View Poll Results: Have You Every Worn Blackface
Yes 13 4.69%
No 264 95.31%
Voters: 277. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-06-2019, 02:34 PM
PastTense PastTense is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 7,211
Poll: Have You Ever Worn Blackface?

I just read this article: Virginia's attorney general admits wearing blackface in college
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47148045

Frankly this surprised me (both him and the Governor) as I have never worn blackface and never seen anyone around me wear it. So I decided to do a poll among Dopers.

Last edited by PastTense; 02-06-2019 at 02:37 PM.
  #2  
Old 02-06-2019, 02:51 PM
kayaker's Avatar
kayaker kayaker is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 30,637
Nope. I've done zombie makeup as well as sugar skull makeup. I've insulted christianity with my rendition of jesus and my perverted priest costumes.

Never blackface though.
  #3  
Old 02-06-2019, 03:08 PM
control-z control-z is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Virginia
Posts: 12,602
No, clown hobo makeup when I was about 12 for Halloween is the only time I remember doing something like that. It wasn't black/brown.

Last edited by control-z; 02-06-2019 at 03:09 PM.
  #4  
Old 02-06-2019, 03:12 PM
ChockFullOfHeadyGoodness's Avatar
ChockFullOfHeadyGoodness ChockFullOfHeadyGoodness is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Hollywood Riveria, CA
Posts: 2,030
No. I did wear blue face for Halloween when I was Ice King from Adventure Time.
  #5  
Old 02-06-2019, 03:15 PM
Folacin Folacin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: North of the River
Posts: 3,325
I need a 'sort of' option. I colored my face black once, but it was more to make it invisible-ish inside a large hood (going for a sort of demon affect).

So if there are pictures of me with the hood down, I might be in trouble.
  #6  
Old 02-06-2019, 03:20 PM
senoy senoy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,671
I did silver face for a robot costume in the 3rd grade. But no, of course I've never done black face, nor has any self respecting person since the Civil Rights era. I live in West Virginia which is hardly considered a paragon of progressivism (Although race history here is complicated and doesn't really fit the prevailing narratives, but I digress.) and I have never seen anyone ever wear blackface.
  #7  
Old 02-06-2019, 03:27 PM
CalMeacham's Avatar
CalMeacham CalMeacham is online now
Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 43,269
I've done all sorts of exotic monster makeups*, but never Blackface. The only times I've used exclusively black makeup are the times I made myself up as a gorilla. And that was strictly an ape, with no social commentary.




*I was brung up on Dick Smith's Monster Makeup Handbook.
__________________
"Blue, Navy Blue, he's as blue as he can be;
'Cause my steady boy said "Avatar!" and joined the Na'avi."
  #8  
Old 02-06-2019, 03:34 PM
Gyrate Gyrate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Greater Croydonia
Posts: 22,414
I think I may had my face colored red for some school play thing when I was about eight, but that's it.
  #9  
Old 02-06-2019, 03:37 PM
WOOKINPANUB's Avatar
WOOKINPANUB WOOKINPANUB is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: St Petersburg, Floriduhhh
Posts: 6,746
I voted no but I must admit, 30+ years ago, if there was a costume that I felt "called for it", I probably would have, with absolutely no thought about it being offensive. I'm thinking something like Dan Akroyd's Rastafarian in Trading Places..

I also don't recall seeing anyone else do it, but again, it wouldn't have stuck out enough at the time to me to remember it.
  #10  
Old 02-06-2019, 03:56 PM
dalej42 dalej42 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Chicago
Posts: 13,704
I haven’t and I hated makeup when I used to participate in theatre.
  #11  
Old 02-06-2019, 03:56 PM
Darren Garrison's Avatar
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 9,481
I wore whiter face once when going as a vampire.
  #12  
Old 02-06-2019, 04:00 PM
iiandyiiii's Avatar
iiandyiiii iiandyiiii is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 32,158
I dressed as The Joker as a kid once. I don't remember much, but I remember despising the feeling of the makeup on my face.
  #13  
Old 02-06-2019, 04:00 PM
k9bfriender k9bfriender is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 10,193
I church, we had a clown ministry outreach program. I wasn't very involved, but i went on an outing with them once.

someone wanted to put a dab of black on their nose, as they were going for like a cat-clown or something, and they received quite the lecture on why there were no black face paints in the kit.
  #14  
Old 02-06-2019, 04:05 PM
Darren Garrison's Avatar
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 9,481
Quote:
Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
I church, we had a clown ministry outreach program. I wasn't very involved, but i went on an outing with them once.

someone wanted to put a dab of black on their nose, as they were going for like a cat-clown or something, and they received quite the lecture on why there were no black face paints in the kit.

