whiteface

just a quick note to debi enker of this article. blackface refers to a specific cultural tradition, related to things like minstrel shows in the US. i would not limit it to that, i know that australia and i’m sure all sorts of countries have certain related traditions, that have native flavours, but would do well to be called blackface. the hey hey example clearly falls into this long line of derogatory caricature. daubing boot polish on your face is not an attempt to ‘pass’ as black people, but rather to ape them. (the fit of this verb is almost too perfect). now completely setting aside any political judgement on john safran’s upcoming show (i actually find him to be a little off sometimes, politically), he does not, as you say debi, ‘don blackface’. what he dons is quite a sophistocated cosmetic costume aimed at actually passing himself off as an african-american. again, let me stress that i am not claiming this exmpts him from any political implications, but rather that this does not constitute ‘blackface’. blackface is not a condition, its a tradition. barack obama does not suffer from a mild case of blackface, just as i do not suffer from a debilitating form of whiteface.

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