styled and wigs can go over it and none of it is INNATE. Skin color is innate so it's off limits.

And again, I say you don't get to use skin color as a defining characteristic while cosplaying if you are cosplaying a natural human with that human's natural skin tone. Cosplaying Frankenstein's monster as green is fine because that is a FICTIONAL CHARACTER with a defining characteristic of skin that is not in any way a natural human tone. Same with cosplaying the Wicked Witch of the West--green is fine. Cosplaying a vampire and wearing dead white makeup is fine, because they are FICTIONAL CHARACTERS with a defining characteristic of a skin tone that is in no way a natural human tone. Cosplay a zombie all gray and manky, likewise fine. Nobody'd know you were a Smurf if you weren't bright blue, that's A-OK. Devils are bright red, not a problem. Japanese oni can be red or blue or green, all fine.

As monstro keeps saying--a person's skin tone is not a goddamned costume so don't change yours to match another person. That's not going to go well for you. Likewise, don't go cosplaying an Asian person and try to give yourself slant eyes, that's rude.

Last edited by SmartAleq; 02-03-2019 at 02:20 PM.
  #82  
Old 02-03-2019, 02:22 PM
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I don't know Abigal Adam's eye color. But I do have an idea of how she styled her hair and dressed.

Without looking at her portrait, do you know her eye color?

Do you think that you'd have to get this little detail exactly right in order to have a convince Abigal Adams costume?
I don't know who that is off the top of my head so......


I could tell you Cindy Crawford's

I think the majority of people could tell you whether a person is black or white though.
  #83  
Old 02-03-2019, 02:31 PM
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Someone who dresses up like Harriet Tubman isn't trying to appeal to people like you. They are trying to appeal to other fangirls and fanboys of Harriet Tubman--folks who would be able to recognize her costume from a million miles away.

I actually found a little white Harriet Tubman!
  #84  
Old 02-03-2019, 02:32 PM
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All of those folks saying "But other than the history, why is it offensive?": Why "other than the history"? Isn't that enough of a reason?
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Old 02-03-2019, 02:33 PM
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It's not "hard to get". But I think your implication that there's some obvious theoretical (ahistorical) reason for why it's different from other aspects of appearance it's weak. The compelling reason that there is great sensitivity about changing aspects of appearance that correlate to race (most notably skin color) is historical & social context - because of our terrible history of racism.
And I'm not talking about this "great sensitivity". I have just been giving my personal opinion, not providing a scholarly dissertation. It it just my personal opinion that it is stupid to equate real people's skin coloring to an element of costume, regardless of context. I think this would be kinda stupid even if we didn't have a history of racism or blackface.
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Old 02-03-2019, 02:34 PM
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  #87  
Old 02-03-2019, 02:35 PM
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Who do you offend by painting someone green?
I think you are conflating two things. The prior exchange was (paraphrasing):

Poster 1: You cannot wear dark makeup because it is offensive to blacks.
Poster 2: Then that means that white kids must only portray white characters and blacks can only portray black character.

Poster 1: No, because skin color is not important to portraying a character.
Poster 2 (to which you responded): Then why is it important to paint yourself green when playing Frankenstein if skin color is not important?

A fair answer could be that since nobody has green skin, that is sufficiently unusual to be a defining characteristic of Frankenstein such that it helps the costume.

But, IMHO, dressing in a character by definition means to change your appearance so that it looks like the character you are attempting to portray. If you have white or black skin and you want to be Frankenstein, you change your skin color to green.

It seems a bit far to say that because at one time white actors used exaggerated makeup to play the stereotypical role of ignorant dancing minstrel blacks for the purposes of being deliberately offensive, now all makeup to look black must be shunned.

What else will we extend that to? As slavery was a horrible relic of history should no black man ever be in the employ of a white man because, even though he is getting paid, it is still a white man bossing around a black man so we need to steer clear?

I also again have the problem of who is setting the rules, who is actually offended and who is "offended" because that is what they are told to feel in modern society?

Like when Gov. Northram said that he told his black campaign manager about his Michael Jackson costume and was told it was offensive and now he realizes it was offensive. Was there an election that appointed Gov. Northram's campaign manager the spokesman for black people? What if his campaign manager had said that he did not find it offensive? He and his campaign manager would have been mocked: "Ha, so his Uncle Tom friend told him is was okay, so he thinks it is! Ha ha ha!"

So just to get up to speed on things, let's say I am at a gathering and playing Samuel L. Jackson's character in Pulp Fiction. Is it okay that I wear: 1) the suit, 2) the gun, 3) the jerry curl??, 4) use the profanity, 5) mock the violence and absolutely everything else, but dark makeup is too far?

I take the point that I won't look like Samuel L. Jackson anyways; I will look like a middle aged white guy trying to play Samuel L. Jackson. But that is part of what makes character dressing at these parties funny. When a five year old dresses up like Superman you don't complain that he is far too short to be Superman and that he can't fly. Likewise, the character is a joke and the attempt to be authentic is what is funny. But I can do everything except the dark makeup.

Now, some of you might throw a shot back at me saying something like "Being black isn't funny or something to be mocked." But in this case nobody is mocking black people; nobody is mocking Samuel L. Jackson. I am making fun of myself by pretending that I am a black character.
  #88  
Old 02-03-2019, 02:39 PM
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Seriously, everyone who truly believes that Lucille Ball's hair color was 100% natural, raise your hand. Yeah, didn't think so. Hair is changeable, it can by dyed and cut and styled and wigs can go over it and none of it is INNATE. Skin color is innate so it's off limits.
Unless you are cosplaying as KISS, in which case, skin color becomes a chosen style.
  #89  
Old 02-03-2019, 02:42 PM
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And again, I say you don't get to use skin color as a defining characteristic while cosplaying if you are cosplaying a natural human with that human's natural skin tone.