If you wear blacknose are you 5% racist?
  #15  
Old 02-06-2019, 04:05 PM
Lightnin' Lightnin' is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Apple Core
Posts: 7,408
No, but I did once wear what in hindsight was a very ill-conceived ghost costume, made from a white sheet.

I'm just glad that I'm not running for office, and that no pictures of that costume have survived to the present day.
__________________
What's the good of Science if nobody gets hurt?
  #16  
Old 02-06-2019, 04:09 PM
k9bfriender k9bfriender is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 10,193
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
If you wear blacknose are you 5% racist?
'bout 30ish years ago, so I don't remember particulars, but, IIRC, it pretty much boiled down to not trusting kids to make the judgment as to how much black is too much.
  #17  
Old 02-06-2019, 04:10 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness's Avatar
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: at the right hand of cool
Posts: 40,027
I mentioned elsewhere, I used to use charcoal to make goth/punk designs on my face when I was a teenager, and I once, to my eternal cringing, covered my entire face in charcoal dust to play the Devil from a Hawthorne story ("The Black Man of the Woods") for an English class assignment. I was a teenager, and utterly clueless that charcoal on face would have racist overtones, and if I ever invent a time machine, going back to slap 16-year-old-me silly would be a high priority.

It's a little shocking that no adult at the time thought to say, "DUDE! WASH YOUR FACE NOW!" It took my high school girlfriend to call me on my idiocy.
  #18  
Old 02-06-2019, 04:12 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Brooklyn
Posts: 16,426
Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
I've done all sorts of exotic monster makeups*, but never Blackface. The only times I've used exclusively black makeup are the times I made myself up as a gorilla. And that was strictly an ape, with no social commentary.




*I was brung up on Dick Smith's Monster Makeup Handbook.
Was that the one advertised in the back pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland?. Then I got brung up on it, too!

Zombies were the easiest. Lots of clown white, plus black lips and circles under the eyes.
__________________
Uke
  #19  
Old 02-06-2019, 04:16 PM
Thudlow Boink's Avatar
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Lincoln, IL
Posts: 26,195
I can say that I have never worn blackface. I cannot say for sure that I would have known better, had the idea ever arisen.
  #20  
Old 02-06-2019, 04:17 PM
Ulfreida Ulfreida is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: pangolandia
Posts: 3,304
I never saw blackface in person in my entire life and had anyone asked me I would have said it went out with Al Jolson. Foolish me. I'm guessing it is a thriving institution in the still-wishing-they-were slave states though. My well-educated wealthy Virginia-born mother in law used to tell darkie jokes with absolutely no thought that they might be out of style.
  #21  
Old 02-06-2019, 04:29 PM
EscAlaMike EscAlaMike is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Alabama
Posts: 1,639
No.

I went as Randy Moss for Halloween one year, but I didn't paint my face...because that would be really ignorant and stupid.
  #22  
Old 02-06-2019, 04:33 PM
Darren Garrison's Avatar
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 9,481
Something tangentially similar happened when I was in first or second grade (so around 1980.) The klan was supposed to be protesting something or the other in Greenville, SC where they were going to burn a large wooden cross and it was highly publicized in advance--people from all around went to watch it from their cars (as a spectator event, not necessarily to support them--there were fewer entertainment options in 1980.) My mother and grandmother (with me brought along) were among the people who went to watch, and my mother took photos with her instant camera. Afterwards, I took the photos to school for show and tell. Not knowing anything about what the event was about, just lots of people gathered to watch some guys in costume have a big fire. I remember seeing two or three teachers gathered at the front of the classroom looking at the photos and having a lively conversation about them. I didn't get to present my show and tell...
  #23  
Old 02-06-2019, 04:37 PM
CalMeacham's Avatar
CalMeacham CalMeacham is online now
Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 43,269
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike View Post
Was that the one advertised in the back pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland?. Then I got brung up on it, too!

Zombies were the easiest. Lots of clown white, plus black lips and circles under the eyes.
The very same. Still have my copy. It's been reprinted in recent years. I did a lot of the makeups out of that book before branching out on my own.



When I was a kid in the 1960s the local 5 & 10 (really!) would put out a rack of "makeup" kits that included one shallow pan of one color greasepaint and two sticks of other colors. They had Clown Makeup and other such, but mixed in among them was Minstrel Makeup. a clear case of Blackface, even if we kids didn't understand it or why. (I never saw an actual "minstrel" show in my life, although I saw them on TV shows like all in the Family)

https://www.google.com/search?q=Mins...=1549488495165

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=...49574895572811

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=...49574895572811


I never bought the Minstrel makeup -- it seemed too crude for someone working out of the Monster Makeup Handbook.


Here's a picture of the kit. Now that I look at it, there's a lot of non-PC makeup in there -- Gypsy, Indian, Chinese, Minstrel. But there's also Clown and Princess and Pirate.

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthoped...case-408551947
__________________
"Blue, Navy Blue, he's as blue as he can be;
'Cause my steady boy said "Avatar!" and joined the Na'avi."
  #24  
Old 02-06-2019, 04:43 PM
GargoyleWB's Avatar
GargoyleWB GargoyleWB is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Somewhere cold 'n squishy
Posts: 5,368
I played Bailiff Black Cat in a Halloween school play in first grade. Were it not for the additional elements of whiskers and ears, the make-up would have been pure Al Jolson.
__________________
"He was shortish. And oldish. And brownish. And mossy. And he spoke with a voice that was sharpish and bossy."
  #25  
Old 02-06-2019, 05:09 PM
Yllaria Yllaria is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Stockton
Posts: 10,581
My parents used to tell stories of kids wearing blackface for Halloween. That would have been in the late thirties or the forties. If you didn't have money for a fancier costume, you could find a cork, char it, then rub it on your face. At this late date I don't remember whether either of them said they had done it themselves. But it was a thing.
  #26  
Old 02-06-2019, 05:17 PM
Corry El Corry El is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 3,434
Growing up the in the '60's (NY area), dressing as a 'hobo' was still a standard option for Halloween, and could involve putting some dark stuff on your face, to simulate being dirty. The idea was not however that the 'hobo' was an African American, if anything the 'white normative' assumption was probably the opposite. I guess now dressing up as a 'marginalized person' might itself be considered offensive by some.

However if so that's an evolution from 1960's to now. The idea that black face was remotely acceptable even back then, in that area anyway, is completely ridiculous. In fairness some of the people who've offered defenses of various blackface incidents much later than that of 'well lots of people did that back then' might be talking about different places than the NY area. But still, it's really not as if it's a new thing for blackface to be highly sensitive.
  #27  
Old 02-06-2019, 06:14 PM
Smudge777 Smudge777 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 50
I've never much cared for costumes, so my answer is a resounding no. Though I would have no more qualms painting my face black than I would painting it any other colour.