Cosplay is about trying to match what a character looks like. I'm not going to try to defend blackface, but saying that what someone looks like isn't part of what someone looks like is silly.
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Old 02-03-2019, 02:42 PM
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Now, some of you might throw a shot back at me saying something like "Being black isn't funny or something to be mocked." But in this case nobody is mocking black people; nobody is mocking Samuel L. Jackson. I am making fun of myself by pretending that I am a black character.
So putting on blackface is a means of mockery then? And you don't see why this is a problem?

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Unless you are cosplaying as KISS, in which case, skin color becomes a chosen style.
Yup, that skin color is not innate so it's fair game. Now if they actually had those complexions from the womb then it wouldn't be okay to cosplay them. Also, can you imagine the consternation in the delivery room?
  #91  
Old 02-03-2019, 02:46 PM
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All of those folks saying "But other than the history, why is it offensive?": Why "other than the history"? Isn't that enough of a reason?
Yes - the compelling reason is historical and social context, our terrible behavior in the past.

But people seem to want to try to explain it ahistorically. And I think trying to construct some perfectly consistent ahistorical framework is counterproductive. It doesn't work well, it gets us bogged down in irrelevant debates over exactly what's innate and what's not, it invites nitpickers to say - well, if that's the reason, it seems inconsistent and doesn't make sense.

Last edited by Riemann; 02-03-2019 at 02:50 PM.
  #92  
Old 02-03-2019, 02:51 PM
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I don't know who that is off the top of my head so......


I could tell you Cindy Crawford's
I think Cindy Crawford is more recognizable by her mole than her eye color. Her mole is always the first thing I think of when I think of Cindy Crawford. :shrug:


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I think the majority of people could tell you whether a person is black or white though.
When you look at the president, do you think "white guy"? Or do you think "Trump"?

I know that when I think of Michael Jordan, I don't think "black guy". I think "MJ". I haven't talked to MJ about this, but I suspect MJ would rather be thought of as "MJ", not "black guy".

I don't think white people look at another white person and say to themselves, "Hey! A white guy/woman! Look at all the whiteness!" No, they look at the things about that person that have nothing to do with their skin coloring, since their skin coloring isn't remarkable. That's how black people want to be seen too. Is that so hard to understand?
  #93  
Old 02-03-2019, 02:53 PM
UltraVires UltraVires is offline
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So putting on blackface is a means of mockery then? And you don't see why this is a problem?
1) I said nothing about blackface.

2) The mockery is not the skin color. It is my attempt at trying to look like another person that I do not look like. It would be equally funny if I tried to look like a white guy that I look nothing like.
  #94  
Old 02-03-2019, 02:55 PM
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When you look at the president, do you think "white guy"? Or do you think "Trump"?
I don't know about anyone else but I definitely think "orange". A proper fancy dress for Trump would need coloured skin and ridiculous hair.
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  #95  
Old 02-03-2019, 02:59 PM
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I don't know about anyone else but I definitely think "orange". A proper fancy dress for Trump would need coloured skin and ridiculous hair.
Which would be fair game as both of those items are things he's chosen to do to change his appearance and are not innate, just as his incompetently overlong ties are a choice and would therefore be a legit part of the costume. Padding out to match his huge fat ass might be skirting the bounds of okayness though.
  #96  
Old 02-03-2019, 03:00 PM
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Cosplay is about trying to match what a character looks like. I'm not going to try to defend blackface, but saying that what someone looks like isn't part of what someone looks like is silly.
I am curious if you think this lady or this guy have missed the point of cosplay.
  #97  
Old 02-03-2019, 03:03 PM
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I don't know about anyone else but I definitely think "orange". A proper fancy dress for Trump would need coloured skin and ridiculous hair.
I agree with this. But if he didn't have orange skin, I wouldn't go there with whiteface. Cuz I'm thinking the hair + a baggy suit + a long red tie would be more than enough to nail his look. Anything more would probably detract from the costume rather than enhance it.
  #98  
Old 02-03-2019, 03:21 PM
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I am curious if you think this lady or this guy have missed the point of cosplay.

I would say that it is the difference between verisimilitude and somewhatsimilitude. The more the person looks like the person they are portraying, the more accurate the cosplay. And the less the person looks like the person they are potraying the less accurate the cosplay. For instance, If I was doing Supernatural cosplay, I'd make a much better Bobby than I would Garth (or Billie.) There is a difference between "ha, ha, that's funny" inaccurate cosplay and cosplay where you almost ask them for their autograph.
  #99  
Old 02-03-2019, 04:07 PM
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Logic or consistency has no place among those who want to use weaponized language as a social bludgeon. Why do you think ridiculous concepts like digital blackface and cultural appropriation for cooking a taco make global news?
  #100  
Old 02-03-2019, 04:15 PM
Littleman Littleman is online now
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All of those folks saying "But other than the history, why is it offensive?": Why "other than the history"? Isn't that enough of a reason?
Its enough, noones trying to deny it's offensive but I am interested I the exact reasoning so I for one am interested in any opinions that expand on it.

Clearly those expansions fall into more subjective territory.
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