However, I'd love to know what the average citizen of the world thinks about the idea that "wearing blackface is offensive".
In my opinion, it's ludicrous. It seems to me that, like anything else, context is king. If you darken your face for the purpose of ridiculing people with darker skin, then you're being offensive. But if you darken your face for another reason (e.g. you're a fan of Marvin Gaye and want to dress as him for a costume party), it cannot reasonably be considered offensive. Perhaps this is a question for another thread.
  #28  
Old 02-06-2019, 06:39 PM
F. U. Shakespeare F. U. Shakespeare is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Baltimore or less
Posts: 4,038
Yes. I'm a left-handed guitar player, and one Halloween around 30 years ago, I went as Jimi Hendrix (who played left-handed), complete with Stratocaster, headband, tie-dyed shirt, fake mustache, and light brown makeup.
  #29  
Old 02-06-2019, 06:41 PM
Springtime for Spacers Springtime for Spacers is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,924
I've never worn blackface but being British I have watched the Black and White Minstrel show. That this was considered family entertainment for UK audiences from 1958 to 1978 is hard to comprehend these days. I never really liked it as far as I can remember but when there's only two or three channels you end up watching what's on - and for the first ten or so years what your parents want to watch
  #30  
Old 02-06-2019, 06:58 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NH
Posts: 22,509
No, just greenface.
  #31  
Old 02-06-2019, 07:17 PM
Leaffan's Avatar
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 23,875
No, but a friend once went as Bob Marley to a Halloween party about 10 years ago. No one thought anything about it.

It may not hold the same connotations in Canada.
  #32  
Old 02-06-2019, 07:20 PM
panache45's Avatar
panache45 panache45 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
Posts: 41,006
Well, almost. In high school I played a Native American in a play, and had to wear slightly reddish makeup. Hardly blackface.
  #33  
Old 02-06-2019, 07:30 PM
DinoR DinoR is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 3,264
No. There was a hobo costume one Halloween as a kid that I'm thinking included some unevenly applied dirt.

In college, there was a Halloween where I think two people came in KKK type costumes. I remember one pretty clearly because of the plaid pillowcase hood. They/he put an effort, including the plaid hood, into being intentionally insulting to the KKK. I'm not sure that would come through in a picture, though. I'd assume any political aspirations I might have would be fucked if there was a picture of me next to them.
  #34  
Old 02-06-2019, 08:48 PM
ioioio's Avatar
ioioio ioioio is offline
Friend of Cecil
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: stuck inside a mobile
Posts: 3,723
In the mid-70s, a close friend dressed for Halloween as a "southern Negro Bible salesman". Friend was an artist, and the costume was definitely a work of art. If you'd passed him on the street, you wouldn't have known he was not a black person. And the costume was very poignant. It made a statement, but definitely not a racist statement. Exactly the opposite.

Today the costume would no doubt be considered offensive, which is sad and stupid.
  #35  
Old 02-06-2019, 09:30 PM
RealityChuck's Avatar
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 42,027
I've never done a costume that required makeup (well, this Halloween I did use a little touch of green for Rick Sanchez's spot of drool."

I grew up in a very white school, but I never saw anyone wear it (we were in NY, though).
__________________
"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn't that easy.... In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer... not before."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.
  #36  
Old 02-06-2019, 09:47 PM
Two Many Cats Two Many Cats is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 4,280
Almost, but no. It was 1983, and I was going to a Doctor Who Convention in Chicago at the Hyatt near O'Hare. I went in costume as a Movellan, androids that were at war with the Daleks in Revenge of the Daleks, a Fourth Doctor adventure. You may or may not remember that the Movellans wore form fitting bodysuits and wore white cornrows. They were played by mostly black actors.

So, I wore white leotards with a spandex onesie type body suit that I would wear to the gym. I also wore silver boots, and I sewed up a quilted kind of pullover shirt. My friend and fellow Whoite did all the braidwork cornrowing my hair.
I spray colored it bright silver. Damn, I looked fine.

Now, I had a liitle jar of what was then called Egyptian Earth.
It was a dark face foundation powder. I was going to use it to darken my face to look more Movellan, but the stuff was loose powder that got everywhere, and was a pain in the ass to deal with. I decided I looked just as good without it, and left it behind. So no, I've never worn blackface, or I guess it really would've been brownface.

Damn, I looked fine in that outfit. But it wasn't the best costume I've ever worn.

That would've been the next Who Convention, when I went as Ohica of the Sisterhood of Karn. Maybe I'll tell you about that one some other time.
  #37  
Old 02-06-2019, 10:10 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness's Avatar
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: at the right hand of cool
Posts: 40,027
Quote:
Originally Posted by ioioio View Post
In the mid-70s, a close friend dressed for Halloween as a "southern Negro Bible salesman". Friend was an artist, and the costume was definitely a work of art. If you'd passed him on the street, you wouldn't have known he was not a black person. And the costume was very poignant. It made a statement, but definitely not a racist statement. Exactly the opposite.

Today the costume would no doubt be considered offensive, which is sad and stupid.
I'm curious--do you believe that yer average black American, or yer average "southern Negro," would have seen your (white?) friend dressing up as a black person for a Halloween costume and been like, "Ooh, nice anti-racist costume there"? Or do you think that it would've been considered offensive by a lot of black Americans back then?
  #38  
Old 02-06-2019, 11:56 PM
kopek kopek is offline
born to be shunned
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Southwestern PA
Posts: 14,083
Zombie a lot and I have gone on raids with the Delaware and Abanaki in full paint more than once. On me it comes out kinda bad -- like a cross between Uncle Fester, Charlie Brown and Taras Bulba but my Native brothers much appreciated the effort I made.
  #39  
Old 02-06-2019, 11:59 PM
Littleman Littleman is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 764
Yes, if this memory is correct and it had nothing to do with any human.
It was a packaged costume when I was about 5-6.
I saw it packed away years later In my 20s and I'm still baffled what the hell it was supposed to be.

It was an inflatable hat that strapped on and the top was shaped like a round mylar balloon but sideways. It was made to look like a skull with a candle on top, I think it had arms reaching out the side of the skull down to your ears.
It came with a black spandex suit and black paint and pictured the kid on the front all blacked out.
  #40  
Old 02-07-2019, 12:09 AM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 4,359
No...but in the dorm i stayed in, girls would set-up by the elevators on the boys side and hold up score cards for boys walking by, and hoot and holler etc....and the boys would do the same thing by the girls elevators.

Not blackface but an activity that horrify certain people these days.
  #41  
Old 02-07-2019, 12:12 AM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 4,359
OH and in theatre in HS we DID have white people sometimes portray black roles, but no make-up was used. This I only saw done in Spoon River Anthology and in....Purlie Victorious I think. The school was half black and half white. Guess there just wern't enough people to fill certain roles.
  #42  
Old 02-07-2019, 09:27 AM
Icarus's Avatar
Icarus Icarus is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: In front of my PC, y tu?
Posts: 4,927
No.

Interesting to me, in the early 90's our office was having it's usual Halloween dress-up day, and one of the VP's, who is black, dressed as the Little Rascals character of Buckwheat. He had a black fright-wig, and also used blackface make-up to darken his natural skin tone. Tres meta.
  #43  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:05 AM
BigT's Avatar
BigT BigT is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: "Hicksville", Ark.
Posts: 35,695
Quote:
Originally Posted by Littleman View Post
Yes, if this memory is correct and it had nothing to do with any human.
It was a packaged costume when I was about 5-6.
I saw it packed away years later In my 20s and I'm still baffled what the hell it was supposed to be.

It was an inflatable hat that strapped on and the top was shaped like a round mylar balloon but sideways. It was made to look like a skull with a candle on top, I think it had arms reaching out the side of the skull down to your ears.
It came with a black spandex suit and black paint and pictured the kid on the front all blacked out.
Now that I wouldn't count. Simply wearing black makeup (without the special lips and everything) while not being black doesn't make it to blackface.

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

Oh, and no for me. Before I knew about blackface, it would have never occurred to me to paint my face with normal human colors, nor with solid black. But I learned well before I was an adult.

Last edited by BigT; 02-07-2019 at 10:06 AM.
  #44  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:27 AM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 6,393
Quote:
Originally Posted by senoy View Post
I did silver face for a robot costume in the 3rd grade. But no, of course I've never done black face, nor has any self respecting person since the Civil Rights era.
I don't know what he was thinking, but Bing Crosby did in Holiday Inn. I think he had self-respect though. I just skip that disc chapter - it's cringeworthy.
  #45  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:28 AM
Bayaker Bayaker is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: A town on Galveston Bay
Posts: 2,496
I never did, but twin brothers in my second grade class dressed as Huck and Jim for Halloween with Jim, of course, in blackface. Parts of Huck Finn had been recently used in class(I don't recall if we were assigned to read the book then or not) Nobody batted an eye except that our teacher, who was black, told everyone not to use the full Twain version of Jim's name. It was better to say just 'Jim' or 'Negro Jim', since negro was the then-preferred term. My seven year old mind understood her to mean it was the term from the book, not the costume that she objected to. If she took any offense none of us noticed.
  #46  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:36 AM
Ulfreida Ulfreida is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: pangolandia
Posts: 3,304
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smudge777 View Post
I've never much cared for costumes, so my answer is a resounding no. Though I would have no more qualms painting my face black than I would painting it any other colour.

However, I'd love to know what the average citizen of the world thinks about the idea that "wearing blackface is offensive".
In my opinion, it's ludicrous. It seems to me that, like anything else, context is king. If you darken your face for the purpose of ridiculing people with darker skin, then you're being offensive. But if you darken your face for another reason (e.g. you're a fan of Marvin Gaye and want to dress as him for a costume party), it cannot reasonably be considered offensive. Perhaps this is a question for another thread.
Yes, context is king all right. But we need to bear in mind that white people do not get to decide what is offensive to black people. That is the entire point.

The average citizen of the world, whatever that is, doesn't get to decide either. American black people are the only ones being mocked, so they are the only ones who can judge. Whatever a white person's intent is now, after a few hundred years of a tradition of mocking and abasing via blackface, is not very relevant.
  #47  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:37 AM
Miss Mapp's Avatar
Miss Mapp Miss Mapp is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Rockville, MD
Posts: 3,040
I once dressed as Diana Ross for a murder mystery party evening. My assigned character called for a popstar diva, and it was either her or Cher, but I liked the idea of wearing a sparkly dress and feather boa. Also, one of my aunts was going dressed as Sonny Bono, and I didn't want us to be paired up in case one of us turned out to be the murderer.

The only extra makeup I wore (beyond what I'd normally wear) was some matching sparkly eyeshadow and red lipstick.

Last edited by Miss Mapp; 02-07-2019 at 10:38 AM.
  #48  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:45 AM
kayaker's Avatar
kayaker kayaker is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 30,637
Speaking of offensive Halloween costumes, a friend once went as Charles Manson. His hair and makeup were professionally done (by a beautician/cosmetologist friend) and he really pulled off the part. The swastika scar on his forehead caused some outrage, though.
  #49  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:56 AM
ioioio's Avatar
ioioio ioioio is offline
Friend of Cecil
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: stuck inside a mobile
Posts: 3,723
Quote:
Originally Posted by ioioio
In the mid-70s, a close friend dressed for Halloween as a "southern Negro Bible salesman". Friend was an artist, and the costume was definitely a work of art. If you'd passed him on the street, you wouldn't have known he was not a black person. And the costume was very poignant. It made a statement, but definitely not a racist statement. Exactly the opposite.
Today the costume would no doubt be considered offensive, which is sad and stupid.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
I'm curious--do you believe that yer average black American, or yer average "southern Negro," would have seen your (white?) friend dressing up as a black person for a Halloween costume and been like, "Ooh, nice anti-racist costume there"? Or do you think that it would've been considered offensive by a lot of black Americans back then?
It's been a long time, but I don't remember there being any worry about giving offense. Friend and I were both politically active college students and would've been aware of the potential, if it existed at that time and place. The costume was definitely seen by black people. I doubt that they thought, "Ooh, nice anti-racist costume there". Maybe it was just a costume, and maybe it made some people think about what it represented.

In my memory, the concept of "political correctness" did not yet exist then, or at least was not widespread. However, I'm pretty sure that a minstrel-type blackface costume would have not been well received.
  #50  
Old 02-07-2019, 11:54 AM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: the extreme center
Posts: 30,945
The poll should've had a "yes, with an excuse" option.

I never wore blackface. The worst ethnic stereotype involved my part in the 7th grade play where I played a French detective (complete with bad accent).

I checked online earlier today and found digitized versions of the Virginia medical school yearbooks that included my parents' pictures and profiles. No blackface, I'm happy to say.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:57 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017